François-Marie Arouet was born in 1694 in Paris, France. In1718, he adopted his pen name, Voltaire.
He established himself as one of theleading writers and philosophers during his time using his wit and intelligence.Being the youngest of five, he proved an early gift for language. He learned Latinand Greek as an adolescent. Literary sophistication was heavily encouraged whenhe was growing up, so it almost came naturally to him.
He received an educationat Jesuit school, college le-Grand, where he was taught Italian, Spanish andEnglish leading him to become the promising writer he would soon become. Althoughhis Father wanted him to become a lawyer, Voltaire insisted on being a writer.He even pretended to be working in Paris on being an assistant to a lawyer,nonetheless spending a majority of that time writing satirical poetry. Voltaire was an extravagant writer and wrote pieces in manydifferent literary forms. These forms include poetry, novels, essays, and evenplays. He believed in freedom of religion, freedom of expression, free trade,and separation of church. He believed absolute monarchy would be good forsociety. He encouraged people that fell victim to superstition and prejudicedue to his hatred for injustice.
His largest work was the “Dictionnairephilsosophique” which stands for Philosophical dictionary. It was published in1764 and was composed of many articles contributed by him to the “Encyclopedie,ou dictonnaire raisonne des sciences, des arts et des métiers” which was anencyclopedia for the sciences and arts and crafts. (Johnson) The piece consistedof criticisms of his enemies, the Bible, and the Roman Catholic Church. Voltaire’s influence in shaping the new world and hisconnection with Isaac Newton should have more significance than just notes inbooks.. The connection between him and Newton began in 1727, by chance. He hadgone to Newtons funeral in England after avoiding a second imprisonment.
In1738, he published a “Elements of the Philosophy of Newton” which helpedpopularize the theories and thoughts of Newton. This piece was also one of manyworks between 1734 to 1739. Realizing he would never become a scientist ofdistinction, which he wanted to, he stopped writing about science and turnedaway from it. Aside from his writing, he was often fighting for the people. Heis remembered in France often for his fight for civil rights and often exposedthe hypocrisies of the Ancient Regime.
The regime called for an unfair balanceof power and taxes as the commoners and middle class took the burden for mostof the taxing. His determination to obtain freedom for the people often led totrouble for himself. At age 84, he became seriously ill and died on June 1st,1779. Following his death, his body left Paris and was quickly sent to theAbbey of Scelliers in Champagne but the interference of the local bishop causedit to be stalled by a few hours. (Rochefort) During the French Revolution, hisbody was sent to the Patheon but when the coffin was open, it was empty becausesome extremists emptied the coffin secretly.