Satire may be defined as the particular literary way of making possible the improvement of humanity and its institutions. The satirist adopts a critical attitude and usually presents his material with wit and humor. Aware of grave limitations in the institutions which humanity has erected, he may seek through laughter to effect a remodeling rather than the demolishing of them. Voltaire is to be identified as such a satirist, and he sought a most thorough-going remodeling of human behavior and institutions.
The Philosopher as Critic and Public Activist Voltaire only began to identify himself with philosophy and the philosophe identity during middle age.
His work Lettres philosophiques, published in when he was forty years old, was the key turning point in this transformation. His early orientation toward literature and libertine sociability, however, shaped his philosophical identity in crucial ways.
But in each case, he ended up abandoning his posts, sometimes amidst scandal. Escaping from the burdens of these public obligations, Voltaire would retreat into the libertine sociability of Paris.
It was here in the s, during the culturally vibrant period of the Regency government between the reigns of Louis XIV and XV Pope swift and voltaire essaythat Voltaire established one dimension of his identity.
His wit and congeniality were legendary even as a youth, so he had few difficulties establishing himself as a popular figure in Regency literary circles. He also learned how to play the patronage game so important to those with writerly ambitions. His literary debut occurred in with the publication of his Oedipe, a reworking of the ancient tragedy that evoked the French classicism of Racine and Corneille.
Its published title page also announced the new pen name that Voltaire would ever after deploy. During the Regency, Voltaire circulated widely in elite circles such as those that congregated at Sceaux, but he also cultivated more illicit and libertine sociability as well.
Philosophy was also a part of this mix, and during the Regency the young Voltaire was especially shaped by his contacts with the English aristocrat, freethinker,and Jacobite Lord Bolingbroke.
The occasion for his departure was an affair of honor. A very powerful aristocrat, the Duc de Rohan, accused Voltaire of defamation, and in the face of this charge the untitled writer chose to save face and avoid more serious prosecution by leaving the country indefinitely. In the spring oftherefore, Voltaire left Paris for England.
Bolingbroke, whose address Voltaire left in Paris as his own forwarding address, was one conduit of influence. In particular, Voltaire met through Bolingbroke Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, and John Gay, writers who were at that moment beginning to experiment with the use of literary forms such as the novel and theater in the creation of a new kind of critical public politics.
After Bolingbroke, his primary contact in England was a merchant by the name of Everard Fawkener.
It also included figures such as Samuel Clarke and other self-proclaimed Newtonians. Given his other activities, it is also likely that Voltaire frequented the coffeehouses of London even if no firm evidence survives confirming that he did. It would not be surprising, therefore, to learn that Voltaire attended the Newtonian public lectures of John Theophilus Desaguliers or those of one of his rivals.
Whatever the precise conduits, all of his encounters in England made Voltaire into a very knowledgeable student of English natural philosophy. But he was also a different kind of writer and thinker.
But the English years did trigger a transformation in him. After his return to France, Voltaire worked hard to restore his sources of financial and political support.
The financial problems were the easiest to solve. Inthe French government staged a sort of lottery to help amortize some of the royal debt. Voltaire participated, and in the fall of that year when the returns were posted he had made a fortune.
In particular, while other writers were required to appeal to powerful financial patrons in order to secure the livelihood that made possible their intellectual careers, Voltaire was never again beholden to these imperatives.
Gradually, however, through a combination of artfully written plays, poems, and essays and careful self-presentation in Parisian society, Voltaire began to regain his public stature.
In the fall ofwhen the next stage in his career began to unfold, Voltaire was residing at the royal court of Versailles, a sign that his re-establishment in French society was all but complete. During this rehabilitation, Voltaire also formed a new relationship that was to prove profoundly influential in the subsequent decades.
She was also a uniquely accomplished woman. Her father also ensured that Emilie received an education that was exceptional for girls at the time.Pope and Swift present situations that man has to face in conjunction with illogical conclusions.
Besides exhibiting illogical conclusions, they also show the selfish, prideful, rebellious, jealous, and the ungrateful characteristics of man. Alexander Pope, like Swift, used dramatic satire to promote his opinions.
In his The Essay on Man he displayed lofty philosophical themes. As a poet Swift moved from topic to topic and was not as focused as Voltaire. Largely because of Candide, Voltaire ranks with Jonathan Swift as one of the greatest satirists in timberdesignmag.com may be defined as the particular literary way of making possible the improvement of humanity and its institutions.
The satirist adopts a critical attitude and usually presents his . Swift, Parnell, Pope and Voltaire The House system offers our pupils the opportunity to thrive through competition in the Arts, sport and all round achievement.
House allegiance and identity is encouraged and fostered throughout the school. When the Essay on Man was published, Voltaire sent a copy to the Norman abbot Du Resnol and may possibly have helped the abbot prepare the first French translation, which was so well received.
The very title of his Discours en vers sur l'homme () indicates the extent Voltaire was influenced by Pope. Voltaire circulated throughout English high society, meeting Alexander Pope, John Gay, Jonathan Swift, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, and many other members of the nobility and timberdesignmag.comg place: Panthéon, Paris, France.