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The Portable Voltaire (Portable Library) Paperback – July 28, 1977

ISBN-13: 978-0140150414 ISBN-10: 0140150412

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Product Details

  • Series: Portable Library
  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (July 28, 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140150412
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140150414
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #284,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

François-Marie Arouet, writing under the pseudonym Voltaire, was born in 1694 into a Parisian bourgeois family. Educated by Jesuits, he was an excellent pupil but one quickly enraged by dogma. An early rift with his father—who wished him to study law—led to his choice of letters as a career. Insinuating himself into court circles, he became notorious for lampoons on leading notables and was twice imprisoned in the Bastille.

By his mid-thirties his literary activities precipitated a four-year exile in England where he won the praise of Swift and Pope for his political tracts. His publication, three years later in France, of Lettres philosophiques sur les Anglais (1733)—an attack on French Church and State—forced him to flee again. For twenty years Voltaire lived chiefly away from Paris. In this, his most prolific period, he wrote such satirical tales as “Zadig” (1747) and “Candide” (1759). His old age at Ferney, outside Geneva, was made bright by his adopted daughter, “Belle et Bonne,” and marked by his intercessions in behalf of victims of political injustice. Sharp-witted and lean in his white wig, impatient with all appropriate rituals, he died in Paris in 1778—the foremost French author of his day.

Customer Reviews

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Good font, nice paper.
Nom D. Plume
One of the most important philosophers of the European Enlightenment, Voltaire deserves to be studied with representative samples of his writing.
James Richardson Sprouse
We live our lives and protect one another as well as we can, as though we could not rely on God to do so for us.
A.J.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 88 people found the following review helpful By A.J. on July 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
"The Portable Voltaire" is an excellent compendium of the major works of the man who became the most famous iconoclast of the French Enlightenment. One of the attractions of this particular volume is the introduction by Ben Ray Redman, who delivers with witty, flowing prose an extremely interesting short biography and a summary of the man's philosophy. Normally I don't bother to mention a book's introduction in a review, but Redman's is so good I make a notable exception.
Voltaire was a man of contrasts. He was sickly and feeble but miraculously managed to extend his lifespan to eighty-four years, travel abroad, and survive in prison; he was made wealthy by various benefactors and seemed generally happy but could be very cynical and antagonistic in his writing; and most notoriously, he was a deist whose hatred of Christianity could make him appear to be an atheist. Most of what he hated about Christianity was the clergy--their hypocrisy, their adherence to practices he found absurd, their conceit that everything in the universe is made exclusively for man's consumption and amusement--and the superstition and fanaticism exhibited by the more extreme practitioners of the faith.
Nowhere are his themes more vigorously pronounced than in the novella "Candide," his most famous achievement. Candide is a simpleminded, ingenuous young man who, under the influence of his tutor Dr.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 12, 1998
Format: Paperback
If you are thinking of learning about philosophy in general would recommend this book as a good introduction to the beliefs of the 18th century French movement. If you are interested in Voltaire I would tell you to read this book AND NO OTHER. I have flipped through and read parts of other books and a great many of the boring, extremely boring. This book, especially the short introduction, are extremely exciting and bring the beliefs of Voltaire into sharp clarity. It includes his Philosophical Dictionary, the Candide, and several of his essays and plays. It also has a history of his life and what happened to him due to his heretical views.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Marsella on November 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
This volume provides a wonderful introduction to the writings and thought of one of the great cynics of the ages. Voltaire exemplifies the age of reason in his questioning of both authority and the prevailing beliefs of his day. His writing as presented here is very accessable and this book can be picked up and opened to any selection and read with enjoyment. An excellent intro for the general reader.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Caligastia145 on April 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
I had heard of Voltaire being one of the greatest critics, satirists and philosophers of the Age of Reason; Now I see why. He tore apart many of the myths religions used to justify promoting *their* religion as the right one while bashing those others. He points out that a religion claiming to be free of superstitions and claiming to be against the same is hypocritical if it still sees Satan as effecting in "bad" behavior and similar un-Christian things. He points out that there is no such thing as going against one's will; If one does, one is simply adhering to the demands of another will, a will to do something different, and hence going against will when given choice is impossible. Read this book; It will inspire, educate and enlighten you!
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By basschicharrones on April 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
this anthology contains:
a editor's introduction (kind of a biography)
a timeline of voltaire's life
short bibliography
excerpts from philosophical dictonary (probably most of the book)
candide (whole)
zadig (whole)
micromegas (whole)
story of a good brahmin (whole, very short, about 2 pages)
letters to frederick the great (not sure if its complete, but then again i dunno if its a book either, but it has about 30 pages, im guessing off the top of my head, regardless, its a lot of stuff)
misc letters (alot of letters)
english letters (excerpts from, not complete)
lisbon earthquake (whole thing, its a poem)
I've been fascinated with voltaire for awhile, and have started collecting all the works of him that i can find (i just started, so all i have is candide, 5 short stories of his, and this book), i want to find more of his short stories if there is anymore, i think thats what voltaire did best. I havent completed this whole book yet (ive read all but the the last half of the letters section). The introduction was great, basically a biography of voltaire. the timeline of voltaire was very helpful, especially when you get to reading the letters, you can trace the date to the timeline, which makes it all the more interesting (especially with the Fredrick the great letters). I have to admit essays never appealed to me, i cant get into them, almost no matter what. I did read the whole selection from the philosophical dictionary, which weren't bad, but i dont have the taste for it. Voltaire's novels/short stories are what sparked my obsession. I cant read ideas/arguements unless they are presented in an interesting way, like in a moral story.
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The Portable Voltaire (Portable Library)
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