Voltaire by Ian Davidson
A Life

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Synopsis

The definitive biography of Voltaire’s life—from his scandalous love affairs and political maneuverings to his inspired philosophy We think of Voltaire as the archetypal figure of the enlightenment; in his own time he was also the most famous and controversial figure in Europe. This dazzling new biography celebrates his extraordinary life.  Davidson tells the whole, rich story of Voltaire’s life (1694–1778): his early imprisonment in the Bastille; exile in England and his mastery of English; an obsession with money, of which he made a huge amount; a scandalous love life; a long exile on the borders of Switzerland; his human rights campaigns and his triumphant return to Paris to die there as celebrity extraordinaire. Throughout all of this, Voltaire’s life was always informed by two things: a belief in the essential value of toleration in the face of fanaticism; and in the right of every man to think and say what he liked.  It is rare to have such a vivid portrait of a great man.
 

About Ian Davidson

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After graduating in Classics from Cambridge, Ian Davidson worked for the Financial Times for many years as their Paris correspondent and chief foreign affairs columnist. He is also the author of Voltaire (Pegasus) and Voltaire in Exile (Grove). Ian lives in England.
 
Published March 6, 2012 by Pegasus Books. 560 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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The Guardian

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It is very entertaining, to be sure, to hear how Voltaire sneakily tried to get hold of "the best rhubarb that Chinese Tartary ever produced" to cure his constipation, despite his doctor's stern insistence that he stick to cassia (in a letter to his doctor's cousin, Voltaire wrote: "It is quite i...

Jul 22 2005 | Read Full Review of Voltaire: A Life

The Guardian

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"Voltaire's voice is the voice of the Enlightenment", Ian Davidson states in his prologue, but this biography expands greatly on the image of Voltaire the philosophe, outlining his consuming ambition, his love of women, his obsession with money and his paradoxical profligate spending.

May 21 2010 | Read Full Review of Voltaire: A Life

The New York Review of Books

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Dec 15 2005 | Read Full Review of Voltaire: A Life

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