Voltaire in Love


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After two and a half years in exile Voltaire returned to France, and in published a selection of essays on the superiority of the British political system. This was the start of an affair which lasted the next sixteen years. On their living situation, he jestingly noted:. She puts windows where I have put doors: she alters staircases into fireplaces, and fireplaces into staircases: she has limes planted where I had settled on elms: she has changed what I had made a vegetable plot into a flower garden.

Indoors, she has done the work of a good fairy. Rags are bewitched into tapestry: she has found out the secret of furnishing Cirey out of nothing. A philosopher, scientist and author in her own right, he wrote of her legacy :. A woman who translated Virgil, who translated and simplified Newton, and yet was perfectly unassuming in conversation and manner: a woman who never spoke ill of anyone and never uttered a lie: a constant and fearless friend — in a word, a great man, whom other women only thought of in connection with diamonds and dancing: for such a woman as this you cannot prevent my grieving all my life.

How is my beloved?

I have not yet seen her; but I am afire to see her every day, every hour. My dear, I have just lost one who was my friend for twenty years. To have seen her die, and in such circumstances! And for such a reason! It is frightful.

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I am ill, I suffer from head to toe. Only my heart is sound, and that is good for nothing. Born on this day in — a Happy Birthday to Voltaire, a man of love and letters!

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Or subscribe to articles in the subject area by email or RSS. Mignot was her maiden name. He died in , shortly after returning to Paris.

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Voltaire in Love – New York Review Books

To inspire your thoughts, here are some enlighting quotes from Voltaire. Friendship is the marriage of the soul, and this marriage is liable to divorce. If you want to know who controls you, look at who you are not allowed to criticize. God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.

Voltaire in Love by Mitford Nancy, First Edition

It is clear that the individual who persecutes a man, his brother, because he is not of the same opinion, is a monster. It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong. Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too. If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him. The more often a stupidity is repeated, the more it gets the appearance of wisdom. The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.

Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.


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The only way to comprehend what mathematicians mean by Infinity is to contemplate the extent of human stupidity. Democracy is just a filler for textbooks! Do you actually believe that public opinion influences the government? All the reasonings of men are not worth one sentiment of women.

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Common sense is both rarer and more desirable in leaders than mere intelligence. There are truths which are not for all men, nor for all times. Voltaire strongly believed in freedom, tolerance, and reason.

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