Vladimir Script Designer: Andrich Vladimir Publisher: URW++
Vivaldi by Friedrich Peter, 1997
A few years ago, I decided to start reading some of the classic literature I missed in my college courses. It turned out that I had missed a great deal of literature and I am still catching up with all of that reading.
I discovered a book well-known to others by the name of Candide. The book, the prose, spoke to me and I discovered Voltaire.
Voltaire is just one of the many pen names used by Francois-Marie Arouet (November 21, 1694 (or as he claimed Feb. 20, 1694) – May 30, 1778).
Voltaire is best known as a philosopher, historian and writer and a master of satire. He is well-known for his keen wit and as a champion of freedom (speech, religion, and from a variety of dogmatic institutions).
A very prolific man he generated thousands of works including 20,000 letters plus 2,000 books and pamphlets. He did all of this work before the advent of either the typewriter or the computer. I try to remember that whenever I complain about how much work it is to write something.
Arouet, henceforth known in this blog as Voltaire, was the youngest of five children in a noble family in the province of Poitou. Here I could digress into the study of birth order and personality, but I won’t. At least not yet.
Besides his native French, Voltaire learned Latin and Greek and became fluent in Italian, Spanish and English.
Continually pushed by his father into the field of law, Voltaire often lied about his positions so he could pursue a writing life in and around Paris. His writing led to numerous exiles and imprisonments, but he never followed cease and desist orders.
In 1718 he claimed the anagram of the Latin spelling of his name: Voltaire. Though he used at least 178 different pen names during his lifetime, Voltaire is the one that stuck.
Voltaire resonated enough that when the chance arose I named my POV (Point-of-view) character in my urban fantasy after him.
My character, Sparky Voltaire, is a completely different man, but I hope in as many ways complex and willing to take a stand for what he thinks is right.
I have pages of quotes by Voltaire, but I will resist temptation and end with only one:
“Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”