Voltaire

Nov 21, 2008 at 5:28 PM
I love this guy.

Thanks @Shelley for passing this on:

It's the birthday of Voltaire, the man who helped spark the Enlightenment in France, born François-Marie Arouet in Paris (1694). He was a well-known playwright and poet. He spent most of his late life in exile, and he wrote most of his work from England. In the last year of his life, 1778, he was allowed to return home to Paris. More than 300 people came to visit him his first day in the city, including Benjamin Franklin.

Voltaire wrote, "God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh."

And, "To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered."

And, "Let us read and let us dance ... two amusements that will never do any harm to the world."

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No one should be afraid to be revolutionary and think freely. I think Voltaire embodied that. I love reading his works. Even when I disagree.

Unless you're like my momma and you're totally fluent, you'll need a good translation. So go up to the snootiest person in the used bookstore and ask them for the best translation, because a rotten translation ruins most french works, especially Montaigne and Voltaire, whose subtlety is their grace.

If that person doesn't know, they're not the snootiest person there. She's probably hiding in the back room, avoiding mere humans.

3 comments

  1. Shelley Says:

    So now the next time you come you have to bring me down a good translation!

  2. Kat Says:

    Good to know about the snootiest person. ;-)

    How r u today, Desiloo?

  3. desi Says:

    @Kat - I'm pretty good. Not enough sleep. I was dealing with a client that got hacked last night. Ugh. Up all night getting it handled before his business day today. Did so, and at least I can rest better knowing it's handled. But this is not a business-related blog so I'm shutting up now.