Let’s see what this carnival fool who greased the wheels for the revolutions own SELF-understanding was
His masterpiece Candide is distinctly memorable to me from my youth because it caused one of my best friends to lose their faith.
Several formative influences of Voltaire to note. When he was exiled in England he was influenced by Bacon who I discuss here as a thinker who formulated the idea that humanity should take control of its own destiny. He also has counter-influences like Leibniz, and this is the main thing people know Voltaire for, that this is NOT the “best of all possible worlds”. So the Revolutions were strongly inspired by skepticism about Divine Providence. I showed you how that Albanian Stalinist considered himself a Promethean.
A more obscure influence on Voltaire was actually that Mestizo Garcilaso from yesterday. His History of the Incas was translated into French in 1744. The model for utopia in Candide is Eldorado.
Certainly if all goes well, it is in Eldorado, and not in the rest of the earth… Eldorado, where no one could get to.
It’s mocked as a dream. People evidently began to wonder if it necessarily HAD to be a dream.
Not finding much in the way of stand-alone studies on him, at least ones accessible in pdf form
Euripides, Racine, Voltaire, Revolution, boom, boom, boom, boom, that would be a nice study to find.
took up Racine’s mantle as tragic dramatist
We’re looking here for the origins of the “permanent revolution” we see today.
his letters alone he makes over five hundred references to his predecessor, often reaching for the word ‘perfection’
The skeptic isn’t blasphemous about everything and everyone. For Voltaire, Racine was the poet who knew the human heart best. His plays, which were “an art above the sublime”, brought tears to his eyes.
Despite that he still believed he could be improved.
Who can we blame for so many of the problems of today? Yes, I like to be able to point a finger at someone.
Everyone and their great-grandmother knows Candide. What are these plays about?
Can we adapt them to invigorate our own revolution against our faux-nobility?
Remember Iphigenia? Iphigénie was Voltaire’s favorite of Racine’s adaptations.
Essay on these two playwrights here. To what degree did they cause the Revolutions, to what degree is their spirit still with us today?