place in the theatre during a production of Mariamne in December of 1725, culminating in an exchange of threatening gestures between Voltaire in his box and the chevalier in his, and the on-stage fainting, real or pretended, of Lecouvreur. 11 In any case, the chevalier's response was to have Voltaire beaten a few days later in broad daylight by six of his servants while the chevalier directed their activities from his nearby carriage. Voltaire, instead of appealing to the law, employed a fencing master and announced his intention of challenging the chevalier to a duel. Unwilling to undergo the shame of such a challenge, the chevalier appealed to the duke of Bourbon to place Voltaire in the Bastille in mid-April 1726. The fact that Voltaire was widely regarded as a victim and martyr did little to assuage his feelings, and the Rohan family was determined to keep him out of the way of their threatened member. Rather than remain in the Bastille, Voltaire offered to go into voluntary exile in England, a compromise acceptable to the authorities. He was accompanied to Calais and in May 1726, landed in England, to begin a quite different phase of his complex career.
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Publication information: Book title: Voltaire and the Theatre of the Eighteenth Century. Contributors: Marvin Carlson - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1998. Page number: 19.
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