The Works of Voltaire: A Contemporary Version [A Biographical Critique of Voltaire] - Vol. 42

The Works of Voltaire: A Contemporary Version [A Biographical Critique of Voltaire] - Vol. 42

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The Works of Voltaire: A Contemporary Version [A Biographical Critique of Voltaire] - Vol. 42

The Works of Voltaire: A Contemporary Version [A Biographical Critique of Voltaire] - Vol. 42

Read FREE!

Excerpt

When the right sense of historical proportion is more fully developed in men's minds, the name of Voltaire will stand out like the names of the great decisive movements in the European advance, like the Revival of Learning, or the Reformation. The existence, character, and career of this extraordinary person constituted in themselves a new and prodigious era. The peculiarities of his individual genius changed the mind and spiritual conformation of France, and in a less degree that of the whole of the West, with as far-spreading and invincible an effect as if the work had been wholly done, as it was actually aided, by the sweep of deep-lying collective forces. A new type of belief, and of its shadow, disbelief, was stamped by the impression of his character and work into the intelligence and feeling of his own and the following times. We may think of Voltairism in France somewhat as we think of Catholicism or the Renaissance or Calvinism. It was one of the cardinal liberations of the growing race, one . . .

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