The Age of Voltaire

audiobook (Unabridged) A History of Civlization in Western Europe from 1715 to 1756, with Special Emphasis on the Conflict between Religion and Philosophy · The Story of Civilization

By Will Durant

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The Age of Voltaire, the ninth volume of The Story of Civilization, is an in-depth examination of France and England in the first half of the eighteenth century. In this masterful work, listeners will encounter

  • the English ideas that inspired the Enlightenment in France—skepticism, scientific experiment, constitutional government, "natural rights," and individual liberty;
  • the salons of Paris, where the wits and thinkers of all Europe gathered to exchange ideas;
  • the philosophes—intellectuals, playwrights, and poets who consulted and consorted with kings and queens;
  • Voltaire himself—the incarnation of the Enlightenment and a devotee of reason who still defended religious faith;
  • Mme. Pompadour, patron of the philosophes, who seduced King Louis XV and through him influenced French policy;
  • the Augustan Age in English literature—Alexander Pope's poetry, Jonathan Swift's satires, and the novels of Samuel Richardson and Henry Fielding; and
  • the growing parasitism of the aristocracy and rising power of the commercial class.
  • The Age of Voltaire