Philosopher, Historian, and writer, Voltaire, famously wrote the satirical novella Candide and, despite controversy during his lifetime, is widely considered one of France's greatest Enlightenment writers.
Voltaire was born on 21st November 1694, in Paris, France. In 1704, he began to show promise as a writer while receiving a classical education at the Collége Louis-le-Grand, a Jesuit secondary school in Paris.
Voltaire's major works fall into four categories: poetry, plays, historical works and philosophical works. His most well-known poetry includes the epic poems Henriade (1723) and The Maid of Orleans, which he started writing in 1730, but never fully completed. Among the earliest of his best-known plays is the tragedy Oedipus, which was first performed in 1718. Voltaire followed Oedipus with a string of dramatic tragedies, including Mariamne (1724). His Zaïre (1732), written in verse, was something of a departure from his previous tragedies. Until that point, Voltaire's tragedies had centered on a fatal flaw in the protagonist's character; the tragedy in Zaïre was the result of circumstance. Following Zaïre, Voltaire continued to write tragic plays, including Mahomet in 1736 and Nanine in 1749.
Voltaire's body of writing also includes the notable historical works The Age of Louis XIV (1751), and Essay on the Customs and the Spirit of the Nations (1756). In Essay on the Customs and the Spirit of the Nations, Voltaire took a unique approach to tracing the progression of world civilization by focusing on social history and the arts.
His popular philosophic works took the form of the short stories Micromégas (1752) and Plato's Dream (1756), along with his famed satirical novella Candide (1759). In 1764, he published another of his most important philosophical works, Dictionnaire Philosophique, an encyclopaedic dictionary embracing the concepts of Enlightenment and rejecting the ideas of the Roman Catholic Church.