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The author of more than 2,000 books and pamphlets, Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet, 1694-1778) was one of the most prolific writers of the eighteenth century, and also one of the wittiest and most insightful. This unique collection of over 800 of Voltaire’s wisest passages and choicest bons mots runs the gamut on topics from adultery to Zoroaster, in both English and French.

Drawing from a wide range of his publications, private letters, and remarks recorded by his contemporaries, The Quotable Voltaire includes material never before gathered in a single volume. English translations appear alongside the original French, and each quote is thoroughly indexed and referenced, with page numbers for both the first known publication edition of each entry and the most recent edition of Voltaire’s works. The book also features over 400 quotes about Voltaire, including commentary by eighteenth-century luminaries like Samuel Johnson, Catherine the Great, Casanova, and John Adams, as well as an eclectic assortment of modern-day personages ranging from Winston Churchill and Jorge Luis Borges to Mae West and Mike Tyson.

Lavishly illustrated with nearly three dozen images of Voltaire-related art, this collection opens with a scholarly essay that recounts the great man’s life and reflects on his outsized influence on Western culture. Whether you are a Voltaire scholar or a neophyte, The Quotable Voltaire is the perfect introduction to a brilliant mind.


eighteenth-century France, quotes, quotations, Candide, Ferney, Enlightenment, François-Marie Arouet, Western civilization, Voltaire, Europe, European, American, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Denis Diderot, Samuel Johnson, Catherine the Great, Casanova, Abigail, John Adams, Goethe, James Fenimore Cooper, Victor Hugo, Friedrich Nietzsche, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Lytton Strachey, H.L. Mencken, Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaule, Roland Barthes, Jorge Luis Borges, Mae West, witty French sage, French sage


This collection copyright © 2021 by Bucknell University Press Scholarly text and apparatus copyright © 2021 by Garry Apgar and Edward M. Langille; introductory essay, “Voltaire: The Life of a Legend,” copyright © 2021 by Garry Apgar. All rights reserved No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. Please contact Bucknell University Press, Hildreth-Mirza Hall, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837-2005. The only exception to this prohibition is “fair use” as defined by U.S. copyright law.


text and illustrations, 486 pages


eng, fra



The Quotable Voltaire