The definitive biography of Voltaire’s life—from his scandalous love affairs and political maneuverings to his inspired philosophy We think of Voltaire as the archetypal figure of the enlightenment; in his own time he was also the most famous and controversial figure in Europe. This dazzling new biography celebrates his extraordinary life. Davidson tells the whole, rich story of Voltaire’s life (1694–1778): his early imprisonment in the Bastille; exile in England and his mastery of English; an obsession with money, of which he made a huge amount; a scandalous love life; a long exile on the borders of Switzerland; his human rights campaigns and his triumphant return to Paris to die there as celebrity extraordinaire. Throughout all of this, Voltaire’s life was always informed by two things: a belief in the essential value of toleration in the face of fanaticism; and in the right of every man to think and say what he liked. It is rare to have such a vivid portrait of a great man.