François-Marie Arouet (1694–1778), better known by his pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, deist, and philosopher.
Voltaire advocated for civil liberties, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and separation of church and state. Also, as a satirical polemicist, he frequently criticized Catholic Church and the French institutions of his day.
His intelligence, wit and especially style made him one of France’s greatest writers and philosophers, despite the controversy he attracted during his lifetime.
He was a versatile and prolific writer, producing works in almost every literary form, including novels, poems, essays, plays, as well as historical and scientific works. He managed to write over 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. One of his most famous books and the best example of his style is satirical novella Candide (1759).
Voltaire’s works and ideas influenced many important thinkers of both the American and French Revolutions.