F.M. Arouet, a.k.a. Voltaire -- a.k.a. Charlie?

F.M. Arouet, a.k.a. Voltaire -- a.k.a. Charlie?
Source: Reusableart.com

Like many others,  I’ve found myself drawn in recent days to the the words of Francois Marie Arouet, a.k.a. Voltaire (1694-1778). They have been a comfort as I wrestle with my love of free speech, my horror at events in France, and questions about how to carry on responsible dialogues.

Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations states that the famous line “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” is merely “attributed to” Voltaire, adding that it was first used in “The Friends of Voltaire” (1906) by S.G. Tallentyre.

Also in Bartlett’s, I found something which may be even more useful than the more famous statement about rights. It’s from Voltaire’s “Essay on Epic Poetry” (which Bartlett’s notes was written in English).  As Voltaire wrote,

“Liberty of thought is the life of the soul.”

I’ll be thinking about that.

For more fun with words, stop by the Margaret Serious page on Facebook.

Words are worth defending! Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.


Leave a comment
  • Bonjour folkloric! You're welcome. What a good goal-setter you are, too!

  • Bonjour Margaret - I, too, will be thinking about these things. Thank you for the head start! I am also interested in reading "Essay On Epic Poetry" in its entirety. Maybe I will set that as a "classics" reading goal for myself this year.

  • It is also the basis of the ACLU defending what Elwood Blues called "f--- Illinois Nazis."

    I also find it significant that only Hollande noted the obvious, that the attack at Hyper Cacher was motivated by anti-Semitism.

    Since I believe in the First Amendment, I can't see these attacks, or the act of war against Sony. However, ISIS must be really nuts if they are enemies of everyone--even Assad.

  • Thanks for joining in our celebration of the First Amendment, Jack.

Leave a comment