A masterpiece of Enlightenment-era literature, this collection of brief, incisive essays constitutes a thought-provoking analysis of eighteenth-century social and religious conventions. Voltaire intended to entertain as well as to enlighten, and his sardonic wit lends a strikingly modern feeling to these writings.One of France's most celebrated citizens, Voltaire (1694-1778) is best known for his satirical novel Candide. His political treatises, which frequently put him at odds with the church and state, have exercised enormous influence on political theorists, philosophers, educators, and historians. This compilation, first published in 1764, covers a broad range of topics. Organized alphabetically, its subjects range from adultery, atheism, bankruptcy, and common sense to religion, superstition, tolerance, and virtue.