Discover why intellectuals and historians alike consider Voltaire to be one of the most intriguing, influential, and elusive thinkers of the modern world. Focusing on the deepest, most enduring aspects of Voltaire's work and thought, but never losing sight of the colorful, fascinating man himself, these 12 lectures sketch for you a vibrant, thought-provoking vision of Voltaire as "the father of the Enlightenment" and one of the great literary personalities of all time. You'll follow this Enlightenment thinker's 84 astoundingly productive years and go inside not only his masterpiece, Candide, but the hundreds of other works in almost all the literary, philosophical, and polemical genres current in his day, and the more than 20,000 letters this prolific writer and thinker left behind. What was Voltaire's world like? Who and what influenced him? What questions and dilemmas did he ponder? What evils did he struggle against? What reforms did he advocate? What made him laugh and cry, or write a book like Candide, which is at once so funny and so sad? And what is his place in the history of the Western mind? The answers to these and other questions can be found right here in this illuminating lecture series. If you're unfamiliar with Voltaire and his works, prepare to meet one of Western literature's defining writers. And if you already have some familiarity with the man, prepare to discover even more insights into why he still matters after all these years.