French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher known for his wit. His book Candide satirized French nobility and the church.
He adopted the name Voltaire in 1718, based on the anagram for AROVET LI, the Latinized spelling of his surname Arouet and the initial letters of le jeune or, the younger.
Despite being French, his works helped spur the American revolution.
Born in Paris, the youngest of five children.
He was highly influenced by the works of William Shakespeare.
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