Other Literary Forms
Voltaire’s writings are vast, spanning more than one hundred volumes of letters, literature, and scholarship. He wrote in both French and English, publishing his works in several countries, depending on the prevailing political climate.
Voltaire has been remembered most for his incisive short stories, which convey complex philosophical ideas. During his own age, however, he was noted as a political satirist, playwright, and poet. He was a master of the epic poem, and his La Henriade (1728; a revision of La Ligue; Henriade, 1732) revived the popularity of this genre. His plays were renowned throughout France, and dipe (1718; Oedipus, 1761), produced when Voltaire was only twenty-four, received critical acclaim. His major philosophical work, Dictionnaire philosophique portatif (1764; A Philosophical Dictionary for the Pocket, 1765; also as Philosophical Dictionary, 1945), was an ambitious compendium of philosophical ideas and terms. In addition, his historical writings, such as Le Siècle de Louis XIV (1751; The Age of Louis XIV, 1752), have earned for him a reputation as one of the first modern historians.