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French Literature in the Age of Reason
The Age of Reason, or the Enlightenment, was a period in France during the 1700's following the classical age. Within this time, philosophers placed the emphasis on reason as the best method for learning. It explored issues in education, law philosophy, and politics. It attacked tyranny, social injustice, superstition, and ignorance. This time produced advances in such areas as anatomy, astronomy, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. These were the ideals taken up for both the American and French revolutions. A significant amount of the literature produced was philosophical, and written by important thinkers such as Voltaire, Denis Diderot, and Jean Jacques Rousseau. Of the above, Voltaire was the most well-known literary figure of the time. He fought against intolerance and bigotry, and worked to promote rationalism through his literary skills. His most famous work is the novel Candide (1759). As well, Voltaire wrote tragedies influenced by the works of William Shakespeare. Through his many works on European and world history, he helped develop the principles of historical writing for modern times. Denis Diderot is most famously known for editing one of the great intellectual achievements of the Enlightenment, the French Encylopédie (1751-1772). The Encylopédie is a collection of articles written by many writers in several fields. The purpose of the book wa
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