We were inspired to look more closely at some of the key figures that appear in our Little History books by an interaction with a reader on the Little History facebook page. We really liked the idea of finding out what the series has to say about all sorts of ‘remarkable people’, both heroes and villains, and we’re putting together this resource for you to explore. Whether you’re looking for help with your homework (!), or trying to fill a gap in your knowledge, Little History books and their cast of characters have plenty to offer.
French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher
1694 – 1778
Voltaire was a French writer, historian and philosopher during the Enlightenment. Born François Marie Arout, Voltaire adopted his nom de plume in 1718 after a year-long incarceration in the Bastille for his satirical attacks on politics and religion. His writings advocated freedom of religion and expression and called for separation of church and state. Candide (1759), Voltaire’s most popular and widely read novel, tells the story of a young man’s introduction to optimism. Voltaire’s satirical style in Candide emphasises the importance of practicality and reality over optimism.
In A Little History of Literature, Sutherland introduces great classics in his own irresistible way, enlivening his offerings with humour as well as learning: Beowulf, Shakespeare, Don Quixote, the Romantics, Dickens, Moby Dick, The Waste Land, Woolf, …
We all grow up incessantly asking our parents, teachers and peers ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’. Some people never stop. In the illuminating and very readable A Little History of Philosophy, Nigel Warburton tells us about 40 of the most special questioners a …