(btw, I don't mean to set a personal pattern of making threads about different writers, but... I'm on a thread high today & this is my last effort..)
I'm assuming most people here have probably read Candide, but has anyone read anything else by Voltaire? It's true he's a literary footnote but he was actually extremely skilled & wrote in almost every form that could be written in at the time-- although his expressive range is pretty limited by Romantic & subsequent standards, & the general gist of his ideas is pretty consistent throughout his life... But if you read the Philosophical Dictionary for example, it's shocking how much of the humor is laugh-out-loud funny even today. Personally, for me it was revelatory-- how much of the weirdness of now is mirrored back by the particular strictures of 18th century upper-middle-class Western Europe. It's something, in a particular mode of expression, I try to strive for.
Even his personal correspondence is worth reading.
So, if you have any insight at all to share regarding the great man, original gangsta, twice imprisoned in the Bastille, terror to the authorities, gettin-all-his-books-burned one-man pamphlet factory, caffeine-addicted semi-philosopher, please do..