“Emperor Waltz: Europe from Enlightenment to Sunset” Gao Lin, Oriental Publishing House, March 2019
The life of Voltaire is actually very similar to another French writer, that is Hugo. The first half of Voltaire and Hugo were a process of trying to climb the social pyramid. And they have climbed to a fairly high position in the middle of life. But if their lives come to an abrupt end, their status and image in history will never be so high today.
Just as Hugo was not originally a novelist, Voltaire’s original dream was not to become a philosopher. On the contrary, although he often devalues poetry, his original dream was to become a poet and a classical tragic poet who praised lofty character, noble emotions and tearful self-sacrifice. In the era of Louis XIV, this meant the summit of the French literary world. When the king and the audience wiped their tears with their hands under the stage, the great authors were on the altar, and both fame and fortune were also worshipped as a living god.
The Bourbon dynasty shaped the two paradigms of Gao Naiyi and Racine, who were the Virgils of the French monarch. Since then, French literati have hoped to become the next Racine. Molière is actually a teenager older than Racine, and he died earlier than Racine, and he has been writing a comedy for a lifetime. But Molière also wants to be Racine. He repeatedly asks the king that his biggest dream is to write a tragedy. The king satisfied him in another way. When he died in the curtain of “The Disease-Free”, Molière’s life became a tragedy of tears in laughter.
Racine’s brilliant life ended when Voltaire was five years old, and it was impossible for Voltaire to become another Racine. So he wrote a lot of scripts and poems. The epic “Henry”, which he has almost forgotten today, is the stepping stone he hopes to use to open the door to the Palace of Versailles.
But unfortunately Voltaire was not in time. Many years later, he himself said that there was no other Racine position in the court of Louis XV. In fact, there is no one in the court of Louis XV. There is no court in the court of the Regent before Louis XV. Moreover, Voltaire is outside this lofty and solemn side, and there is also a bitter and sinister side of what is black. It is self-evident that these two contrasting traits combine to bring about something.
Voltaire hoped that the Regent would be his protector, and the Regent sent him to the Bastille. After staying in the Bastille for a year and a half, Voltaire was not only irritated by his own misfortune, but actually recognized the rules of Versailles. More importantly, when he was finally released, he had a second chance. The Regent liked his harsh side, as long as he was not sarcasm, so the Regent quickly met Voltaire.
When talking about his jail, Voltaire told the Regent that it was grateful to have the Lord’s Majesty to provide me with food, but “please ask your next time to provide no more accommodation!” This sentence received all the effects, paragraph Voltaire was born.
But human red is one thing, and red is another. Voltaire mastered the rules of the game of Versailles, but Versailles actually did not need another Racine. It takes a long time for Voltaire to recognize this. On the road to becoming another Racine, Voltaire’s eagerness is that he has been left behind by other writers. As a happy second generation, Montesquieu has already made a name for himself in Paris by relying on the Persian Letters, and Voltaire has to rely on the Book of Philosophy to pull back a game and wait for many years.
In the years when Voltaire was about to be drowned by many “masters”, his greatest achievement was actually the love of Mrs. Chadley. Relying on Mrs. Chadley’s door, Voltaire maintained his reputation in France, while at the same time he opened a blue sea in Europe.
Voltaire first made his mark in the UK. The French Regent wants to unite with the British to resist the King of Spain. Voltaire’s long-lost “Henry” describes the French religious war, and the protagonist Henry IV was the hero of the United Kingdom against the West, so “Henry” In an instant, it has the color of carrying forward the great friendship between Britain and France.
“Henry” not only found the publisher, but also among the intended readers, the British big men emerged endlessly, including the future Prime Minister Walpole. And a French writer who is famous in the UK naturally attracted the attention of the Palace of Versailles. The Cardinal, the French Minister of France, who advocated the United Kingdom, also had contact with Voltaire. But Voltaire has embarked on the peak of his life, not by the British.
The real value of Voltaire’s approach in the salon is to promote the monarch. The king of the French kingdom of France has no need for propaganda. Louis XV does not need to rely on the personal charm of the king to contribute to the country. The set is made by Henry IV or Louis XIV. Louis XV is the most powerful king in Europe. Just let the minister win the battle for him. Honor is all right.
But fortunately, there are many monarchs in Europe, especially the German court with a lot of courts, and the king of big votes to re-take the road to entrepreneurship in the Bourbon dynasty. In the upper class, everyone is proud of speaking French. Russian aristocrats can speak Russian without speaking Russian. If you really don’t speak French, you should also do not speak Russian well at the same time, or you can’t speak Russian well, and add a nasal sound when you speak Russian, which seems to have a French flavor. Germany is also natural, the German aristocracy will very sincerely say to you, “You wait, let me think about how to say this word to you in German.” This is a good time for a French diplomat not to learn a foreign language. So people like Voltaire are simply treasures.
Especially at this time the young Prussian King Frederick II was bent on dressing himself up as a specimen of an enlightened monarch who was admired by the Enlightenment. Voltaire is the best tool for achieving his goal. Voltaire is a profound, interesting, engaging, philosophical person who is easy to learn and understand. Is Voltaire saying a maxim? Do not! This is simply the annual advertising word. Therefore, Voltaire truly found the blue ocean that belongs to him, and he can eat everywhere in France, Britain, and Prussia. This reason later Diderot also learned, so he got a ticket from the Russian empress Ekaterina II.
However, Diderot is not as good at Voltaire as he is in making money. Voltaire did not provide creativity to Prussian’s Frederick II in vain. In his “seven-year war”, he suggested that Frederick II pay the national debt of the occupied Saxony election state by virtue of his friendship with the king. When the inside information was taken, he ran to buy the Saxon State bonds at a waste paper price. When the good news of Prussia came out, he would throw out the bonds and make a big profit.
With the annual advertising word “not sacred, not Roman, not even empire”, Voltaire himself won a price for himself. Frederick, who knew the truth afterwards, complained about Voltaire’s use of a maxim. He said, “Our philosopher friend is really not like a philosopher on the issue of money.”