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p. 1018. The celebritylocked

  • Nicholas Cronk

Abstract

Voltaire’s historical enquiry into the nature of religion, as part of a broader concern with the progress of knowledge, puts him at the heart of the Enlightenment endeavour. But it is not sufficient to examine Voltaire’s ideas in isolation if we wish to understand their true importance. ‘The celebrity’ looks at how Voltaire reached a broader public through the medium of publishing. Of all 18th-century thinkers , Voltaire was the most media savvy. His celebrity status meant that his books, and his message, reached ever wider audiences. Voltaire’s importance can be measured not only by the originality or importance of his ideas, but by the number of people he influenced.

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