Name at birth: Francois Marie Arouet
Voltaire was the pen name of Francois Marie Arouet, who first made a name for himself among the refined patrons of the French salons. He applied his wit and knowledge to writing poetry and political treatises, often incurring the wrath of the French government and the church. Perhaps his most famous work is his novel Candide (1759), with its common sense conclusion that we must "cultivate our garden."Voltaire influenced political theorists, philosophers, educators and historians, and is one of the most celebrated citizens in the history of France.