It was on this date, November 21, 1694, that French writer François-Marie Arouet, who became famous as Voltaire, was born in Paris. His education began under a skeptical French Jesuit. When his father, a notary, insisted that he study for the law, Arouet instead began a literary career. After he published a witty satire on the Prince d’Orleans, a notorious scoundrel, he was exiled in 1716. Placed in the Bastille the next year, Arouet adopted the pen name Voltaire and wrote his first play. He was exiled yet again in 1719, and imprisoned in the Bastille again in 1726.
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Originally published October 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.