Sexual Fables
This article accompanies the fable
The Judgment of Paris


Voltaire, who was born in Paris in 1694, met Ninon de Lenclos in 1705 when he was 11 years old.  Voltaire managed to find a way to avoid following in his father’s footsteps by writing satirical poetry and other works that made him very popular with the smart set but that also made him as many enemies.  As a result he spent time imprisoned in the Bastille and in exile in England.  Later in life, after fleeing Berlin (he offended Frederick the Great) and unwelcome in Paris (Louis XV was no fan), he headed to Geneva, Switzerland, which promptly banned the publication of La Pucelle, his satiric poem about Joan of Arc.  It was this train of events that led to Voltaire writing what many believe to be his masterpiece, Candide, ou l’Optimisme (Candide, or Optimism) in 1759.  He died in 1778 at the age of 83, one month before Rousseau, and one year shy of Ninon’s age when she died.

Voltaire in 1718

Painting of Voltaire in 1718 by Nicolas de Largillière.
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