Voltaire’s alter-ego exposed

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A FRENCH author’s English alter ego has been unmasked by new letters, according to Oxford University.

Professor Nicholas Cronk, director of the university’s Voltaire Foundation, said two of the 14 letters shed light on the extent of Voltaire’s interactions with the English aristocracy.

In one letter the author even signs his name Francis Voltaire – something never before recorded, he said. Professor Cronk, a lecturer in the medieval and modern languages faculty, said: “Voltaire spent two important but relatively undocumented years in England in his thirties.

“These letters show how Voltaire’s close interaction with the English aristocracy exposed him to enlightenment ideas and help us to piece together the nature of those interactions.”