Damien Tricoire, Eine Staatsangelegenheit. Patronage und Voltaires politische Stellungnahmen, in: Norbert Campagna und Rüdiger Voigt (eds.), Voltaire (Nomos, 2020).

This chapter explores the way patronage relationships impacted on Voltaire’s career and work. It analyses more precisely the period after Voltaire’s return from Berlin, and especially when Voltaire suceeded in gaining the patronage of the leading ministers Choiseul and Praslin. This new protection enabled Voltaire to get back on the track of social ascencion, to lead the life of an aristocrat in the border region between France and Geneva, to launch polemics against the Catholic Church and some Christian beliefs, to have success as a theatre author, and to pursue his historiographical work. As this chapter shows, the patronage relationships had a major impact on the content of both the theatre plays and his major work L’Essai sur les moeurs. The political positions taken by Voltaire can be often directly linked to his situation as a client of major courtiers.