he had spent a year for his satirical attack on French politics and religion.
He is often credited with the famous statement
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
This fine set of words sum up perfectly his principles on freedom of speech, except Voltaire never uttered them.
The origins of this famous misquote can be dated to 1907 in a book entitled The Friends of Voltaire by historian Evelyn Beatrice Hall. In her book Hall, writing under the name Tallentyre writes of French philosopher Helvetius, whose work de l’esprit was publicly burnt for its attack on religion and morality. Voltaire, it has been suggested, was a supporter of Helvetius’s principles and it was his comments on the event of the book burning that the misquote arises. Of the event Voltaire said
‘What a fuss about an omelette! How abominably unjust to persecute a man for such an airy trifle as that!”
Tallentyre followed this line with her idea of what Voltaire was saying, that is I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend
to the death your right to say it.
By putting speech marks either side of the statement it gave the reader the idea that it was Voltaire who actually said it.