The article examines Voltaire’s hypochondriac obsession with death and illness, as can be seen in his Correspondence throughout his entire life. His death is described by his secretary Wagnière in Mémoires sur Voltaire and by Condorcet in Vie de Voltaire. Both of them talk of his belief in reason and deism. As regards Voltaire’s attitude toward death in the last years of his life, he at times seems to play with the idea of death, as in his Épître à Horace. More often, he is questioning the philosophical meaning of death where the individual disappears and only the species survives. Voltaire values “philosophical death” and believes that philosophy can help us to accept life and death.
Keywords: Voltaire, death, illness, deism, reason, Enlightenment.