Poster for the theater play “L’Ingénu” by Voltaire
“L’Ingénu is a satirical novella by the French writer Voltaire, published in 1767.
It tells the story of a Huron called “Child of Nature” who, after having crossed the Atlantic to England, crosses into Brittany, France in the 1690s. Upon arrival, a prior notices depictions of his brother and sister-in-law, whom they deduce to be the Huron’s parents – making him French.
Having grown up outside of European culture, he sees the world in a more ‘natural’ way, causing him to interpret things directly, unaware of what is customary, leading to comic misinterpretations.
The story satirizes religious doctrine, government corruption, and the folly and injustices of French society (including its practices which conflict with actual scripture).
The story also criticizes the contemporary corruption in the French government.”