Candide or Optimism

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Wiley, Jan 15, 1946 - Literary Collections - 117 pages
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This edition is essentially that of Richard Aldington edited with reference to the French editions by André Morize and George R. Havens. Norman L. Torrey's introduction is a brief commentary on Voltaire's central purpose of reducing the doctrine of philosophical optimism to absurdity. Also included are a list of principal dates in the life of Voltaire and a selected bibliography.

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Contents

HOW CANDIDE ESCAPED FROM THE BULGARIANS
7
STORM SHIPWRECK EARTHQUAKE AND WHAT
14
CUNEGONDES STORY
22
Copyright

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About the author (1946)

A leading freethinker of his time and an opponent of political and religious oppression, Voltaire was instrumental in popularizing serious philosophical, religious, and scientific ideas that were frequently derived from liberal thinkers in England, where he lived for two years after his imprisonment in the Bastille. Voltaire's writings are wide ranging: He wrote plays in the neoclassic style, such as Oedipus (1718), philosophical essays in a popular vein like Letters on England (1734), which has been referred to as the first bomb hurled against the Ancien Regime; and the Philosophical Dictionary (1764), a catalog of polemical ideas on a large variety of subjects, particularly religion and philosophy. Voltaire was one of the most prolific letter writers in the entire history of literature, and his correspondence has been published in a French edition of 107 volumes. For the twentieth-century reader, Voltaire is best known for his philosophical tale Candide (1759), a masterpiece of satire that is both an attack on the philosophy of metaphysical optimism elaborated earlier in the century by the German philosopher Leibniz and a compendium of the abuses of the Ancien Regime as the author ponders the general problem of evil. Voltaire's unflinching belief in human reason and his easy handling of the language of Enlightenment wit and philosophy led the critic Roland Barthes to dub him "the last happy writer.

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