Front Cover, Jan 1, 2004 - Fiction
1 Review
"Candide" is the famous satire and best-known work by Voltaire. First published in 1759, "Candide" is the story of its central character who travels throughout Europe and South America experiencing and witnessing much misfortune on the way. It is within the clever construct of this narrative that Voltaire refutes the philosophy of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, whose central idea was that life was the best of all possible worlds and that disasters, should they occur, were harbingers of better things to come. Voltaire found this philosophy insultingly ridiculous and within the humorous and satirical construct of this work he effectively exposes the idiocy of a philosophy that was so pervasive in his time.

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About the author (2004)

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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