Candide

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Digireads.com, Jan 1, 2004 - Fiction - 104 pages
3 Reviews
"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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Eh not the best!

User Review  - bummedd - Overstock.com

It made it sound like the book itself was in french and Im really let down that its not. Maybe be clearer on that. Read full review

Review: Candide

User Review  - Leah - weRead

I first read this book in high school AP French IV, and now it has returned on my Masters reading list. The more things change, the more they stay the same. On a personal note, though, it's kind of ... Read full review

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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.

Smollett, the only major eighteenth-century English novelist whose work can seriously be called picaresque, came to the writing of novels with a strong sense of Scottish national pride (an alienating element in the London of the 1750s and 1760s), a Tory feeling for a lost order, horrifying experiences as a physician, and a fierce determination to make his way in the literary world. Prolific in a variety of literary forms, he was particularly successful as a popular historian, magazine editor, translator of Cervantes (see Vol. 2), and author of novels about adventurous, unscrupulous, poor young men. His work is marked by vigorous journalistic descriptions of contemporary horrors, such as shipboard amputations or the filthy curative waters of Bath; by a flair for racy narrative often built on violence and sentiment, and for comedy that often relies on practical jokes and puns; and by a great gift for creating comic caricatures. His peppery Travels through France and Italy (1766) was something of a spur to Laurence Sterne's Sentimental Journey, in which Smollett is referred to as Dr. Smelfungus, who "set out with the spleen and jaundice, and every object he passed by was discolored or distorted---He wrote an account of them, but 'twas nothing but the account of his miserable feelings." Smollett's most notable novels are Roderick Random (1748), Peregrine Pickle Pickle (1751), Ferdinand Count Fathom (1753), Sir Launcelot Greaves (1762), which set a precedent by first being serialized in his British Magazine (January 1760--December 1761), and especially The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker (1771), a relatively mellow work that follows the travels of Matthew Bramble, an excitable Welshman, from his home through chaotic England to idyllic Loch Lomond and back. Bramble himself finds what Smollett had irrecoverably lost---his health---as well as a son from his youth. Smollett died in 1771, the year of the novel's appearance, in Leghorn, Italy, and is buried in the English cemetery there.

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