Optimism In Candide

Tuesday, September 28, 2021 12:17:38 PM

Optimism In Candide



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Candide: Crash Course Literature 405

Egli allora spedisce Candido fuori dai suoi possedimenti e fuori dal feudo , "a calci nel sedere". Durante la guerra dei sette anni tra bulgari prussiani e abari francesi , Candido viene arruolato a forza dai primi; quando pensa di disertare, viene scoperto subito e bastonato da duemila soldati, poi condannato a morte , fino a che viene graziato da Federico II. Durante la battaglia riesce a scappare e ritrova poi Pangloss, malato di sifilide.

Candido e Pangloss vengono aiutati da un mercante anabattista , Jacques, insieme al quale s'imbarcano e raggiungono Lisbona. Candido uccide per difesa due potenti del luogo che si contendono l'amore della ragazza, un giudeo di nome don Issacar e il Grande Inquisitore in persona. Scappano quindi su una nave e attraversano l' Atlantico. Cunegonda e la vecchia che si rivela essere una principessa, figlia di un papa, ma caduta in disgrazia dopo essere finita schiava di pirati rimangono a Buenos Aires, ospiti del governatore, mentre Candido e il servitore Cacambo scappano rifugiandosi dai gesuiti.

Candido incontra Martino, un manicheo dalle idee completamente opposte a quelle di Pangloss, e prosegue insieme a lui il suo viaggio alla ricerca dell'amata, passando per la Francia dove viene imbrogliato ripetutamente e alla fine deve fuggire per evitare di finire arrestato, durante le repressioni seguite all'attentato di Damiens contro Luigi XV e l'Inghilterra dove assiste all'esecuzione dell' ammiraglio Byng. Nella galea ritrova, come schiavi rematori, il filosofo Pangloss, sfuggito miracolosamente alla morte, e il fratello barone di Cunegonda anche lui sopravvissuto , e li riscatta.

Come lo stesso Voltaire disse, il fine di Candido era quello di "portare il divertimento a un piccolo numero di uomini d'ingegno". Il teorico letterario Frances K. Barasch ha descritto il racconto di Voltaire affermando che esso tratta temi come la morte e il massacro "freddamente, come un bollettino meteo". I governi europei, specie la Francia, la Prussia, il Portogallo e l'Inghilterra sono attaccati spietatamente dall'autore: i francesi e prussiani per la guerra dei sette anni, i portoghesi per l' Inquisizione , e gli inglesi per l'esecuzione di John Byng.

Voltaire rappresenta il peggio del mondo e lo sforzo disperato del suo eroe patetico di inserirlo in una visione ottimistica. Bottiglia, autore di numerosi lavori pubblicati su Candido, chiama le "debolezze sentimentali dell'epoca" e l'attacco di Voltaire su di esse. I personaggi di Candide sono - sempre secondo William F. Bottiglia - irrealistici, bidimensionali, meccanici, e simili a marionette; sono semplicistici e stereotipati, servono a Voltaire per dimostrare le sue teorie. I giardini sono ritenuti, da molti critici, svolgere un ruolo simbolico fondamentale nel Candide.

Ciclicamente, i principali personaggi di Candide concludono il romanzo in un giardino, luogo che potrebbe rappresentare il paradiso. Il breve romanzo filosofico ha suscitato ammirazioni e critiche, sia subito sia in seguito, fino ai giorni nostri. Poco dopo l'uscita venne posto all' indice dei libri proibiti dalla Chiesa. Ammirato da Leopardi che ne riprese, estremizzandoli, certi temi e atteggiamenti nelle sue prose [12] [21] si vedano le Operette morali La scommessa di Prometeo e Dialogo della Natura e di un Islandese , venne deprecato da altri, che pur talvolta rispettavano l'autore nel complesso.

Il giudizio della Stael risente di quello dell'eterno rivale di Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau , che nelle Confessioni rappresenta Voltaire come il manicheo Martin, che crede che Dio esista e sia malvagio malteismo , pur essendo un uomo che ha avuto fortuna nella vita. Rousseau - nell'ottica del romanzo - sembra quasi schierarsi dalla parte dell'ottimismo panglossiano si veda anche la vivace corrispondenza sul terremoto di Lisbona e le opere coeve di Voltaire, come i pessimistici Poema sulla legge naturale e Poema sul disastro di Lisbona , dalle tematiche simili a La ginestra di Leopardi. Antiporta con illustrazione: l'Inquisitore scopre Candido, la vecchia e Cunegonda col corpo dell'usuraio ebreo ucciso da Candido per difesa.

Candido e Cacambo sullo sfondo fra gli Orecchioni e le scimmie: l'episodio delle scimmie amanti delle due ragazze orecchione scimmie che finiscono uccise da Candido e Cacambo. In a word, to caress the serpent that devours us, and hug him close to our bosoms till he has gnawed into our hearts? We go on living against our better judgment and in spite of all of our misery. It is what we were born to do. View all 3 comments. Candide is a real crush! Simply magical. I knew this novel but had never had the pleasure of reading it. Here it is! Candide is the hero of this philosophical tale; he is a character who lives up to his name, who wants to be optimistic and who believes in life. We know that he was born in Westphalia, a German kingdom, and is the son of the sister of Sir Baron de Thunder-ten-tronckh.

The meeting with philosophical characters, like Martin, Cacambo, and especially the Turk, will reveal to him the secrets of happiness: "You have to cultivate your garden" or "Work without reasoning" The moral of the story is elsewhere so correct since it translates the following thought: "The only way to escape unhappiness or boredom is to go from philosophical reflection as Candide did to concrete actions respecting our limits". I never imagined that this book would please me so much! Voltaire depicts society's setbacks so well, majestically criticising men and slavery, money, possession, black markets, power, and many other horrors that we are immediately transporting to the side.

Of Candide by taking the journey of life with him. View all 4 comments. Jan 08, Brian Yahn rated it it was ok. In only about pages, Voltaire says more than your average 7 book series Which would be great if most of what he talked about wasn't dated into irrelevance. So unless you're a French scholar, appreciating his satire seems unrealistic. Combine that with the speed at which the plot moves, and keeping up with Candide is definitely a chore. Truly enjoying his adventure seems like a privilege only possible for the super-educated. At one time, Candide was a must-read.

But, for the average person In only about pages, Voltaire says more than your average 7 book series But, for the average person, that time probably passed a hundred years ago. View all 8 comments. I loved Candide! It is such a brilliant satire on the ideas observed through the glass of rosy eyed philosophy. Candide, a young fellow, believes that whatever happens is for the best, courtesy his tutor Dr. The writing covers a number of unfavorable happenings and incidents, which should have been sufficient enough to let him abandon the colored glasses. But voila! Our man Candide is one optimist! He continues believing even I loved Candide! He continues believing even through all the misfortunes in life. Nothing, not even the greatest follies of mankind like injustice, greed, apathy can shake his belief.

In search of his beloved, Lady Cunegonde, he faces one trouble after another; at each step believing the philosophy to be true for he believes that he will be happy after he reunites with the love of his life. So, where do we get from here? It made me contemplate how still the religious or ideological conditioning can play a larger role in the underdevelopment of minds, thereby restricting rational thinking. It is further astonishing to witness the influence such ideas can exercise, if they are bestowed regularly with zest on a naive mind. And more than this, an individual, accepting such ideology, stands in danger of coming face to face with a sense of utter despair or worthlessness at the mere hint of failure of the long held ideas.

So, what can be a solution to this? In this work, Voltaire suggests hard work i. He opines that labor holds off three great evils: tedium, vice and poverty, making life more supportable. I do agree with him. Along with this I also believe that younger minds should be encouraged to question and analyse the ideas presented to them, so that what they exercise are not mere vague ideas but beliefs which can sturdily stand the test of the times. View all 42 comments. Nov 12, Jenna rated it really liked it Shelves: classic-of-the-month , classics , philosophy. Over the top optimism due to a belief that everything happens according to some divine plan.

Well, "God" has a plan and a purpose for this. Just you wait, someday you'll be thankful this happened! Well, "God" works in mysterious ways but his will is always best. Excuse the language, but really! Instead of feeling compassion for others or trying to do something to actually help them, some people spout off these insensitive platitudes that can only make the one suffering feel worse. Hey, it's your own fault if you can't see the bright side in this!

Everyone in your family just died? Of course, there are those who choose to see their own suffering in this light and that's fine and dandy if it helps you to believe that some good cough, cough god wants you to suffer. If you can find meaning in your suffering, I'm glad for you. Just please don't try to tell others to do the same. You know who else had a problem with this idea? Voltaire did. The German philosopher Leibniz had some crazy notion that this is the best of all possible worlds and everything that happens is the best that can be.

Yeeeehhhh riiiiggghhhttt You can't imagine a world, say, I don't know, without suffering?? That wouldn't be better than one with suffering?? Leibniz assumed that the world and all in it is created by an omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-benevolent god; ergo, everything that happens is the best that can be. Well, Herr Leibniz, forgive me for saying but this god of yours can't possibly have all three of those qualities and have created the world as it is. Even I can imagine something much better and I'm not omniscient. Simply removing suffering would be a good start. But I digress. Voltaire's line of reasoning was more along my own than that of Liebniz's and so he did what anyone would do who takes issue with such a batshit idea.

He wrote a book mocking it. OK, maybe not anyone would do that, but someone who can write books and who loves satire? Thus we have Candide. In it, our eponymous protagonist is a follower of Pangloss, a philosopher who, like Leibniz, avers that this is the best of all possible worlds. It's the one we have and a good god created it; therefore, it must be the best.

Pangloss, like Liebniz, suffers from a lack of imagination and critical thinking skills. Our poor protagonist is exiled from his home for daring to love a woman who is above his class. That, my friends, is just the beginning of his problems. After he witnesses Pangloss being hanged, he embarks on a journey that is one mishap and tragedy after another. Everyone he comes into contact with has an ever worse story to tell. Indeed, there is not one person who doesn't suffer horrific things.

At first Candide clings to his master's teachings that this is the best of all possible worlds and thus one should be thankful for the wrongs they endure. Gradually though, as he witnesses ever increasing tragedies and suffering, he begins to question this premise. I really enjoyed this novel, the wit and outrageousness. The clever storytelling. The preposterous events and the maturation of young Candide's mind. Not quite a 5 star novel, but still a very worthwhile and enjoyable read. An added benefit is that I learned a couple new words. Thanks, Voltaire and M-W! November classic-of-the-month View all 30 comments. His soul was revealed in his face. He combined rather sound judgment with great simplicity of mind; it was for this reason, I believe, that he was given the name of Candide.

Pangloss that "all is for the best". Tho "In the castle of Baron Thunder-ten-tronchkh in Westphalia, there once lived a youth endowed by nature with the gentlest of characters. Though not expelled from my castle and "earthly paradise" for falling in love with the wrong young man and forcing the wrath of his parent to fall upon my shoulders, I did leave my humble abode to find independence, seek fortune and to live happily ever after. I knew there existed hardships in the world, but they could never really affect me personally, could they? Well, I am thankful to say that such misfortunes did not fall directly upon me as they did for Candide and the other characters of this penetrating and often comical little book.

After his expulsion from the castle of Westphalia, Candide experiences, witnesses and hears about one horrific calamity after another as he travels the world — murder, war, rape, the Inquisition, theft, natural disasters and more. The events are often quite shocking and sometimes on the verge of being simply absurd when you read about the old woman you will see what I mean here. I may not have been the wretched victim of such outrageous atrocities, yet as I began to make my own way in the world I grew to understand that such evil really did exist all around me. Candide, while not completely disillusioned, begins to question the faith of the ever so hopeful Dr.

If given the opportunity to discuss what he has endured with this great philosopher, Candide believes Pangloss "would have told us admirable things about the physical and moral evils that cover the earth and the sea, and I would have felt strong enough to venture a few respectful objections. As he continues his voyage, Candide deliberately seeks to find "the most unfortunate" and "most disgusted" man to travel with him.

Thus he meets Martin. We have all probably met a Martin. Some days, when I hear about the ugliness in the world, I feel like a Martin myself. Martin maintains that God has abandoned this world. Everywhere in the world, the weak detest the strong and grovel before them, and the strong treat them like flocks of sheep to be sold for their meat and wool. Should one bear extreme optimism like Dr. Pangloss or extreme pessimism like Martin? Is there something in between that allows us not to view the world with rose-colored glasses and ignorance but yet one that does not drown us in negativity and despair? One perhaps must take what we have been given, make the best of it, and find some rewarding work whether that be a career, raising a family, or utilizing our talents in some way.

As Candide discovered — "we must cultivate our garden". A copy of this little satirical piece has been sitting on my basement shelf for perhaps 20 years. I liked this book. No doubt Voltaire was brilliant and this book has endured for good reason. Feb 21, Rowena rated it it was amazing Shelves: classics , french-lit , favorites. Then his troubles begin, and he ends up travelling all around the world looking for his beloved. Candide experiences trial after trial, each one as bad and as far-fetched as the last. However, the way in which these trials were described did not make one feel too sorry for him; the story had more of the feel of a tragicomedy, especially with the speed of events and the gross exaggerations.

This book is a bildungsroman of sorts because we see what Candide makes of that supposition throughout his trials. Voltaire spares nobody in his attack on society. All in all, a very funny book. View all 11 comments. God that pisses me off, especially since none of those books are worth a damn, and while the authors wrongly think they have something interesting or unique to say, the thing that really disheartens me is that someone out there agrees with them.

Most people hear something that weak and simply binge drink to erase the awful memory that somebody out there could possibly believe that kind of shit. A lot of people write against these notions and somehow get their pitiful little whims published in the commentary of the local newspaper, and you wish you could choke those imbeciles as well, for giving more press to an already absurd concept.

Lastly, there are the few that decide to sit down and write a satire about a hundred pages long to denounce what they consider absolute folly. And with Candide, Voltaire relentlessly attacks the ridiculous philosophy of Liebniz and his familiars, attempting to show that this is not, by any stretch of the imagination, the best of all possible worlds mainly because of the large number of utter clods totally f--king up the works. May 08, Loretta rated it it was ok Shelves: classic , myreading-challenge. The best part of this book was that it ended and with a happily ever after. View all 5 comments. Jan 16, Trevor I no longer get notified of comments rated it really liked it Shelves: religion , philosophy , literature.

This is quite a remarkable book — a satirical attack on the notion that we live in the best of all possible worlds and that therefore all that happens in such a world invariably happens for the best. Voltaire is supposed to have written the whole thing in barely three days — a rather productive half-week. What I found particularly interesting here was the discussion of war — how the horrors of war are presented in such an off-hand way and almost invariably the utter inhumanity of what is describe This is quite a remarkable book — a satirical attack on the notion that we live in the best of all possible worlds and that therefore all that happens in such a world invariably happens for the best.

The question of free will, human agency and responsibility for our actions — something that the notion of our living in the best of all possible worlds does much to undermine — is never far from the surface here, but invariably it remains just under the surface. It would take a particularly committed optimist to go through what the characters in this book do and come out the other end still thinking the world is beyond any possibility of improvement. What I particularly liked, though, was the very end and the garden that is being tended. The book is otherwise the odyssey of a fool, but this final acceptance of life as struggle and a kind of stoic acceptance of the rewards that come from labour is quite a lovely thing, really.

Even before I got to the end I kept thinking the whole way through the book about how different Eastern and Western notions of these things are and have been. When the Buddha was first confronted by the world outside his idyllic palace he realised life was suffering. It is odd that when we in the West are confronted with much the same vision of the world around us we all too often excuse that suffering as being necessary for the greater good.

View all 16 comments. Oct 22, J. This book does not stick so well in my memory in either a negative or positive way, but I think this comes from the book being a mixture of two things which I could not feel more differently about: allegory and satire. The first I find to be as silly and pointless as Aesop or Passion Plays. Characters in an allegory are oversimplified symbols, and so cannot comment on the nature of actual human beings. The style is already so firmly affixed to cultural states and norms that it cannot really say a This book does not stick so well in my memory in either a negative or positive way, but I think this comes from the book being a mixture of two things which I could not feel more differently about: allegory and satire.

The style is already so firmly affixed to cultural states and norms that it cannot really say anything beyond the dichotomous, and dualists are blinded by their egos. I do love satire, but that is generally because of the wit and skill it takes to subvert and re-imagine. Unfortunately, once one has drawn so deeply on hyperbole in a work, it loses its ability to find that necessarily uncomfortable 'grey area'--that rift between assumption and observation.

Voltaire is witty and funny, but his condemnation and praise falls only on unrealistic absolutes, and hence becomes only political rather than philosophical. In this, he becomes in many ways Shakespeare's opposite; whose characters were so vaguely sketched that they could be held representative of many disparate identities. It is too easy to force and distort arguments when the accepted givens are so strictly defined and counterpointed. This problem should be evident to anyone in America today who sees how opposition to ideas is transformed into meaninglessly pejorative identities.

The temptation of thought-terminating cliches grows ever more in the face of such opposing forces as Voltaire presents. No doubt much of Voltaire's popularity stems from the fact that he is so narrowly applicable and divisive. In this way he almost works like a philosopher since his ideas are so forcefully professed. However, unlike a philosopher he represents his opponents in a state of utter ridicule, he is less convincing than polarizing. The other part of Voltaire's popularity comes from his empty century. The Seventeenth had Shakespeare and Milton.

The Nineteenth showed the ridiculously fecund blossoming of the Romantics. Fielding has escaped as wide a reading because his satire was more social than strictly political. Pope and Swift were likewise satirists, but of such a fanciful nature as to escape more simplistic and contentious forces. This leaves us with the more accessible Voltaire, who may be used to attack ideas, but not to build upon them. Not bought this book last time we visited Foyles; since it was lying around, I couldn't resist the temptation to read it again. You can read Candide any number of times. Cacambo explained the king's witty remarks to Candide, and, althou Not bought this book last time we visited Foyles; since it was lying around, I couldn't resist the temptation to read it again.

Cacambo explained the king's witty remarks to Candide, and, although they had been translated, they were still witty. Of all the things that astonished Candide, this was not the one that astonished him least. Once again, Voltaire gives me the impression that he is not attracted to the novel or the story, which he contemptuously calls " trifles ". That's why we like it ". He has the prejudice of the noble gender.

The tragedy, the verse discourse, the philosophical pamphlet, visibly preoccupies him. The story is divided into two moments, with the Eldorado episode in the center - the image of an inaccessible ideal. The evolution of the Once again, Voltaire gives me the impression that he is not attracted to the novel or the story, which he contemptuously calls " trifles ". Adventures shape his personality, experiences make him think. Dreams help him to clarify his beliefs. Voltaire also includes a lot of biographical substance, in this story. The Enlightenment, with its double aspect - negative and constructive - is also present. This perhaps explains the anecdote in which Lord Chesterfield would have answered his son, in this way, who asked him if he should buy the Diderot's Encyclopedia - the famous account of XVlll- century thought : " - You'II buy it, my son, and sit on it, to read " Candide ".

Jan 24, Piyangie rated it it was ok Shelves: french-lit. I don't know why I picked this up. I came across it while perusing Goodreads update feed and thought I'll give it a try. That seems all I could say about it. However, I'll give a summary for those who would be interested in reading the book. The story is about Candide and his journey through so many adventures and perils in the hope of being reunited with his love. The writing is full of satire and Voltaire's critic I don't know why I picked this up. The writing is full of satire and Voltaire's criticism against society, the governments of Europe, aristocrats, the philosophers, Christians, Jews, Muslims, poets, slavery, wars, and whatnot, can be seen throughout the story.

But unfortunately, the story didn't go well with me. I found it for the most part boring and nonsensical. There was satire alright, but its deliverance was at times unrefined. I don't know if that was due to the translation I read. I have had the same issue as to writing in many French translations I have read. Anyhow, I didn't enjoy it as much as I expected, but I'm glad that I managed to read it through. Mar 15, Sud rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , classics , philosophy. During the French Englightenment he was a renowned author of a multitude of books covering a wide array of topics from history to science.

But Voltaire is best known as a scathing satirist. His strong views on the established Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and separation of church and state caused him to become famous but also a controversial figure. This caused him to have to frequently change his country and led him through France to Great Britain and Prussia, eventually back to France. In he moved to Ferney near the Franco-Swiss border. It is here that he wrote his famous Candide, ou l'Optimisme Candide, the Optimist. First and foremost, I was struck by just how funny this is. The biting satire of Voltaire is non-stop and still has the capability to amuse centuries later. So we meet Candide, the Illegitimate son of the sister of the baron of Thunder-ten-Tronckh.

He is in love with Cunegonde, the Baron's daughter. Candide is tutored by Prof. Pangloss who practices Liebnizian philosophy optimism. Everything from the name of the German baron to Dr. Candide is driven out from the Baron's castle due to his love and what follows his his trials and tribulations as he travels around the world. It is the dry wit and Candide's attempts to balance his awful luck and circumstances with the philosophy of optimism that make this a wonderful tale. It is truly amazing wit, that still raises eyebrows today and must have been downright shocking in the late 's.

The style is like Douglas Adams in that the humor is nonstop. Sometimes it is obvious, as with the names of the characters, and other times its subtly placed in the text with phrases such as : " While it is funny, we must not forget to read what Voltaire says about the Church, religion, the nobility, etc. He manages to convey these messages without ever becoming preachy. Rather he cloaks these very serious issues in a comedic guise and that makes them even more stark. This is a book that one can read as a historical document that shows the mindset of one of the great French Enlightenment authors or just as a very funny work of fiction. Either way, this is a book well worth reading. The humor is obvious, even after all this time, and manages to make people laugh.

The sheer absurdity of the adventure and the variety of characters all some manner of parody make this a great tale. Highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good tale. View all 7 comments. Jan 29, Daniel Clausen rated it it was amazing Shelves: books-of Both books have a similar theme: life is random, often absurd; it defies our ability to use philosophy to make sense out of nonsense; and travel is the mechanism by which we discover the variability of this absurdity.

In this book, we also have a philosophical conversation: between pessimism and optimism. Throughout the book, philosophers themselves are depicted as the lowest form of life. Those who have mastered the art of getting by, without the impediment of metaphysics, do much better. Candide's schoolyard tutor Pangloss is the symbol of optimism -- and for it, he is submitted to all kinds of miseries slavery, syphilis, among others. Martin, the symbol of pessimism, a down and out academic, is not spared indignities but seems to come out of the tale much more unscathed. Perhaps because he suffered his pains before he meets Candide -- the pains that serve as the source of his pessimism.

One could argue that Martin actually isn't the opposite of Pangloss. He is, after all, a self-described Manichean, which means he believes in good and evil But for the most part, Candide treats Martin as Pangloss's opposite. And while poor Panglossian optimism often gets the worst of it throughout the tale, one could argue that that old pedant gets the last laugh in the end I read this book for the first time as a high school student, but didn't remember too much about it certainly not as much as I remember Hitchhiker's Guide.

This book is of great instructional value for youngsters. Instead of grand theories of life, we get a hilarious presentation of the school of "hard knocks". Poor Candide and his group are subjected to: robbery, theft, fraud, rape, war, religious persecution, overbearing bureaucracy, natural disaster, disease I'm sure I'm leaving a few things out. But an important theme during these trials is that the nonsense metaphysics of scholars and theologians often leave these characters more vulnerable than they otherwise would be.

And it is indeed lowly servants, who have themselves been through the school of hard knocks, who have superior advice for our adventurers. Thus, a practical lesson is to be had from this book: philosophy is good for entertainment, but if you wish to survive the vagaries of life, get yourself a compatriot or two who has experience with the hardships of life good practical experience Especially those that focus on issues of practical wisdom and life experience.

Oct 19, James rated it it was amazing Shelves: reads , translated-works , barrels-of-laughs. What challenges me there, constantly, is not letting my feelings get ahead of myself, though this book doesn't help matters. More to the point, I loved it. Candide , the little book that could and most definitely did if it caused so many highers-up then to clutch at their pearls in offended pride , goes for just under a hundred pages, but reads breezily as if it has half the amount. Voltaire, from the first word, hits the ground rocketing, wasting no time after introducing all the important characters in yeeting the titular one into one unlucky situation after another, each crazier than the last.

From governments and poets to doctors and playwrights, none escape unsoaked. Also, Voltaire was not above being a little retaliatory, as his loudest detractors from the Journal de Trevoux to Freron to Trublet, according to my footnotes found their way into the book to be his playthings. Translators can make or break even the best of foreign-language books, so I made sure to hunt down the best of them, who turned out to be Lowell Bair, for whom I can now wholeheartedly vouch. His translation is unobtrusive and pleasant to read, all that anyone requires, and that alone puts him ahead of the pack.

As for the book itself, can't praise it enough. Granted, aside from just the one where Pangloss meets the dervish and his door , there weren't many parts that made me laugh out loud as often as those in Pratchett and Bryson's books have. Yet I'm sensible-minded enough not to deduct points from Voltaire for so small an issue, as it really is so much more than a fishing attempt for laughs. With fast pacing, fleshed-out characters, and a zany story getting progressively zanier, Candide 's short, readable, and so much fun besides, but best of all: audacious.

These have been my candid thoughts. View 2 comments. The question of what makes the world 'best' and for whom that 'bestness' is reserved seems to me to be the core question of this book. If you can imagine a smooth blend of the Book of Job, Dante's Inferno, Cervantes' Don Quixote and Butler's Erewhon, with the addition of a heavy dollop of extra absurdity, you are getting close to the nature of Candide.

That absurdity is what makes the tale funny and without it, it would be an unpaletable concoction. There is a good deal of social and political satire, something I often find to be a little weak; it's easy to point and laugh, harder to say what might be better. Voltaire, does howe If you can imagine a smooth blend of the Book of Job, Dante's Inferno, Cervantes' Don Quixote and Butler's Erewhon, with the addition of a heavy dollop of extra absurdity, you are getting close to the nature of Candide. Voltaire, does however, offer some kind of alternative that he thinks is better than what he is lampooning, which is greatly to his credit. I suppose I should explain how Candide relates to the other works mentioned above: It's like Don Quixote in that the protagonist is frequently physically abused and this is used as broad humour and also in that the tale starts of as a rapid set of incidents and then slows down into some sort of coherent narrative.

This change being seen between parts one and two of Don Quixote. It is like the Inferno in that certain historical figures and Voltaire's contemporary enemies keep turning up in order to be lambasted. It is like Erewhon in that there is a visit to Eldorado, a mythical country which is used to highlight supposed social absurdities back in Europe, Erewhon does the same thing, though perhaps not in the same way: contrast is used in Candide, whereas transposition of ideas into other realms is used in Erewhon. As for the Book of Job, well, the frequency and extremity of misfortunes heaped on Candide bears a resemblence to those heaped on Job by Satan. Candide has a big advantage over all the works listed above: it's short.

This edition has on facing pages the original French and an English translation and is still not much more than p. The fact that it can cover such a broad territory in such a condensed space is impressive. It's an easy read, too - so I think you should read it. It should make you think as well as laugh. View all 9 comments. Comedy of disasters with a happy ending devoted to testing to destruction the notion that we live in the best of all possible worlds.

In order to do this the characters are repeatedly killed, injured and disadvantaged. In a fine move they take turns narrating their disasters to each other, until the old woman who was the illegitimate daughter of the a Pope managed to out do everyone with her story which culminates debatably in having one of her buttock cheeks eaten as an act of relative merc Comedy of disasters with a happy ending devoted to testing to destruction the notion that we live in the best of all possible worlds.

In a fine move they take turns narrating their disasters to each other, until the old woman who was the illegitimate daughter of the a Pope managed to out do everyone with her story which culminates debatably in having one of her buttock cheeks eaten as an act of relative mercy. Great fun. Fiction book with the theme of Irony, set about in the 's, man travels the world and is constantly unlucky.

Readers also enjoyed. About Voltaire. Jesuit-educated, he began writing clever verses by the age of He launched a lifelong, successful playwriting career in , interrupted by imprisonment in the Bastille. Upon a second imprisonment, in which Francois adopted the pen name Voltaire, he was released after agreeing to move to London. There he wrote Lettres philosophiques , which galvanized French reform. The book also satirized the religious teachings of Rene Descartes and Blaise Pascal, including Pascal's famed "wager" on God.

Voltaire wrote: "The interest I have in believing a thing is not a proof of the existence of that thing.

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