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Candide

Voltaire

Book Overview: 

Candide is a picaresque novel by the Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire. Voltaire never openly admitted to having written the controversial Candide; the work is signed with a pseudonym: “Monsieur le docteur Ralph”, literally “Mister Doctor Ralph.”Sardonic in outlook, it follows the naive protagonist Candide from his first exposure to the precept that “all is for the best in this, the best of all possible worlds,” and on through a series of adventures that dramatically disprove that precept even as the protagonist clings to it.The novel satirizes naive interpretations of the philosophy of Gottfried Leibniz and is a showcase of the horrors of the 18th century world. In Candide, Leibniz is represented by the philosopher Pangloss, the tutor of the title character. Despite a series of misfortunes and misadventures, which include being present at the Lisbon Earthquake, Pangloss continually asserts that “Tout est pour le mieux dans le meilleur des mondes possibles” (”All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds”). The novel ends with Candide finally rejecting the optimism espoused by Pangloss, saying, “Il faut cultiver notre jardin” (”It is necessary to cultivate our garden”).

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .St. Anthony of Padua, and the great St. James of Compostella, receive you under their protection. I shall be back to-morrow."

Candide, amazed at all he had suffered and still more with the charity of the old woman, wished to kiss her hand.

"It is not my hand you must kiss," said the old woman; "I shall be back to-morrow. Anoint yourself with the pomatum, eat and sleep."

Candide, notwithstanding so many disasters, ate and slept. The next morning the old woman brought him his breakfast, looked at his back, and rubbed it herself with another ointment: in[Pg 27] like manner she brought him his dinner; and at night she returned with his supper. The day following she went through the very same ceremonies.

"Who are you?" said Candide; "who has inspired you with so much goodness? What return can I make you?"

The good woman made no answer; she returned in the evening, but brought no supper.

"Come with me," she said, "and say n. . . Read More

Community Reviews

“If this is the best of possible worlds, what then are the others?”

If the world was created to drive us mad, as one character in "Candide" suggests, it is quite well suited for its purpose and running like a fine-tuned machine. If, on the other hand, everything is for the best in this best of pos...more

Slightly disappointed with the next-Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I took on this classic in one sitting.

&...

J***S!

Where has this one been all my life? I adore "Candide" because it is rife with adventure, it is a speedy read, and at the very end you experience a vortex of feelings and NOVEL concepts...more

I loved Candide! It is such a brilliant satire on the ideas observed through the glass of rosy eyed philosophy. “All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds”!!!

Candide, a young fellow, believes that whatever happens is for the best, courtesy his tutor Dr. Pangloss. The writing covers...more

panglossian - adj. characterized by or given to extreme optimism, especially in the face of unrelieved hardship or adversity. If an English word came from a book's character, that must be something. If the book was written and first published in the 18th century and many people still read it up...more

Zounds! This book is wildly entertaining and I giggled all the way through Candide's awful adventures. Who would have thought that murder, rape, slavery, sexual exploitation, natural disaster, pillaging, theft, and every other oppression imaginable could be so funny?

Here's some pretty good insigh...more

- Bonjour, M. Candide! Bienvenue au site Goodreads! Qu'en pensez-vous?

- It's OK, we can speak English. Pour encourager les autres, as one might say.

- Eh... super! I mean, good! So, what do you make of twenty-first century Britain?

- Vraiment sympathique! I am reading of your little scandale with t...more

"Candide" is an accessible masterpiece which demonstrated to the world Volatire's genius as a satirist. The eponymous Candide is a young man tutored by an optimist who is convinced according to the cause and effect philosophy of Leibniz and perhaps is best summarized in Voltaire's leitmotif that...more

Voltaire's novel introduces the reader to Candide, a wide-eyed, calm and slightly bland young gentleman who resides at Castle Westphalia and who believes in the philosophy that "everything in the world is for the best." One of the first scenes is filled with two emotional opposites for Candide wh...more

This is a truly hilarious satire which starts with poor Candide being kicked out of the castle where he was born and brought up, after he falls in love with the baron’s daughter, Cunegonde. Then his troubles begin, and he ends up travelling all around the world looking for his beloved.

Candide exp...more

I dedicate this review to my dear friend Roger, a writer of inspiring reviews. This is in great part in answer to your question: "Do you ever read anything light?"

Roger made me think: what major literature work, as nothing less would do!, that I read would fit the definition of light? Of course,...more

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