Candide (Bedford Series in History and Culture)

ISBN: 0312148542
ISBN 13: 9780312148546
By: Voltaire Daniel Gordon

Check Price Now


Classic Classics Favorites Fiction French Humor Literature Philosophy Satire To Read

About this book

Preserving the text's provocative nature, Daniel Gordon's translation amplifying the book's innuendo, enhancing its readability and highlighting the text's wit and satire for 20th-century readers. The introduction places the work and its author in historical context, showing students how the complexities of Voltaire's life relate to the events, philosophy and characters of Candide. A related documents section with personal correspondence to and from Voltaire is also translated by Gordon, and gives students another lens through which to view this influential thinker. Helpful editorial features include explanatory notes throughout the text, seven illustrations, a chronology of Voltaire's life, questions for consideration, a selected bibliography, and an index of key concepts.

Reader's Thoughts


If you are going to try this little satirical comic gem and masterpiece and key text of the French Enlightenment which sold like hot cakes in several European Capitals on its first appearance in Feb 1759, then buy one with footnotes.WHY?Because you will miss out on one of its pleasures - the historical events, customs and thought of the age to which the story refers. It just makes it more entertaining and enriching and you become one of the contemporaries for whom it was intended.Not that you need to imagine.Since this book had its origins in a disaster the like of which Europe had never before experienced - the Lisbon earthquake and tsunami of 1755 which claimed 20,000 victims!!!Sound familiar and too close for comfort???In Voltaire's time the prevailing optimistic philosophy of Leibniz and Alexander Pope that all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds was somewhat shattered and discredited by the Lisbon tragedy. The random chaos of existence with its attendant disconcerting Problem of Evil and the dubious Goodness of a Good God were suddenly uncomfortably thrust into the forefront of many minds."Candide" communicates this dreadful psychological burden with honesty and savage directness but with such a deft and amusing touch of style and language that we are usually left smiling, laughing, smirking during the most appalling events. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down - that is Voltaire's talent and legacy.

Hamid Hasanzadeh

صدها بار خواستم خودکشی کنم ولی همیشه زندگی را بیشتر دوست داشتم. این مرضِ مسخره، شاید از بدترین غرایز باشد؛ چیزی احمقانه تر از این هست که باری را که می توانی روی زمین بگذاری بر دوش بکشی یا در ترس و وحشت زندگی کنی و همواره با آن بچسبی یا ماری را نوازش کنی که تو را می بلعد تا قلبت را نیز بخورد؟در کاندید ، ولتر دیدگاه ساده لوحانه و خوش بینانه لایبنیتز، مبنی بر این که همه چیز در دنیا خوب است را ، به طرز زیرکانه ای زیر سوال می برد. کاندیدِ جوان که در قصر بارون زندگی می کند به گناه بوسه ای بر لبان دختر بارون، به دنیای خارج از قصر پرتاب می شود و آنچه از حقیقت زندگی در خارج می بیند را در مغایرت با آنچه می اَندیشید می یابد.این کتاب گنجینه ایست از حکمت ولتر و با این که حجم اندکی دارد اما سرشار است از معانی و مفهوم های فلسفی. طنز زیبا، شخصیت ها، دوری از اطناب و روده درازی همگی باعث می شوند که خواننده لذتی حقیقی از این رمان کوتاه ببرد.


I don't know quite how it happened, but this book has come up again and again over the past month. Though I read it in college and enjoyed it then, I had forgotten exactly what made Candide so brilliant.It's not the characters. Though, to be fair, the characters are remarkable. A hopelessly naive protagonist you feel tremendous sympathy for along with a remarkable cast of characters from nobles to ne'er do wells, priests to prostitutes, philosophers, fanatics and fiends connect you with Voltaire's world as easily as if they were standing around you.It's not the plot's absurdity. Though, to be honest, the silliness going from nobility to serfdom, from penury to largesse, from power and misery to anonymity and contentment, is so unconventional and unlike 90% of all the other novels in the world that each and every reader becomes enraptured by the unfolding events that though it's all absurd, it's also extremely real.It's Voltaire himself. The more you read the more you realize that he's peeking out from behind the pillars in the scenery, winking at you or whispering in your ear. Telling you what he really means and who he's really talking about. A long string of knowing jokes, and sly smiles creep off the page giving the reader an extra bit of insight into the novel, its historical context and the author himself.The characters, the absurdity, and the author himself. Three reasons to read it again and again. Three explanations as to why it keeps coming up year after year.


Humans really do have a great capacity to be miserable…I dare not propound any way with which to look at this piece of writing – I’m hardly equipped to do so. I just want to say that I greatly enjoyed reading this. The circumstances and twists in the fates of all the characters were so fantastical as to be probable, unbelievable enough to be actually quite possible.In the center of it all is the hugely naïve, pitifully gullible, but steadfastly noble and generous Candide. Through this character’s experiences – mostly dismal – the author explores (among other things) questions on the nature of humanity: are people inherently good but are later inevitably corrupted? Or is it the other way around? What is the root and extent of misery? Is there such a thing as real happiness and contentment? And is it worth believing at all in the ‘goodness’ of human beings?Through it all, Candide’s exploits are narrated in a quirky, dryly ridiculous, and even slightly phantasmagoric way. The personas he meets along the way reveal to him the nuances of human behavior – there are those whose optimism cannot be shaken; others who take pleasure in being critical of everything in life; and others still who manage to hold onto a threadbare shred of strength amidst seemingly reprehensible fates.Moralistic without remonstrative. Subtly witty underneath all the silly twists and turns. Truly a remarkable piece of work.


While fruitlessly searching for something decent to read, I invariably come across a ton of acclaim for total hacks being labeled as ‘master satirists’. 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. For each of these books, there should be a simple label affixed to the front cover that reads ‘Not As Good As Candide’. I seriously think this would alleviate about 30% of all my unresolved issues with the public’s perception of what makes for decent reading. The other 70% could be resolved by making major overhauls to a universal ‘required reading’ list: The Great Gatsby, eh….let’s just toss that crap out and put Cosmos on there, how about actually learning something while you read? I’m not about to give Candide a perfect score, and I don’t think that it deserves one, but I will say that it’s damn good. It seems that some of the popular philosophy making the rounds back in Francois-Marie’s day was just rubbing him wrong, especially the absolutely moronic concept that we live in ‘the best of all possible worlds’. 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). Our hero, Candide, is a naive youth being reared in the castle of a Westphalian Baron, living the good life while being tutored by a total fraud and hack named Pangloss, the Baron’s oracle/scholar. The only hindrance in the life of our featherbedded little friend is that his love interest, Cunogonde, happens to be the Baron’s vivacious 17-year old daughter, and the Baron isn’t about to have his daughter betrothed to some chump lacking the amount of noble ancestry suitable to his standards. The soothing, silver tongue of Pangloss has made an indelible mark on Candide, however, and when the opportunity arises to plant a surreptitious smooch on Cunegonde, he’s busted in the act and driven from the castle “when the Baron saluted Candide with some notable kicks on the rear”. That’s just hilarious, 'notable kicks', and there’s something this appealing on basically every page to follow: as this is only just the beginning; the first misfortune to befall our thick-skulled friend, Candide. Each successive f--king he suffers along the way is not only totally hilariously described in an absurd fashion, but is usually resolved in awesomely unreal turns of fate (I don’t think I could make it more than five pages without either cracking a smile or outright laughing for all the right reasons). The Baron’s castle is sacked by Bulgarians following Candide’s exile, setting the lively and luscious Cunegonde in flight from Westphalia as well, and one unfortunate event after another befalls both lovers; with Candide’s life quickly becoming filled with floggings, poverty, the Inquisition. natural disasters, piracy, and getting pimp-jacked as a result of some devious manipulation, while his beloved is reduced to harlotry, being ravished or ravaged, and unbecoming servitude at the hands of her completely offensive captors and suitors. Wow. It probably isn’t the best book you’ll ever read, but I'd be pretty shocked to find out it wasn't even enjoyed.

علي الفقير

أعظم أعمال فولتير كما هو معترف به في أواننا. رواية فلسفية تغوص في الخيال بزعانف أحداث حقيقية حصلت في منتصف القرن الثامن عشر. الطابع الساخر والتهكمي لفولتير يظهر فيها بوضوح. ينتقد فيها فولتير بسخرية شديدة نظرية الفيلسوف ليبينتز في التفاؤل Optimism وأن كل شيء إنما وُجد على أحسن ما يكون.يصف خروج كنديد من سرايا عمه البارون كخروج آدم من جنة عدن. ويصف إلدرادو كأنها الجنة الموعودة والتي لما ينلها بشر. ثم يصل إلى حقيقة أن علينا زرع جنتنا بأيدينا في آخر الرواية. كما لم يفوت الفرصة في نقد الاستبداد السياسي والديني في زمانه بسياط من السخرية والتهكم.ترجمة أ. عادل زعيتر جميلة جداً ولم تخل بالمعنى كثيراً، لكنها لا تخلو من صعوبة بسبب استخدامه لبعض الألفاظ الغريبة نوعاً ما على غير المختصين والمهتمين بالأدب العربي.

mai ahmd

من الأدب الساخر بطلها يدعى كانديدوترجمتها حسب ما قرأت هي الساذج تقوم الرواية على فكرة أن العالم ملىء بالشر وإن الإنسان عليه أن لا يسرف بالتفاؤل ولعلها فعلا كما ظن جاك جان روسو كانت الرد على رسالته التي وجهها إلى فولتير والتي تنتقد النظرة التشاؤمية التي يكتب بها فولتير وإن كان يظن أن فولتير لم يطلع على تلك الرسالة مع إن كل الدلائل تشير لعكس ذلك ، ينتقد فولتير هذا العالم الممتلىء بالقسوة فالكل في هذه الرواية يبدو شريرا .. كما إنه لا توجد قوانين أخلاقية تجمع بين البشر ..بل المنفعة والأنانية والسلطة المتوحشة التي لا تأبه لأي قانون ما تعرّض له شخوص الرواية من مصائر مروعة خلال رحلات النجاة كان طريفا وإن لم يتوجب ذلك أعني أن تضحك في عز مأساة أحدهم لذلك يبدو وكأن استخدام روح الدعابة التي مرت عبر النص بأكمله أمرا غير مستساغا لكن فولتير يخلق الطرافة لأن الرواية أريد لها أن تكون ساخرة لتعبر الخطوط الحمراء ..ربط فولتير الأفكار والقضاياالتي يريد تمريرها ببعض العبارات الفلسفية ..ومن خلال الجمع ما بين هذا وذاك فولتير ينتقد ما تفعله الحروب وما يولده التعصب الديني ، والعنف والعبودية ..شخصيتان في الرواية تمثلان صفتين نقيضتين في الحياة التفاؤل والتشاؤم التفاؤل ممثلا في شخصية بانجلوس الفيلسوف وهو معلم كانديد ، التشاؤم يمثله مارتن رفيق إحدى رحلاته ، في الوقت الذي كان الفيلسوف يرى أن مهما حدثت هناك من مصائب فإن ..الأمور لا زالت على مايرام وهي فكرة تثير الغيط وتجعلك تود أن تشد شعركبينما يسيطر على مارتن القلق ويسرف في التشاؤم المثير للحزن.. فهو دائما لايرى أي مخرج وكل الطرق تؤدي إلى لا مكان يبدو فولتير ساخرا من كلا الموقفين .. وفي النهاية يدعو فولتير لتحسين العالم من خلال بذل المزيد من الجهد ( لنزرع حديقتنا )في الوقت الذي تشعر فيه الخادمة العجوز بالملل من الوضع الجديد وتظن أن كل ما مر بهم من ويلات لهو أفضل من هذه الحياة الباردة التي قررها كانديد استخدم فولتير أسلوب المبالغة في الحدث لتبدو الشخصيات أقرب للكاريكاتورية التي تضخم أنف أو فم أو تكبر رأس .. مما يذكرني برواية جوستين للماركيز دو ساد والتي كان تُضرب بالسوط أينما إتجهت وتتعرض للإيذاء وهذه المبالغة لا تختلف عنها المبالغة في الأحداث في عالم كانديدفتجد كانديد يبكي على وفاة الفيلسوف أو وفاة حبيبته لكنهما يعودان للظهور وكأن شيئا لم يحدث لهم .. إلا أن الفرق شاسع في الهدف من هذه المبالغة بكل بساطة فولتير كان يود أن يقول : كيف يمكن أن نتجاهل كل هذا الشر والقتل الفساد والعبوديةونقول أن الأمور مازالت على ما يرام !ومع كل الأفكار التنويرية التي طرحها فولتير غير أني لا أحب الأدب الساخر ثلاث نقاط فقط :(


I found this a very difficult read since intellectually I could see the argument and the satire but emotionally the images were so graphic that it was hard to get through all of the traumatic events that occurred. I also felt the actual flow of writing was off.Having said that I think Voltaire successfully used satire to show that many of the new philosophies of his day (and which continue today) did not correlate with reality. That a theory on paper might have looked reasonable but in practical application failed.It is amazing how even though the world has changed dramatically in the last 250 years the cynicism against public officials and powerful church leaders still remains. That the disconnect between those in academia that fail to connect with the people or issues they study continues to be a criticism. The desire for people to think for themselves and grow in their experiences.


- 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 the expenses of the Houses of Parliament. It is a great moment for la démocratie. Now there will be des élections, the people will be able to choose better representatives, we will see that the country has become stronger as a result...- So really it was a good thing?- Oh, of course, all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds!- What? Including, I don't know, the Iraq War?- Absoluement! It is similar. If M. Bush had not started this very unpopular war, then the American voters would never have decided to choose M. Obama, who you can see is the best possible président you could have at this moment très difficile de l'histoire...- But I think they chose him, more than anything else, because of the economic meltdown?- Bien sûr, the war on its own would not have been enough, la crise économique also was necessary. All is for the best!- M. Candide, you think that global warming and the impending collapse of the world's climate is also for the best?- Mais, ça se voit! Because of the global warming, la science et la technologie will be forced to make new avances, people in all countries will start to work together, and we will enter a new golden age. Soon it will be as in El Dorado, that I visited once in l'Amerique du Sud...- Um. So I suppose that the spread of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, genocide in Rwanda and Rush Limbaugh are also good things when you look at them from the right angle?- Evidement! First, le SIDA. By making drug companies and researchers focus on...- No, wait. Forget AIDS. What about Stephenie Meyer? Is she a good thing too?- Eh... oui... non... this book, Fascination... how do you say, "Twilight"... alors. If only my dear Doctor Pangloss was here, he could explain to you...


كنديد "فولتير "رواية جميلة تحتوي علي جدال فلسفي عميق حول أصل الشر وطبيعه الروح و النظام المقدر.فهو يسأل "هل الكون في حالته هذه هو أفضل ما يمكن أن يكون أم أن الإنسان قد مد إليه يدالأفساد والتخريب. وما هو السبب وراء خلق حيوان عجيب كالإنسان؟؟؟ويجيب فولتير بحسم علي هذه التساؤلات من خلال "كنديد" بطل القصه الذي جاب الأرض في رحلة مليئة بالآلآم والعذاب والتعذيب بحثآ عن محبوبته التي كانت سبب نكبته الاولي فهي أبنة البارون بألمانيا وعند علم أبوها بحب "كنديد " لها وهو الأبن الغير شرعي لأخت البارون ماكان منه غير ضربه وطرده من القصر ونكبته الثانيه عندما علم بقتلها بعد إغتصابها علي أيدي الغزاة الفرنسيين ولكنه يكتشف أنها لاتزال علي قيد الجياة ويقرر البحث عنها بعد أن علم أنها أخذت سبيه وتنتقل من مكان لأخر بأوروبا وأفريقيا.وخلال الرحلة يتوصل إلي الحقيقة الأكيدة أن ردآ علي ان كل شئ جعل علي أحسن ما يكون أن لابد من أن يكون الناس أفسدوا في الطبيعة وذلك لأنهم لم يولدوا ذئابآ فصاروا ذئابآ ,ولم يعطهم الرب مدافع ولم يعطهم الرب حرابآ, فصنعوا مدافع وحرابآ ليبيد بعضهم بعضآ."وأن الإنسان لم يولد للراحة وأن العمل كما قيل علي لسان الفيلسوف يدفع عنا ثلاثة شرور كبيرة "السأم والرذيلة والعوز"وقال مقولته الشهيرة :"يجب أن تُزرع حديقتنا "رواية جميلة تستحق القراءةمن أجمل وصف للحياةالذي قرأته فيها:" بلغ الشيطان من شدة التدخل في شئون هذا العالم ما يمكن أن يوجد معه في جسمي كما يوجد في أي مكان آخر ,ولكنني أعترف لك بأنني ,إذ ألقي نظرة علي هذه الكرة أو الكرية ,أري الرب قد تركها لبعض الموجودات الشريرة ,فلم أر, قط, مدينة لم ترغب في خراب المدينة المجاورة لها , ولم أر, قط, أسرة لا تريد استئصال أسر أخري, وفي كل مكان يلعن الضعفاء الاقوياء الذين يزحفون أمامهم, ويعاملهم الاقوياء كقطاع يباع صوفها ولحمها, وتجد مليون قاتل مدرب يجوب طرفي البلاد ويمارس القتل وقطع الطرق بنظام كسبآ لعيشه وذلك لأنه لم ير حرفه أصلح من هذه, ويفترس الناس في المدن التي يلوح تمتعها بالسلم والتي تزدهر في العلوم حسد وهموم وقلق أشد من البلايا التي تعانيها مدينة محاصرة , ثم إن الكروب الخفية أقسي من المصائب الظاهرة , ولذلك أنا أري أن الخير والشر يتساويان قوة فيتنازعان الكون"وفي وصفه عن الأنسان وما آل أليه:"أتعتقد أن الناس كانوا يتذابحون كما يصنعون اليوم؟وهل كانوا في كل وقت كاذبين مداجين مخادعين جاحدين سارقين واهين طائشين خسيسين حاسدين شرهين سكيرين بخلاء طمعاء سفاكين مفترين فاسقين متعصبين منافقين أغبياء ؟"أو تعتقد أن البيزان في كل وقت تأكل الحمام حيثما تجدها؟أجل ,لا ريبوالآن إذاكانت البيزان تتصف بذات الطبع دائما فلم تريد أن يغير الناس طبعهم؟

Lorenzo Berardi

Hilarious! And yet deep in its own way.One of the very few books on the so called "philosophy" I've been able to digest. I've literally devoured Candide when I was 16. And then I've read it again, with double pleasure and double laughing. Besides, thanks to Voltaire I've discovered that Leibniz is not only a biscuit.This book is suggested to everyone who wants to look at his/her life in a better way while in a difficult period. Don't worry guys: whatever your troubles are, Candide's ones are worst! Do you think you've got bad luck? Read at Candide!

Jan Rice

I found Candide to be somewhat tiresome. After a few of the reversals in fortune suffered by the protagonists, I began to lose track. It was all over-the-top. Although Voltaire reportedly wrote it in a three-day inspired spurt of creativity, he could have just as well done it in half the time and at half the length, as far as I was concerned. At the same time, I know the book is important historically and would have been far from tiresome in its day, hence the third star. I'd been reading about Voltaire so when the audio fell into my hands, listening seemed like a good thing to do. The text version is readily available online, too.The map was originally included in the souvenir program from Leonard Bernstein's Candide, which premiered in 1956. I found the image on Bing, taken from a Manitoba Opera brochure. Maybe a dramatic performance would have brought the work to life for me! The introduction by Philip Littell says that nobody but Wordsworth has ever been bored by Candide, so I'm the second. Littell also suggests that at a later point in history, something other than war and mayhem would have been the subject of Voltaire's satire--maybe poverty. Well, duh.Prior to the Protestant Reformation, the mantra in Europe had been "one faith, one law, one king," according to Jerry Muller, the author of the book on capitalism I'm still working on. That didn't change immediately, as there was no concept of religious pluralism. It was still the role of the king to maintain "true religion," only now there were a number of religious groups maintaining that theirs had the truth. For that reason, there had been two centuries of civil war in Europe. People were worn out with mayhem. That gave rise to Enlightenment thinking regarding shrinking the role of the church(es) in civil affairs, and that is how an intellectual such as Voltaire came to be royally roasting religion. Anticlericalism remained a lifelong theme for him.According to Muller, Voltaire was more a publicist than an originator of Enlightenment ideas. He also participated in the market for ideas. In his day times were changing; it was no longer just rulers whom the philosophes, or public intellectuals, had to influence, but they were beginning to impact public opinion as well. Some of Voltaire's works were bought directly by the public, though not enough to support him in the style to which he wanted to become accustomed.I think that early in the rise of civil society and the market economy, some of its proponents were convinced that the rising wave of change from the prior feudal way of life was going to be once and forever change that was going to end all the problems of the world and be the answer to "life, the universe, and everything." From a static and controlled world in which everything was made to stay in its assigned place forever and ever, the benign operations of self-interest in the marketplace would automatically lead to well-being and tolerance. Thus, for Voltaire, it was time to poke holes in all the old ways, the better for the new to emerge. Just as, after the fall of the Soviet Union, some were expecting "the end of history," Voltaire was expecting things to be fixed once and for all--once the influence of religion and, in his view, other hypocrisies had been blocked and the reflexive war-making to forcibly save the souls of one's neighbors stopped, and once money had been destigmatized. Perhaps such an expectation wasn't unreasonable considering the fact that it was a major paradigm shift from the interminable medieval point of view.Voltaire took the self-interest meme to heart and participated in many financial ventures himself, including a number of fraudulent and illegal ones. At one point France was having to use a lottery system to repay its debts, and Voltaire collaborated with a mathematician to beat the system and make a killing. Another venture was lending money to the nobility in return for lifelong annual payments to him; he was always complaining about his health, which might have made his debtors think they wouldn't have to be paying him for too many more years, but he ended up living to the ripe old age of 84. According to Muller, he became one of the richest commoners in Europe. Although Voltaire was all for everyone getting along in the marketplace, he resorted to traditional anti-Jewish stereotypes, in part to distance himself and distract attention from his financial shenanigans. Generally speaking, a lot of the commercial and financial avenues opening up during the Enlightenment years had in fact been those previously linked to Jews.Early on in his public life, Voltaire intimated that the French Regent was indulging in an incestuous relationship, for which sentiment he went to the Bastille. After being released, he insulted a member of the nobility, who, instead of dealing personally with a man of low birth, had two servants beat him. Incensed, Voltaire took up swordsmanship to try and force the noble into a duel, resulting in his having to flee to England to avoid returning to prison. I think he was an early example of celebrity, considering his energy, his public impact, his intellect, and his behavior problems. But I came up short regarding what modern celebrity would have a role anything like his. Mick Jagger? In his other work, Voltaire did a great deal to help the public understand the changes that were occurring. He was an enthusiast for the ongoing experiment in change and had his admirers, even if his reputation was soiled at times among his supporters.For my information on Voltaire other than in the book's introduction, I relied on a lecture from Odyssey of the West V: A Classic Education through the Great Books: Enlightenment, Revolution, and Renewal as well as on the chapter on Voltaire in The Mind and the Market: Capitalism in Western Thought.Francois-Marie Arouet, pen name Voltaire, 1694-1778July 8, 2014: Here's a comic strip that I think captures Voltaire's notion of "self-interest," which he carried a tad too far. WuMo, today's date

David Wallace Fleming

I really like Candide. I've only read it once, however, it really resonated with me. That was several years ago and for the longest time I've been trying to figure exactly why I liked this book so much. This book is a rule breaker. One of the first rules of fiction, of course, is: "Don't lecture your audience!" This book is one, 94-page lecture. It's extremely disjointed in place, time and action, ignoring these classical unities without so much as a second thought. It's themes set-up a collision course between the commoner and the aristocrat. And to that a mix of gritty realism, historic allusion and fantasy and you've got a whole lot packed into those brief pages. You get the sense while reading this that Voltaire did what he wanted while writing and had fun while doing it. I would argue that the success of this novella rests upon it's countermining of the Poetic's Unities of action, place and time. He covers an enormous amount of time, places and events to support his thesis.

Ellen Adkins

I absolutely loved this book. It was unexpectedly quirky and funny, yet had heart and depth to it. Voltaire definitely takes you on an adventure as you follow the escapades of young and naïve Candide as he learns and discovers the harsh realities of the world. Riddled with tragedy and loss, this book is definitely for somebody who can appreciate dark humor, possibly bordering on morbid. This story is truly timeless, a tale that can cross centuries yet still be relevant. The thing that I enjoyed most about this book was how deep it actually was. Yes, on the surface, it is a wild tale full of humor and silly situations, yet there is a darkness and sadness that I found as well. It was the good kind of sadness, if you know what I mean. Pangloss has taught Candide his entire life that “all is for the best”. While this philosophy may seem all good and well, I think it was detrimental to Candide in the end. This excessive optimism actually gave way to sadness when I realized that Candide was living in complete denial about his life and the horrible, albeit comical, situations he found himself in. This sadness stuck with me… not enough to make me not want to read the book or not enjoy it, but just enough to make me think about the importance of reality and coming to terms with what is happening around me. It really stuck with me and made me think for quite some time after reading the story.


This book was able to reach me on a very personal level. I realized that I am Candide, and have shared the same extreme optimistic outlook on life, which at times has been to my detriment. The problem being that Optimism in the extreme can easily become naivete. It is another form of denial and the unwillingness to accept some of the harshness of reality. This is a silly story of fortune and misfortune full of satirical ideological dialogues as Candide searches for some meaning or purpose to all of it. I can easily relate as I have engaged in many of the same debates as well as attempting to make sense out of the apparently meaningless. It is also interesting to see how well Candide holds onto his worldviews despite numerous misfortunes that almost convince him otherwise. In the end his views are finally tamed as he realizes that manual labor is the only cure to both life's blessings and curses. It fascinated me that he also tried holding onto the idea of "True Love" through the story. He felt like if he could only be re-united with his beloved Cunegonde all would be well again. She was elevated and put on a pedestal almost like a personal savior of all of Candide's troubles and sorrows. That reuniting with her would cure all his problems. How often and sad does this story play itself out again and again in the lives of countless millions who endeavor on a quest for "True Love". This search for a personal savior is why love has its romantic side. We pin our hopes and dreams onto another person. Ultimately everyone will fail each other because no one can live up to another persons dreams, the illusion crumbles and the reality sets in. After his incredibly long journey to be reunited with his supposed love, Candide realizes after marrying her that she is barely tolerable and nothing like he had hoped, but the momentum of his conviction carried him through and into the marriage. Now, many may venture to say that Candide simply married the wrong woman in his deluded state, but I don't know if I would agree with that. I think it wouldn't matter who he married, the way he built them up to being the center of his life would have made any woman the "wrong" woman. It isn't her, its him. Love isn't something that you put conditions on, otherwise it just isn't love. If one makes love something that someone has to be "qualified" for like some job application, then it is more about preference or taste. Unfortunately Candide doesn't come to that same conclusion, instead he accepts his lot and resigns himself to it.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *