Candide (Bedford Series in History and Culture)

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

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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.


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.

David Lentz

"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 human beings live in the "best of all possible worlds." Alexander Pope rather laughably made the same outrageous claim in his "Essay on Man" in which he writes, "Everything that is is right." How can this be so, you may well ask? Here is the nut of the problem: it seems that a perfect God has created a highly imperfect world. How can a good, omnipotent, loving God create a world in which so much catastrophic evil exists and which is so often allowed even to thrive? It is a question for the ages. Theologians argue that God created mankind with free will and without it they would simply be puppets without the freedom to make choices. Theologians also point out that the majority of the evil resident in our world is perpetuated on vast masses of humanity by other human beings, not God, and that evil is the cause and effect of conflicting self-interests imposed by people with more power upon the less powerful. But this point doesn't explain why a loving, all-powerful God would allow any of it to exist and endure. Why not cast down all the devils and give his human creatures a perfect garden, a paradise on earth, without snakes anywhere? Why did God create the serpent in the Garden of Eden in the first place? Voltaire, like Rousseau, was an avid gardener and Voltaire jests at Rousseau's good faith in the "Confessions" as if the latter were simply a country bumpkin. But gardens have a great deal of meaning in "Candide" as in, for example, Milton's "Paradise Lost" or "Genesis" and are thematically significant for Voltaire who concludes that gardens are, after all, a wise place to reside out of harm's way. Voltaire absolutely skewers the optimistic cause and effect of Pope and Leibniz with a catalog of tragicomic catastrophes which plague not only Candide and Pangloss but all of mankind infinitely. Consider the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 which burst suddenly out of nowhere with all its raging fires and tidal waves to destroy nearly all of the city and the ships in its harbor. Is there no end even to the great catastrophes in which man has no hand but from which we are compelled to suffer except for God's grace? Voltaire's vivid and piercing wit is hilarious as he brazenly brings parody to places high and low, near and far, rich and poor to depict our world as the ultimate dystopia. In his novel Candide can only find a semblance of happiness in El Dorado, a rich, hidden world in South America: in other words, happiness in real life can only be found in a utopia without a basis for reality. So what are we to deduce about Candide? Is he a sometimes violent fool for all his naivete? And is Pangloss not a buffoon who earns his suffering so extensively at every turn of the road for his unjustified, unbridled optimism? Or are they heroic for their optimism despite the epic disasters that nearly devastate them time after time. Or is their fate really just the human condition and are they both just being all too human? You decide. In the course of your reading of this brief novel you may discover, as I did, that the optimists are constantly challenged by the gap between their optimism and reality, and that the pessimists are doomed to be the unhappiest people on the planet because they cannot imagine a world without misery and, thereby, create it for themselves wherever it doesn't really already exist. Take your pick of perspectives as a "free" human being and challenge your own assumptions about the human condition. Clearly, Balzac would seem to agree with his compatriot, Voltaire, that whatever you make of life on this earth, surely it is no less than an epic human comedy. At least in this life, thankfully, if you can stand back far enough, there is, God knows, no end to the laughter of the human condition.


Non so spiegare le emozioni e le sensazioni che questo libro mi ha dato.Racconta la storia di Candido che lungo la sua vita vive diverse peripezie in tutti i luoghi in cui si reca, dal Portogallo all'Olanda alla Francia fino a giungere a Venezia. Il mondo che ci descrive Voltaire e con il quale Candido entra in contatto è un mondo di supplizi, di massacri, di pene corporali che contrasta nettamente con il concetto di Pangloss, il suo precettore: "Questo è il migliore dei mondi possibili". A contraltare tutto ciò, c'è un luogo, El Dorado, un luogo irraggiungibile, una sorta di non luogo, in cui tutto è pacifico, dove domina la comprensione e la tolleranza, un'utopia. Candido" è un romanzo mai banale, mai noioso, in cui nonostante i massacri, gli sventramenti, ogni tanto c'è un piccolo barlume di luce, che solo noi abbiamo il compito di cercare, sempre e comunque.


CANDIDE or 'Optimism' refers to the eighteenth-century doctrine of Optimism expoused by Gottfried Leibniz in "Theodicy" written in 1710. Optimism is an attempt to answer the theological question, "Why is there evil in the world?" With an all powerful, all knowing, all loving supreme being, how can evil flourish? Leibniz says evil and misfortune have a purpose and are necessary in this best of all possible worlds. Acceptance and inaction are underlying themes is his pronouncement.Francois-Marie Arounet (Voltaire) lost his fragil belief in optimism in 1755 when an earthquake, tsunami and fire leveled Lisbon, Portugal killing sixty-thousand people. Voltaire set about refuting optimism in a prapagandist satirical book (written in three days) that has universal appeal. Voltaire's philosophy is "we must tend our gardens" eliminating the weeds of greed, lust, and vice. Realizing that life is complete with the highs and lows, the good and bad, we must actively ward off the evils instead of accepting them. Subjectively we are responsible for naming the virtues and the vices without relying on the judgments of the Church.These beliefs are played out in just over one hundred pages with Candide as our guide, Pangloss and Martin as prophets, and Cunegonde as his muse. This romp from Europe to South America to Turkey challenges the accepted beliefs with the Enlightenment's illumination of realism and reason over idealism and unquestioning faith.Some say Voltaire's renderings in over two-thousand letters, essays and books foreshadow modern man. That is recommendation enough!


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 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. The Eighteenth, however, has Fielding, Swift, Voltaire, and Pope. 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.

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!


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 insight from the old woman with one buttock:"I have been a hundred times upon the point of killing myself, but still I was fond of life. This ridiculous weakness is, perhaps, one of the dangerous principles implanted in our nature. For what can be more absurd than to persist in carrying a burden of which we wish to be eased? to detest, and yet to strive to preserve our existence? 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 can try to remain optimistic and rationalize that the horrors we witness are all a part of some plan but the choice to keep on living is a truly irrational one given all of the evidence available for us to consider. We go on living against our better judgment and in spite of all of our misery. It is what we were born to do."'You lack faith,' said Candide.'It is because,' said Martin, 'I have seen the world.'"


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.


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؟

Robert Delikat

After a number of unspecified decades, I reread this classic and moved it from 4 to 5 stars. I do not even remember this book being as great as I now think that it is. The book is hilarious and, given when it was written, centuries ahead of its time.

Alice Poon

In reading this review, please be warned that I have only limited knowledge of philosophy. I'm just going to record what I was able to grasp. The moral of the story would appear to be that since there is a limitless amount of unpredictable chaos in life, much of which is catastrophic, evil and wretched, be they man-made (like rape, war, massacre, plague, religious intolerance) or from force majeure (like earthquake, shipwreck), that one can be easily tempted to give up all hope on mankind, but that despair is not the answer.The author takes the protagonist Candide from place to place, putting him through the most horrible ordeals in order to make him see the falsity in the philosophical thinking mode of his teacher Dr. Pangloss, which is unadulterated optimism no matter how dire the situation is. In the end, Candide has seen too much absurdity and pain in life and evil in people to still believe in Pangloss's theory. But neither does that mean life is not worth living. Candide has come to learn that humans by nature have a penchant for living, no matter how harrowing life is (as the old woman who has survived unspeakable atrocities says, 'A hundred times I wanted to kill myself, but still I loved life!'). So perhaps some measure of deprivation and evil is actually beneficial, because it gives purpose and contrast to life. Besides, too much comfort and complacency only breeds boredom and lethargy (like the rich Venetian nobleman Pococurante who has everything but shows no interest in anything). Candide finally comes to the conclusion that "we must cultivate our garden", meaning that despite all, we should all strive to develop our own individual talent for our own good and the good of society.I rather like the uplifting conclusion. I just feel that in terms of philosophical notion, it sounds a bit like Albert Camus's absurdism and revolt.

Helvry Sinaga

"Semua hal tidak bisa menjadi lain daripada sebagaimana adanya mereka. Itu karena semuanya dibuat untuk suatu tujuan tertentu, maka semua haruslah dimaksudkan untuk tujuan terbaik." Pangloss(Hlm 3-4)"tidak ada akibat tanpa suatu sebab." Pangloss (Hlm 3)Buku ini berjudul asli Candide, ou L’optimisme yang diterbitkan pada tahun 1759. Berarti sudah lebih 250 tahun usia karya ini. Ada 30 Bab dalam buku ini. Sebenarnya dengan membaca judul-judul bab ini, kita dapat mengetahui isinya secara umum. Sebab judul babnya sudah menjelaskan apa dan bagaimana tokoh-tokoh tersebut berkisah. Saya lebih suka dalam Bahasa Inggris, karena untuk terjemahannya, pemaknaannya jadi berbeda. Lebih lengkap judul bab tersebut dalam bahasa inggris adalah sebagai berikut.Chapter 1 - How Candide Was Brought Up in a Magnificent Castle and How He Was Driven ThenceChapter 2 - What Befell Candide among the BulgariansChapter 3 - How Candide Escaped from the Bulgarians and What Befell Him AfterwardChapter 4 - How Candide Found His Old Master Pangloss Again and What Happened to HimChapter 5 - A Tempest, a Shipwreck, an Earthquake, and What Else Befell Dr. Pangloss, Candide, and James, the AnabaptistChapter 6 - How the Portuguese Made a Superb Auto-De-Fe to Prevent Any Future Earthquakes, and How Candide Underwent Public FlagellationChapter 7 - How the Old Woman Took Care Of Candide, and How He Found the Object of His LoveChapter 8 - Cunegund's StoryChapter 9 - What Happened to Cunegund, Candide, the Grand Inquisitor, and the JewChapter 10 - In What Distress Candide, Cunegund, and the Old Woman Arrive at Cadiz, and Of Their EmbarkationChapter 11 - The History of the Old WomanChapter 12 - The Adventures of the Old Woman ContinuedChapter 13 - How Candide Was Obliged to Leave the Fair Cunegund and the Old WomanChapter 14 - The Reception Candide and Cacambo Met with among the Jesuits in ParaguayChapter 15 - How Candide Killed the Brother of His Dear CunegundChapter 16 - What Happened to Our Two Travelers with Two Girls,Two Monkeys, and the Savages, Called OreillonsChapter 17 - Candide and His Valet Arrive in the Country of ElDorado-What They Saw ThereChapter 18 - What They Saw in the Country of El DoradoChapter 19 - What Happened to Them at Surinam, and How Candide Became Acquainted with MartinChapter 20 - What Befell Candide and Martin on Their PassageChapter 21 - Candide and Martin, While Thus Reasoning with Each Other, Draw Near to the Coast of FranceChapter 22 - What Happened to Candide and Martin in FranceChapter 23 - Candide and Martin Touch upon the English Coast-What They See ThereChapter 24 - Of Pacquette and Friar GirofleeChapter 25 - Candide and Martin Pay a Visit to Seignor Pococurante, a Noble VenetianChapter 26 - Candide and Martin Sup with Six Sharpers-Who They WereChapter 27 - Candide's Voyage to ConstantinopleChapter 28 - What Befell Candide, Cunegund, Pangloss, Martin, etc.Chapter 29 - What Manner Candide Found Miss Cunegund and the Old Woman AgainChapter 30 - Conclusion Apa yang menarik dari novel ini adalah, Voltaire ingin menumbangkan suatu falsafah pada zamannya yang mengatakan bahwa semua bencana dan penderitaan manusia adalah bagian dari rencana kosmis yang baik hati. Untuk itu, ia menggunakan tokoh Candide yang berkeliling ke seluruh dunia untuk membuktikan bahwa pandanganitu tidaklah demikian. Apa yang menjadi keyakinan masyarakat pada saat novel ini ditulis?Pada saat itu berkembang suatu pemahaman bahwa "ini adalah bentuk terbaik dari semua kemungkinan yang ada di dunia." Voltaire ingin menunjukkan bahwa betapa banyak juga ketidakadilan dan kebodohan yang sebenarnya terjadi di dunia nyata. Ia memberi sasaran pada perbudakan, ketidaktoleransian beragama, dan kezaliman. Voltaire menyimpulkan bahwa setiap orang memiliki kecenderungan untuk melakukan hal itu di "kebun sendiri" dan meninggalkan (orang) lainnya untuk melakukan hal serupa. Apa yang dimaksud dengan Filosofi Optimism?Pada saat itu optimisme adalah sistem filsafat yang percaya segala sesuatu sudah merupakan yang terbaik, tidak peduli seberapa mengerikan tampaknya. optimist philosophy dipopulerkan oleh Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz. Voltaire mengkritik paham yang terkenal dengan optimisme tersebut dalam Candide. Peristiwa gempa bumi di Lisbon, Portugal pada tahun 1755, menjadi bukti Voltaire untuk mengkritik "in the best of all possible worlds". Rumor yang berkembang di Eropa saat itu dinilai melebih-lebihkan keadaan yang sebenarnya. Enam menit gempa (dan disertai tsunami) itu menewaskan 30.000 jiwa. Pertanyaan mendasarnya: Bagaimana gempa yang menewaskan 30.000 orang untuk hal yang terbaik? Apakah tempat pembantaian pada perang Eropa 1756-1763 adalah yang terbaik dari kemungkinan dunia? Gbr 1: Ilustrasi Gempa Bumi di LisbonGbr 2: Ilustrasi Perang Tujuh Tahun Eropa. Gbr 3: Ilustrasi Pangloss sedang mengajar CandideBerbagai kemalangan yang bersifat ekstrim dialami oleh Tokoh Novel ini. Sebagai contoh: 1. Candide didepak dari kerajaan,2. Cunegund diperkosa oleh tentara Bulgaria3. Kakaknya Cunegund, Baron Yesuit disiksa4. Pangloss digantung (namun tidak mati)5. Candide ditipu oleh nelayan BelandaDengan menggunakan satire, Voltaire seolah mengejek paham optimisme, yang tidak hanya tidak masuk akal, tetapi juga sombong. Voltaire terjalin cinta dengan Emilie du Chatelet lasted dari 1733 sampai 1749. Masalahnya si kekasih adalah pengikut filosofi optism. Namanya cinta, ketika hidup dengan Emilie, kritiknya pada Optimisme lebih berkurang. Kritikan di Bidang AgamaVoltaire sebenarnya berkonflik dengan gereja. Saat itu Gereja Katolik Roma adalah kekuatan terbesar kedua setelah kerajaan. Perselisihan Voltaire dengan gereja lebih besar gaungnya daripada perselisihan Voltaire dengan otoritas politik. Ia menganggap gereja adalah pendukung takhyul, konservatif dalam pengambilan keputusan yang rasional. Ia beranggapan bahwa gereja menjadi penyebab fanatisme dan intoleransi.Pada waktu itu, agama terorganisir di Perancis (dan di tempat lain) gereja antara lain menyensor pers dan pidato, menentang toleransi beragama, mendukung doktrin hak ilahi dari raja untuk memerintah dan sering mendukung perbudakan. Voltaire mencerca terhadap Gereja Katolik bukan karena dia adalah orang jahat yang menginginkan kebebasan bagi dosa, tetapi karena ia melihat gereja sebagai mata air dan benteng kejahatan. Dia merasa bahwa tidak akan ada perubahan yang mungkin tanpa mengabaikan kekuatan Gereja; itulah sebabnya dia mencurahkan begitu banyak perhatian untuk mengejek dan mendiskreditkan itu.Perjalanan CandidePetualangan Candide mulai dari diusir dari Istana di Westphalia dan mencari kekasihnya Nona Cunegund hingga ke Venesia. Dalam perjalanannya, ia menemukan banyak kejadian yang menakjubkan sekaligus mengerikan. Setiap orang-orang yang ditemui Candide memiliki kiasan tersendiri yang diramu oleh Voltaire. Peta perjalanan Candide dapat dilihat sebagai berikut.Gbr 4: Perjalanan CandideDari hasil penelusuran, buku ini adalah buku terlarang bagi kaum Yesuit. Paul LeClerc, President dan CEO The New York Public Library mengatakan dalam suatu wawancara, ia harus meminta izin melalui surat dari Bishop di Jesuit College, Holy Cross untuk membaca buku ini. Baginya, buku ini seperti buah terlarang di taman Eden. Ia menambahkan bahwa Masih adanya perang, kemiskinan, kelaparan, kehilangan hak hidup, dan sebagainya itu sejalan dengan kesimpulan Voltaire yang menyatakan bahwa dunia belum sempurna. Karena itu kita harus berjuang, berjuang akan keadilan, melawan intoleransi, melawan takhyul, berjuang pada hak asasi manusia hingga saat ini.Kelebihan terjemahan novel ini menurut saya adalah adanya catatan kaki pada kata yang menyangkut nama orang, tempat, istilah-istilah. Catatan kaki tersebut cukup membantu walaupun ada istilah baru lagi dalam catatan kaki tersebut. Kekurangan buku terjemahan ini adalah pada terjemahan judul babnya tidak sesuai dengan yang bahasa Inggris. Sebagai contoh pada Bab I dalam bahasa Inggrisnya "How Candide Was Brought Up in a Magnificent Castle and How He Was Driven Thence", yang diterjemahkan dengan "Kastel Thunder-Ten-Tronkch." Hal ini menyulitkan pembaca jika ingin membandingkan isi novel ini dalam dua bahasa (Inggris-Indonesia). Padahal, sumber-sumber yang membahas novel ini cukup banyak di internet. Dan salah satu jembatannya adalah nomor bab dan judulnya. Salah satu web yang memberi perhatian pada novel ini adalah New York Public Library yang membuat tautan khusus mengenai Candide di Bagi saya, dengan kekurangan buku ini, saya malah asyik sendiri menelusri tautan yang menceritakan karya besar ini. Itupun masih jauh dari cukup untuk memahami konteks dan kritik terhadap kehidupan sosial masyarakat pada saat itu. Saya menjadi kagum dengan para penulis yang menggunakan penanya untuk menyuarakan yang tidak bersuara. Seperti novel klasik Indonesia Max Havelaar oleh Multatuli (Douwes Dekker), Siti Nurbaya oleh Marah Roesli, dan selanjutnya Pelajaran yang saya ambil, Selama masih di dunia, akan selalu berhadapan dengan masalah. Karena itu berjuanglah, selagi bisa. Berjuang atas rezeki, cita-cita, kebahagiaan, sesama, dan sebagainya. Semoga Tuhan menyertai. Amin._________________________________Voltaire sendiri adalah nama pena. Nama aslinya adalah Francois Marie Arouet. Lahir di Paris, 21 November 1694. Ia menggunakan nama Voltaire pada usia 25 tahun. Ia sendiri bersekolah di Jesuit College. Ayahnya menginginkan dia untuk menjadi pengacara, tapi ia berkeinginan menjadi penulis. Ketika ayahnya, M. Arouet,meninggaldunia pada 1 Januari 1722, Voltaire mendapat warisan yang sangat besar. Sebab ayahnya memiliki kantor yang berpenghasilan 13.000 franc setahun. Ia meminjamkan uangnya 10 persen setahun pada adipati, pangeran, dan bangsawan besar. Ia hidup dengan baik dengan penghasilan seperti itu.Ia dituduh menulis puisi satire Duke of Orleans, padahal bukan ia yang menulis. Ia dipenjara di penjara Bastille dan diasingkan ke Inggris. Di Inggris, justru kemampuan menulisnya meningkat seiring belajar menulis dan berbicara. Ia banyak belajar dengan Orang-orang besar Inggris, seperti Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), Shakespeare, Milton, Dryden, John Locke (1632-1704), Bacon, Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Young, Thomson, Congreve, Alexander Pope (1688-1744), Addison. Secara khusus pada Newton dan Locke, mereka sangat mempengaruhi Voltairedalam hal pengembangan intelektual. Di samping itu, Voltaire mengalami kebebasan berbahasa dan menulis Bahasa Inggris, yang tidak didapatnya di negerinya sendiri.Pada Tahun 1750, Frederick the Great, raja Prusia mengundang Voltaire tinggal di istananya dan membayarnya 20.000 franc setahun untuk menulis. Gempa bumi Lisbon pada Tahun 1755 yang menjadi inspirasinya membuat Candide. Sebelum Candide, ia menulis puisi panjang untuk Gempa Lisbon. Ia menunjukkan bahwa manusia tidak dapat menolak bencana alam, dan mempertanyakan justifikasi para penganut Optimism akan bencana alam tersebut, apakah bencana itu adalah dalam kerangka menemukan bentuk terbaiknya? Ia kembali ke Perancis pada 1778, untuk menyaksikan pertunjukannya yang terakhir, Irene, dan ia meninggal pada tahun yang sama. Karena keberadaannya ditolak oleh Gereja Katolik, temannya membawa jenazahnya keluar Perancis untuk dimakamkan, sebab Gereja menolak melakukan upacara pemakaman Voltaire. Pada 1791, barulah jenazahnya dibawa kembali ke Perancis untuk dimakamkan (kembali). Diperkirakan satu juta jiwa menghadiri prosesi ini.@hws02022011

Rakhi Dalal

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 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 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. After many misadventures, he finally reunites with the Lady only to find that he doesn’t love her that much. (view spoiler)[(for she turns from being very beautiful to being very ugly for the hardships that she faces in life) (hide spoiler)] Still, Candide goes ahead and marries her to keep his promise, but he realizes that he hasn’t been happy at all. So, where do we get from here?Voltaire’s work is not only a satire on the times he lived in but can also be seen as a mirror to the modern societies where similar beliefs still find a strong foothold. 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. (view spoiler)[(Here, I unwilling refrain myself from quoting examples from the ideas prevalent closer home.) (hide spoiler)] Religious fanaticism is one of the examples where such conditioning can bring about discord in the societies. 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.e. labor for people to find happiness in life. 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. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>


This book has a special place in my heart. My eighth grade teacher (who, I think, was supposed to be teaching us history or possibly lit at the time) took me aside one day, handed me this book and said, "Hey, I think you'd like this. Why don't you read it?" Then he let me do just that, during class. He taught my classmate Curtis to play chess because, again, he thought Curtis would like that. I'm sure he gave other people stuff to do. Maybe he introduced them to something that would be part of their lives' passion too, but really, I have no idea. The point is: this teacher changed my life. I'd always loved to read, but the idea that reading for pleasure & reading "literature" could be the same thing was new to me. I went in to eighth grade thinking that I was not-all-that in the brain department and left believing that each of our particular geniuses is tied to doing what we love. Well, I got going there, didn't I?So: Candide -- a great satire and a plea for the humane. Key to understanding much of anything about enlightenment Europe. It will make you laugh too.

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