Candide: Or, Optimism

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Candide: Or, Optimism

by Voltaire
Translated by Peter Constantine
Introduction by Diane Johnson

Random House Publishing Group | October 11, 2005 | Trade Paperback

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In this splendid new translation of Voltaire’s satiric masterpiece, all the celebrated wit, irony, and trenchant social commentary of one of the great works of the Enlightenment is restored and refreshed.

Voltaire may have cast a jaundiced eye on eighteenth-century Europe–a place that was definitely not the “best of all possible worlds.” But amid its decadent society, despotic rulers, civil and religious wars, and other ills, Voltaire found a mother lode of comic material. And this is why Peter Constantine’s thoughtful translation is such a pleasure, presenting all the book’s subtlety and ribald joys precisely as Voltaire had intended.

The globe-trotting misadventures of the youthful Candide; his tutor, Dr. Pangloss; Martin, and the exceptionally trouble-prone object of Candide’s affections, Cunégonde, as they brave exile, destitution, cannibals, and numerous deprivation, provoke both belly laughs and deep contemplation about the roles of hope and suffering in human life.

The transformation of Candide’s outlook from panglossian optimism to realism neatly lays out Voltaire’s philosophy–that even in Utopia, life is less about happiness than survival–but not before providing us with one of literature’s great and rare pleasures.


From the Hardcover edition.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 144 pages, 8 × 5.16 × 0.33 in

Published: October 11, 2005

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0812972015

ISBN - 13: 9780812972016

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated out of 5 by from Life... what is it good for? Voltaire is one of my favourite philosophers of all time. No, he is my favourite philosopher of all time. And “Candide” is his most celebrated work. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in philosophy, or anyone who think that everything that happens in our world is for good. Yet despite everything in our lives, “we must cultivate our garden.” Everyone should have this classic in their book collection.
Date published: 2011-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Candide (optimism), first published in 1759, has a lot to do with destiny, and how everything in preordained. Thus, whatever you do to try to change your life, you cannot possibly change it. If you are meant to meet a specific person, no matter what the situation is, you will run into them. This satire is the most unique story I have ever read; I did not know such stories even existed. The protagonist, Candide, is very optimistic, and believes that everything that happens is for the best. Candide is a classic and should be read by everyone; it is very short and can be completed within a few hours. 5/5
Date published: 2009-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Candide (optimism), first published in 1759, has a lot to do with destiny, and how everything in preordained. Thus, whatever you do to try to change your life, you cannot possibly change it. If you are meant to meet a specific person, no matter what the situation is, you will run into them. This satire is the most unique story I have ever read; I did not know such stories even existed. The protagonist, Candide, is very optimistic, and believes that everything that happens is for the best. Candide is a classic and should be read by everyone; it is very short and can be completed within a few hours. 5/5
Date published: 2009-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Candide (optimism), first published in 1759, has a lot to do with destiny, and how everything in preordained. Thus, whatever you do to try to change your life, you cannot possibly change it. If you are meant to meet a specific person, no matter what the situation is, you will run into them. This satire is the most unique story I have ever read; I did not know such stories even existed. The protagonist, Candide, is very optimistic, and believes that everything that happens is for the best. Candide is a classic and should be read by everyone; it is very short and can be completed within a few hours.
Date published: 2008-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Quirky but Wise This odd little book has something important to say about life. Voltaire, a philosopher in the late 1700s, presents his cynical outlook on life through his sweet and naive character Candide, who is unlucky in both love and in life. Other players, such as the optimistic Dr. Pangloss, pessimistic Martin, and the object of Candid's affections, the lovely Cunegonde, encounter both fortune and misfortune while on their travels. This book is an important philosophical commentary. Read it!
Date published: 2001-06-06

– More About This Product –

Candide: Or, Optimism

by Voltaire
Translated by Peter Constantine
Introduction by Diane Johnson

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 144 pages, 8 × 5.16 × 0.33 in

Published: October 11, 2005

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0812972015

ISBN - 13: 9780812972016

About the Book

A flamboyant and controversial personality of enormous wit and intelligence, Voltaire remains one of the most influential figures of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. "Candide, his masterpiece, is a brilliant satire of the theory that our world is "the best of all possible worlds." The book traces the picaresque adventures of the guileless Candide, who is forced into the army, flogged, shipwrecked, betrayed, robbed, separated from his beloved Cunegonde, tortured by the Inquisition, et cetera, all without losing his resilience and will to live and pursue a happy life.
This Modern Library edition, published to celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of Random House,
is a facsimile of the first book ever released under the Random House colophon. It includes the timeless illustrations by Rockwell Kent, a twentieth-century artist whose wit and genius serve as a counterpart and compliment to Voltaire's.

"From the Hardcover edition.

Read from the Book

CHAPTER IHow Candide was brought up in a beautiful castle, and how he was driven from it.In the castle of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh in Westphalia, there once lived a youth endowed by nature with the gentlest of characters. 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. The old servants of the household suspected that he was the son of the baron's sister by a good and honorable gentleman of the vicinity, whom this lady would never marry because he could prove only seventy-one generations of nobility, the rest of his family tree having been lost, owing to the ravages of time.The baron was one of the most powerful lords in Westphalia, for his castle had a door and windows. Its hall was even adorned with a tapestry. The dogs in his stable yards formed a hunting pack when necessary, his grooms were his huntsmen, and the village curate was his chaplain. They all called him "My Lord" and laughed when he told stories.The baroness, who weighed about three hundred fifty pounds, thereby winning great esteem, did the honors of the house with a dignity that made her still more respectable. Her daughter Cunegonde, aged seventeen, was rosy-cheeked, fresh, plump and alluring. The baron's son appeared to be worthy of his father in every way. The tutor Pangloss was the oracle of the household, and young Candide listened to his teachings with all the good faith of his a
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From the Publisher

In this splendid new translation of Voltaire’s satiric masterpiece, all the celebrated wit, irony, and trenchant social commentary of one of the great works of the Enlightenment is restored and refreshed.

Voltaire may have cast a jaundiced eye on eighteenth-century Europe–a place that was definitely not the “best of all possible worlds.” But amid its decadent society, despotic rulers, civil and religious wars, and other ills, Voltaire found a mother lode of comic material. And this is why Peter Constantine’s thoughtful translation is such a pleasure, presenting all the book’s subtlety and ribald joys precisely as Voltaire had intended.

The globe-trotting misadventures of the youthful Candide; his tutor, Dr. Pangloss; Martin, and the exceptionally trouble-prone object of Candide’s affections, Cunégonde, as they brave exile, destitution, cannibals, and numerous deprivation, provoke both belly laughs and deep contemplation about the roles of hope and suffering in human life.

The transformation of Candide’s outlook from panglossian optimism to realism neatly lays out Voltaire’s philosophy–that even in Utopia, life is less about happiness than survival–but not before providing us with one of literature’s great and rare pleasures.


From the Hardcover edition.

From the Jacket

A flamboyant and controversial personality of enormous wit and intelligence, Voltaire remains one of the most influential figures of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. "Candide, his masterpiece, is a brilliant satire of the theory that our world is "the best of all possible worlds." The book traces the picaresque adventures of the guileless Candide, who is forced into the army, flogged, shipwrecked, betrayed, robbed, separated from his beloved Cunegonde, tortured by the Inquisition, et cetera, all without losing his resilience and will to live and pursue a happy life.
This Modern Library edition, published to celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of Random House,
is a facsimile of the first book ever released under the Random House colophon. It includes the timeless illustrations by Rockwell Kent, a twentieth-century artist whose wit and genius serve as a counterpart and compliment to Voltaire's.

"From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet) (1694—1778) was one of the key thinkers of the European Enlightenment. Of his many works, Candide remains the most popular.

Peter Constantine was awarded the 1998 PEN Translation Award for Six Early Stories by Thomas Mann and the 1999 National Translation Award for The Undiscovered Chekhov: Forty-three New Stories. Widely acclaimed for his recent translation of the complete works of Isaac Babel, he also translated Gogol’s Taras Bulba and Tolstoy’s The Cossacks for the Modern Library. His translations of fiction and poetry have appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker, Harper’s, and Paris Review. He lives in New York City.

Editorial Reviews

“When we observe such things as the recrudescence of fundamentalism in the United States, the horrors of religious fanaticism in the Middle East, the appalling danger which the stubbornness of political intolerance presents to the whole world, we must surely conclude that we can still profit by the example of lucidity, the acumen, the intellectual honesty and the moral courage of Voltaire.”
—A. J. Ayer