Candide: Or Optimism

Paperback | June 30, 1950

byFrancois VoltaireTranslated byJohn ButtIntroduction byJohn Butt

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"All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds"
 
It was the indifferent shrug and callous inertia that this "optimism" concealed which so angered Voltaire, who found the "all for the best" approach a patently inadequate response to suffering, to natural disasters, not to mention the questions of illness and man-made war. Moreover, as the rebel whose satiric genius had earned him not only international acclaim, but two stays in the Bastille, flogging, and exile, Voltaire knew personally what suffering entailed. In Candide he whisks his young hero and friends through a ludicrous variety of tortures, tragedies, and a reversal of fortune, in the company of Pangloss, a "metaphysico-theologo-comolo-nigologist" of unflinching optimism. The result is one of the glories of eighteenth-century satire.
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From Our Editors

  Few satirists in history can compare with Voltaire, whose acerbic intelligence and keen wits earned him more than one stay in France’s infamous Bastille prison. Candide is his crowning achievement: a ruthless skewering of the empty platitudes preached by the 18th century theologians. As Voltaire’s heroes are subjected to every manne...

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"All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds" It was the indifferent shrug and callous inertia that this "optimism" concealed which so angered Voltaire, who found the "all for the best" approach a patently inadequate response to suffering, to natural disasters, not to mention the questions of illness and man-made war. Moreov...

François-Marie Arouet, writing under the pseudonym Voltaire, was born in 1694 into a Parisian bourgeois family. Educated by Jesuits, he was an excellent pupil but one quickly enraged by dogma. An early rift with his father—who wished him to study law—led to his choice of letters as a career. Insinuating himself into court circles, he b...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:144 pages, 7.76 × 5.07 × 0.35 inPublished:June 30, 1950Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140440046

ISBN - 13:9780140440041

Appropriate for ages: 18 - 18

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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

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From Our Editors

  Few satirists in history can compare with Voltaire, whose acerbic intelligence and keen wits earned him more than one stay in France’s infamous Bastille prison. Candide is his crowning achievement: a ruthless skewering of the empty platitudes preached by the 18th century theologians. As Voltaire’s heroes are subjected to every manner of disaster and torture, they are consoled by the fatuous optimism of Pangloss, a self-proclaimed “metaphysico-theologo-cosmolo-nigologist” — in a wicked broadside that has delighted readers for more than two centuries.