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Candide

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Overview

Distinguished translator Burton Raffel captures the irreverent spirit of Candide and renders the novel in clear, vivacious English. Stylistically superior to all predecessors, Raffel's version now stands as the translation of choice for twenty-first-century readers.\
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Candide (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Overview

Distinguished translator Burton Raffel captures the irreverent spirit of Candide and renders the novel in clear, vivacious English. Stylistically superior to all predecessors, Raffel's version now stands as the translation of choice for twenty-first-century readers.\
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
For nearly 250 years, readers have been tracking the ill-fated career of the inveterate Westphalian optimist Candide. Voltaire's brisk satire on the belief systems and institutions of his day still retains its verve because the 18th-century French philosopher never allows the fervency of his ideas to impinge on his sly tale.
Library Journal
Two standards of European literature join Penguin's Classics Deluxe Editions club. Candide sports an especially spiffy cover by comic artist Chris Ware and a top text. The Undset volume combines all three parts of the epic with explanatory notes. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
“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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781500691707
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/30/2014
  • Pages: 100
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.21 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Gordon (Ph.D. University of Chicago) is associate professor of history at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and has also taught at Harvard University and Stanford University. He has served on the editorial staff of The Journal of the History of Ideas and Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture. His publications, including Citizens without Sovereignty (1994), deal with the Enlightenment and the history of Enlightenment scholarship in the twentieth century.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter Three

How Candide escaped from among the Bulgars,
and what became of him

Nothing was as beautiful, smart, dazzling, or well ordered as the two armies. The trumpets, fifes, oboes, drums, and cannons created a harmony such as never existed in Hell. First of all, the cannons struck down almost six thousand men on each side. Then the muskets removed from the best of worlds between nine and ten thousand rogues infecting its surface. The bayonet was also the sufficient reason for the death of several thousand men. The total might well have come to some thirty thousand souls. Candide, trembling like a philosopher, hid himself as best he could during this heroic butchery.

Finally, while the two kings had the Te Deum sung, each in his camp, Candide decided to go elsewhere to reason over effects and causes. Climbing over heaps of dead and dying men, he arrived at a neighboring village that lay in ashes: it was an Avar village that the Bulgars had burnt down in accordance with the principles of international law. Old men covered in wounds watched their butchered wives die clasping their infants to their bleeding breasts. Girls who had been disemboweled after having sated the natural needs of some of the heroes were breathing their last. Others, covered in burns, were begging to be put out of their misery. Brains were splattered on the ground alongside severed arms and legs.

Candide fled as fast as he could to another village. This one belonged to the Bulgars, and the Avar heroes had treated it the same way. Stepping over palpitating limbs and climbing over ruins, Candide, carrying a few provisions in his bag, finally managed to get out of the theater of war, never forgetting Mademoiselle Cunégonde. His provisions ran out when he reached Holland, but having heard that everyone in that country was rich and Christian, he did not doubt that he would be treated as well as he had been at the castle of His Lordship the Baron before he was driven from it on account of Mademoiselle Cunégonde’s beautiful eyes.

He asked for alms from several grave personages, all of whom replied that if he continued plying this trade he would be locked up in a house of correction, where he would be taught how to work for a living.
Then he approached a man who had just addressed a big crowd for a whole hour on the topic of charity.
The orator eyed him suspiciously and asked, "What are you doing here? Did you come for the Good Cause?"

"There is no effect without a cause," Candide replied modestly. "Everything is necessarily interconnected and arranged for the best. I had to be driven out of the presence of Mademoiselle Cunégonde, run the gauntlet, and beg for bread until I can earn my own. All this could not be otherwise."

"My friend," the orator said, "do you believe that the Pope is the Antichrist?"

"I have never yet heard that he is," Candide replied. "But whether he is the Antichrist or not, I need bread."

"You don’t deserve any," the orator said. "Go away, you rogue, you wretch! Don’t come near me again as long as you live!"

The orator’s wife poked her head out the window and, seeing the man who doubted that the Pope was the Antichrist, poured out on his head a chamber pot full of ...

Merciful Heaven! To what excess ladies will carry the zeal of religion!

A man who had not been baptized, a good Anabaptist by the name of Jacques, saw the cruel and disgraceful manner in which one of his brothers, a featherless, two-legged being with a soul, was being treated.* He took him to his place, washed him, gave him bread and beer, made him a gift of two florins, and even wanted to teach him to work in his factory, which manufactured Persian fabrics in Holland. Candide almost prostrated himself before him, exclaiming, "Doctor Pangloss had told me that everything is for the best in this world. I am infinitely more moved by your extreme generosity than by the severity of that man in the black cloak and his wife."

The following day, Candide was out walking when he came across a beggar covered in pustules. He had lifeless eyes, a nose that was rotting away, a mouth that was twisted, black teeth, and a rasping voice. He coughed violently, spitting out a tooth every time.

* The Anabaptists were an extreme Protestant sect that did not believe in infant baptism–in their view only adult baptism was valid. They believed in absolute social and religious equality. "A featherless, two-legged being" is a humorous reference to Plato’s definition of man.

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Table of Contents

Candide, or optimism 1
App. 1 The alternative version of the opening of chapter 22 95
App. 2 Voltaire's Poem on the Lisbon disaster 97
App. 3 Entries from Voltaire's Philosophical dictionary 109
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First Chapter

CHAPTER I



How 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 age and character.

Pangloss taught metaphysico-theologo-cosmonigology. He proved admirably that in this best of all possible worlds, His Lordship's castle wasthe most beautiful of castles, and Her Ladyship the best of all possible baronesses.

"It is demonstrated," he said, "that things cannot be otherwise: for, since everything was made for a purpose, everything is necessarily for the best purpose. Note that noses were made to wear spectacles; we therefore have spectacles. Legs were clearly devised to wear breeches, and we have breeches. Stones were created to be hewn and made into castles; His Lordship therefore has a very beautiful castle: the greatest baron in the province must have the finest residence. And since pigs were made to be eaten, we eat pork all year round. Therefore, those who have maintained that all is well have been talking nonsense: they should have maintained that all is for the best."

Candide listened attentively and believed innocently, for he found Lady Cunegonde extremely beautiful, although he was never bold enough to tell her so. He concluded that, after the good fortune of having been born Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh, the second greatest good fortune was to be Lady Cunegonde; the third, to see her every day; and the fourth, to listen to Dr. Pangloss, the greatest philosopher in the province, and therefore in the whole world.

One day as Cunegonde was walking near the castle in the little wood known as "the park," she saw Dr. Pangloss in the bushes, giving a lesson in experimental physics to her mother's chambermaid, a very pretty and docile little brunette. Since Lady Cunegonde was deeply interested in the sciences, she breathlessly observed the repeated experiments that were performed before her eyes. She clearly saw the doctor's sufficient reason, and the operation of cause and effect. She then returned home, agitated and thoughtful, reflecting that she might be young Candide's sufficient reason, and he hers.

On her way back to the castle she met Candide. She blushed, and so did he. She greeted him in a faltering voice, and he spoke to her without knowing what he was saying. The next day, as they were leaving the table after dinner, Cunegonde and Candide found themselves behind a screen. She dropped her handkerchief, he picked it up; she innocently took his hand, and he innocently kissed hers with extraordinary animation, ardor and grace; their lips met, their eyes flashed, their knees trembled, their hands wandered. Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh happened to pass by the screen; seeing this cause and effect, he drove Candide from the castle with vigorous kicks in the backside. Cunegonde fainted. The baroness slapped her as soon as she revived, and consternation reigned in the most beautiful and agreeable of all possible castles.



CHAPTER II



What happened to Candide among the Bulgars.



After being driven from his earthly paradise, Candide walked for a long time without knowing where he was going, weeping, raising his eyes to heaven, looking back often toward the most beautiful of castles, which contained the most beautiful of young baronesses. He lay down without eating supper, between two furrows in an open field; it was snowing in large flakes. The next day, chilled to the bone, he dragged himself to the nearest town, whose name was Waldberghofftrarbk-dikdorff. Penniless, dying of hunger and fatigue, he stopped sadly in front of an inn. Two men dressed in blue1 noticed him.

"Comrade," said one of them, "there's a well-built young man who's just the right height."

They went up to Candide and politely asked him to dine with them.

"Gentlemen," said Candide with charming modesty, "I'm deeply honored, but I have no money to pay my share."

"Ah, sir," said one of the men in blue, "people of your appearance and merit never pay anything: aren't you five feet five?"

"Yes, gentlemen, that's my height," he said, bowing.

"Come, sir, sit down. We'll not only pay for your dinner, but we'll never let a man like you be short of money. Men were made only to help each other."

"You're right," said Candide, "that's what Dr. Pangloss always told me, and I see that all is for the best."

They begged him to accept a little money; he took it and offered to sign a note for it, but they would not let him. They all sat down to table.

"Don't you dearly love--"

"Oh, yes!" answered Candide. "I dearly love Lady Cunegonde."

"No," said one of the men, "we want to know if you dearly love the King of the Bulgars."

"Not at all," said Candide, "because I've never seen him."

"What! He's the most charming of kings, and we must drink to his health."

"Oh, I'll be glad to, gentlemen!"

And he drank.

"That's enough," he was told, "you're now the support, the upholder, the defender and the hero of the Bulgars: your fortune is made and your glory is assured."

They immediately put irons on his legs and took him to a regiment. He was taught to make right and left turns, raise and lower the ramrod, take aim, fire, and march double time, and he was beaten thirty times with a stick. The next day he performed his drills a little less badly and was given only twenty strokes; the following day he was given only ten, and his fellow soldiers regarded him as a prodigy.

Candide, utterly bewildered, still could not make out very clearly how he was a hero. One fine spring day he decided to take a stroll; he walked straight ahead, believing that the free use of the legs was a privilege of both mankind and the animals. He had not gone five miles when four other heroes, all six feet tall, overtook him, bound him, brought him back and put him in a dungeon. With proper legal procedure, he was asked which he would prefer, to be beaten thirty-six times by the whole regiment, or to receive twelve bullets in his brain. It did him no good to maintain that man's will is free and that he wanted neither: he had to make a choice. Using the gift of God known as freedom, he decided to run the gauntlet thirty-six times, and did so twice. The regiment was composed of two thousand men, so his punishment was so far composed of four thousand strokes, which had laid bare every muscle and nerve from his neck to his backside. As they were preparing for a third run, Candide, unable to go on, begged them to blow his brains out instead. The favor was granted; he was blindfolded and made to kneel. Just then the King of the Bulgars came by and inquired about the condemned man's crime. Being a highly intelligent king, he realized from what he was told that Candide was a young metaphysician, utterly ignorant of worldly matters, and pardoned him with a clemency that will be praised in all newspapers and all ages. A worthy surgeon healed Candide in three weeks with the emollients prescribed by Dioscorides. He already had a little skin, and was able to walk, when the King of the Bulgars joined battle with the King of the Avars.



CHAPTER III



How Candide escaped from the Bulgars,

and what happened to him.



Nothing could have been more splendid, brilliant, smart or orderly than the two armies. The trumpets, fifes, oboes, drums and cannons produced a harmony whose equal was never heard in hell. First the cannons laid low about six thousand men on each side, then rifle fire removed from the best of worlds about nine or ten thousand scoundrels who had been infesting its surface. The bayonet was also the sufficient reason for the death of several thousand men. The total may well have risen to thirty thousand souls. Candide, trembling like a philosopher, hid himself as best he could during this heroic carnage.

Finally, while the two kings were having Te Deums sung, each in his own camp, Candide decided to go elsewhere to reason about cause and effect. He made his way over heaps of dead and dying men until he came to a nearby village. It was in ashes, for it was an Avar village which the Bulgars had burned in accordance with international law. Old men with wounds all over their bodies were watching the death throes of butchered women who clutched their children to their bloody breasts; girls who had been disemboweled after satisfying the natural needs of several heroes were breathing their last sighs; others, mortally burned, were shrieking for someone to hasten their death. The ground was strewn with brains and severed arms and legs.

Candide fled to another village as fast as he could: it belonged to the Bulgars, and the Avar heroes had treated it in the same manner. Still walking over quivering limbs, or through ruins, he finally emerged from the theater of war, carrying a little food in his sack and never forgetting Lady Cunegonde. His food ran out when he reached Holland, but since he had heard that everyone was rich in that country, and that the people were Christians, he did not doubt that he would be treated as well there as he had been in the baron's castle before he had been driven away from it because of Lady Cunegonde's lovely eyes.

He asked alms of several solemn individuals who all replied that if he continued to ply that trade he would be shut up in a house of correction to teach him better manners.

Next he approached a man who had just spoken about charity for a whole hour in front of a large assembly. This orator scowled at him and said, "What are you doing here? Are you for the good cause?"

"There is no effect without a cause," replied Candide modestly. "All things are necessarily connected and arranged for the best. I had to be driven away from Lady Cunegonde, I had to run the gauntlet, and I have to beg my bread until I can earn it; all that could not have been otherwise."

"My friend," said the orator, "do you believe that the Pope is the Antichrist?"

"I've never heard anyone say so," answered Candide, "but whether he is or not, I still have nothing to eat."

"You don't deserve to eat," said the orator. "Go, you scoundrel, you wretch, and never come near me again!"

The orator's wife, having looked out the window and seen a man who doubted that the Pope was the Antichrist, poured on his head the contents of a full . . . O heaven! To what excesses are ladies driven by religious zeal!

A man who had not been baptized, a good Anabaptist by the name of James, witnessed this cruel and ignominious treatment of one of his fellow men, a featherless biped who had a soul; he took him to his home, washed him, served him bread and beer, made him a gift of two florins and even offered to teach him to work for him in the manufacture of those Persian fabrics that are produced in Holland. Candide almost threw himself at his feet. "Dr. Pangloss was right when he told me that all is for the best in this world," he said, "because your extreme generosity has moved me much more deeply than the harshness of that gentleman in the black cloak and his wife."

The next day, as he was taking a walk he met a beggar covered with sores; his eyes were lifeless, the tip of his nose had been eaten away, his mouth was twisted, his teeth were black, his voice was hoarse, he was racked by a violent cough, and he spat out a tooth with every spasm.



CHAPTER IV



How Candide met his former philosophy teacher, Dr. Pangloss, and what ensued.



Candide, moved even more by compassion than by horror, gave this appalling beggar the two florins he had received from James, the worthy Anabaptist. The apparition stared at him, shed tears and threw his arms around his neck. Candide drew back in terror.

"Alas," said one pauper to the other, "don't you recognize your dear Pangloss?"

"What are you saying! You, my dear master! You, in this horrible condition! What misfortune has befallen you? Why are you no longer in the most beautiful of castles? What has become of Lady Cunegonde, the pearl of young ladies, the masterpiece of nature?"

"I'm at the end of my strength," said Pangloss.

Candide immediately took him to the Anabaptist's stable, where he gave him a little bread to eat, and when he had revived he said to him, "Well, what about Cunegonde?"

"She's dead," replied Pangloss.

Candide fainted at this word; his friend brought him back to consciousness with some bad vinegar that happened to be in the stable. Candide opened his eyes and said, "Cunegonde is dead! Oh, best of all possible worlds, where are you? But what did she die of? Was it from seeing me kicked out of the beautiful castle by her father?"

"No," said Pangloss, "she was disemboweled by Bulgar soldiers after having been raped as much as a woman can be. They smashed the baron's head when he tried to defend her, the baroness was hacked to pieces, and my poor pupil was treated exactly the same as his sister. As for the castle, not one stone was left standing on another; there's not one barn left, not one sheep, not one duck, not one tree. But we were well avenged, because the Avars did the same thing to a nearby estate that belonged to a Bulgar lord."


From the Paperback edition.

Copyright© 1984 by Voltaire
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Customer Reviews

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( 250 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 253 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2010

    Brilliant Story, Horrible Translation

    Candide was a beautiful story, filled with humor, love, and lots of humor. I think the story is still stimulating even after hundreds of years!

    I recently read this for my Classics Book Club and we all took turns reading various passages from our varying translations of the book, which is something we tend to do each month. My only complaint about the story is this: the Morley translation (of the B&N Classics version) was AWFUL!

    All of the beautiful, poetic passages that the others in my group read aloud were translated as drivel in my copy (the only one with the B&N version of this book in our group). It seemed as if Mr. Morley literally translated the French to English (such as "the horse brown" instead of "the brown horse") and thus, lost much of the wonderful wordsmithing of Voltaire. I almost cried when it was my turn to read the opening passage because I knew the B&N version was horrible!

    Aside from the horrible translation, I would recommend this story to anyone. I wouldn't however, recommend THIS translation of the story. Sorry B&N...

    14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2010

    Brilliant story, terrible translation

    Candide as a story is worth reading in any language, although it is much funnier and much more enjoyable in original French. However, the reason for that may just be that this is a very poor translation. The language is more archaic than in the original, and many subtleties are lost through poor word choice (for example, in this version Martin "hopes" that all is for the best, while in the original he pessimistically "wishes" that everything was indeed AT ITS BEST). Nevertheless, Candide is a witty and brilliant story that can be enjoyed for philosophical enlightenment or simply for a rainy day. I would recommend, though, that if you're going to read it in English, get a different edition. Normally B&N Classics are nice, quality editions, but this is sadly an exception.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 5, 2009

    An excellent Read

    This book is definately one of the best things I've read in a while. The humor is great, and the characters all seem to fit in a way that makes the story an interesting one.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2004

    Simple Read

    I wasn't as taken with this book as many of the reviewers here, but found the book worth reading and interesting since I haven't ever read somethign from this time by a man.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 29, 2014

    Candide by Voltaire is a tale that leaves the reader questioning

    Candide by Voltaire is a tale that leaves the reader questioning his or her own hardships, experiences, and views of the world. The philosophical aspect of the book teaches the reader of many different views of people based on their experiences. For example the Character of the old woman in the book serves to represent a pessimistic and hopeless view of the world. The old lady lives her life thinking of what should have been and lives her life in the present in a depressed state. Candide, however had suffered many hardships throughout his life too, always tried to keep a positive mind set and never gave up on the hope for a better life. 
    The book also leaves the reader questioning the issues of morality and human nature. The injustices showed in the book such as rape and murder were recurring throughout the story. These terrible acts done by other people to the main characters in the book shows that human nature is cruel and unforgiving.
    Voltaire makes it so Candide never gets what he had been so desperately searching for through the course of the whole story in the end to make a point that in the real world, most of the time people do not end up getting what they want and they usually end up having to settle for less that their ideal “happy ending.”
    Candide is a very realistic and blunt representation of hardship and the overall human experience. The moral of the story is that all a person can do in life is attempt to stay positive and to keep moving forward when faced with hardship. This story provides many aspects and ways that people deal with life when faced with suffering and turmoil. The book serves as an accurate representation of human emotion and coping methods in the real world.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Somewhat funny

    This book is said to be funny, I found it amusing. I think some people may not understand or be able to stick with Voltaire.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2006

    Good book but BIG mistake at the end

    When you are reading the end of the book, there is a list of kings that died horrible deaths. This book says Henry IV of England was one of those kings. Henry IV died of natural causes. Perhaps it was meant to be Henry VI and it is a typo. I'd be interested to see the original Voltaire and what he wrote.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2005

    A beautiful slap to the face

    I loved Candide for its blatent criticism of Leibniz, bleeding with sarcasm and disgust from every page. It is just so cool (for the lack of a better term) that Voltaire wrote a novel just to trash an opposing viewpoint. This book actually made me laugh while reading about the inquisition.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2014

    Robbin crawford rhea

    Robbin as crawford abcdefghijklmnopqrst
    Uvwxyz zyxwvwtsrqponmlkjihgfedcba

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2013

    Very Witty

    Voltaire's Candide offers a very witty and comical satire on society. The novel is very funny and is worth the read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2013

    This book is good, but definately not for young readers. My 13 y

    This book is good, but definately not for young readers. My 13 yr old son was given this for his honors english class for the summer. Do Not let you child read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2013

    Love this book!

    If you haven't read this book, pick it up. It's a great story and a timeless classic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2012

    Silly, Ridiculous, and Alarming

    I had not known much about Voltaire before reading this book. I only knew that he was a figure in enlightenment thinking and Samuel Johnson threw a hissy fit when you mentioned him. The short biography in this B&N version was informative. Candide is kind of an autobiographical satire on the philosophy of Leibniz. No one, from clergy to kings is spared in the lampooning. I was entertained and I learned about philosophy in the process.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2012

    Beautifully written!

    Voltaire is unrelenting in his critique and attack of deterministic optimism and Leibnz cosmology. Each character and each event that transpires only exists to lambast this philosophy. Even better, the final pages leave one wrestling with yourself whether optimism or pessimism is the best philosophy to live life, or questioning the power of pragmatic philosophy. Voltaire perfectly captures problems of theodicy as well as the existence of life itself--both the beauty of existence and the idleness of life.

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  • Posted December 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Beautifully disparaging

    Candid is utterly tragic, and yet magnificent humor is so cleverly entwined. I found myself laughing throughout the novel. It is profound and beautifully disparaging, and I will read this over again and again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2011

    Highly recomended

    Loved it! It even had illustrations that showed nicely on my nook.

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  • Posted September 6, 2010

    Relevant and entertaining adventure-comedy-commentary.

    This is a title that I'd often heard mentioned, but never really picked up anything regarding its subject or author. I'd heard Voltaire mentioned by teachers and in various conversation, but never really looked into his writings. So, when Candide popped up in one of the Barnes & Noble free eBook offerings, I was quite happy to read it and learn a bit about the author. After reading a bit about Voltaire on Wikipedia, I had a good idea of what to expect in reading this book. Overall, it fits the bill of being a satire of religious dogma and Leibniz's optimistic philosophy. This is an aspect that I can appreciate, especially given a lot of the things going on in the world today. Poking at those who rely solely upon tenets and beliefs without actually acting to make anything happen is always welcome. This sort of laziness and reliance solely on mystical magical supreme powers has always made me twitch. Voltaire does create a very fast-paced mock-adventure story that at times is difficult to follow. The fantastical and often unreal situations in which the characters find themselves, coupled with the pace of the story, is as disorienting as it is engaging. I found myself having to slow down reading the book at times as I would get lost in the whirlwind of events. The caricatures Voltaire describes do well to compile all of the disturbing characteristics of the zealots encountered during his time and that we find even today. I can see why the book was banned at the time. It's not often that governments or religious groups can handle being mocked or shown less respect than they deem that they deserve. When those governments or religious groups have been granted or have assumed adequate power over the people, they tend to suppress all that they feel detracts from their stature or power. Fortunately, there are authors from the past and in our current day that will use various literary vehicles to express themselves thereby exposing their views to the public. While we are in no way obliged to accept their views completely, having the opportunity to asses their merit for ourselves is something we should embrace. Candide is short, but dense with detail. Read it with an open mind and abstract what's on the page to what is "out there" in our day and you will see how relevant Voltaire's commentary is today.

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  • Posted June 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    "Work keeps at bay three great evils: boredom, vice, and need."

    I loved Candide and could not put it down. It's true, there's nothing especially ground-breaking in this little tale. However, it's still a nice read, thought-provoking in so many ways, and the satire can be ridiculously hilarious at times.

    If you want to read it, go for it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2009

    Candide, my son.

    A great classic of satirical literature, to be ranked with Tristram Shandy and Catch 22. If you haven't read it, you must, in order to put it into your stockpile of greatness. If you haven't read it for a long time, it will reward your renewed interest. The persevering Candide, the badly used lovely Cunegonde, the preacher of totally undeserving optimism, Professor Pangloss. And that final garden, that final garden.

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  • Posted November 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Absurdly Redundant Satire

    Candide equals satire. Most regrettably, this was satire in its base form--unrealistic misfortunes piled one on top of the other. The pile was so high and glaringly fake in composition that it became almost a chore to read. Put bluntly, the satire in Candide was even more pathetic than my previous analogy.

    The moral of Voltaire's dissatisfying work was short and to the point--making common sense to any reader. However, there seems to be no logical reason in finishing the book once one makes it past the third or fourth chapter, as it simply repeats egregious calamities endured by various characters.

    The conclusion I came to was that Voltaire's Candide is only to be -skimmed- if ALL other classics have been thoroughly perused; or, if one is intently set on having their intelligence flogged more often than Candide himself. Candide: a repetitive misery of a satire.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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