4.0 293
by - Voltaire, Jack Davenport

View All Available Formats & Editions

Candide, published simultaneously in five European capitals in 1759, became an instant bestseller and is now regarded as one of the key texts of the Enlightenment. Voltaire’s preoccupations with evil and with various kinds of human folly and intolerance found a perfect vehicle in the philosophical tale. A master storyteller, he combined often wildly…  See more details below


Candide, published simultaneously in five European capitals in 1759, became an instant bestseller and is now regarded as one of the key texts of the Enlightenment. Voltaire’s preoccupations with evil and with various kinds of human folly and intolerance found a perfect vehicle in the philosophical tale. A master storyteller, he combined often wildly entertaining action with profoundly serious sense, parodying the traditional chivalric and oriental tales with which his public was more familiar to create a witty allegory of a young man whose optimism gives way to disillusionment after a series of terrible misfortunes.

Editorial Reviews

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.

Product Details

Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 5.90(h) x 0.60(d)

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.

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Candide 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 293 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't think I know enough of the political and historical background of the times to really understand parts ofthis story. But it was still interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Sifari More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Hi <p> Hello <br> Bye
dayzd89 More than 1 year ago
I always feel silly reviewing classics because what hasn't been said about them, right? But perhaps my take on it is personal. Lately I have been severely depressed. This is nothing new; I've battled depression and anxiety for ten years now. I know that it will never go away completely. But lately it's been so bad, I find myself questioning if my life even matters at all. For the past few months, I've harbored very dark thoughts and have gone through some rough patches. But reading this book has instilled me with renewed hope. While it does critique blind optimism, the ending is rather optimistic in the fact that it conveys a positive message. I like how it ends with realism rather than forced optimism. The main idea I got from the conclusion is that life will happen and that even though bad things will occur to us, we need to keep moving forward no matter what. We have to try to be realistic, which is very hard, but in the end I think it's better for us. Personally, I find a realistic approach to be more fulfilling than blind hope. It helps me to move on and challenge myself. Voltaire is a wonderful writer and I can't wait to read his other works. I highly recommend the novel to Philosophy fans and lovers of classical literature.
Luciano-E More than 1 year ago
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 &ldquo;happy ending.&rdquo; 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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Voltaire's Candide offers a very witty and comical satire on society. The novel is very funny and is worth the read.
ReadingRaven More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it! It even had illustrations that showed nicely on my nook.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous 10 months ago
He steps in, a smile across his face. Then, realizing that it's 6:30 in the morning, he leaves the way he came.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*she peeks in, her gaze searching for her Pea Buddy.*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She looked around, somewhat warily. ".... yo."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*A portal to another realm opens in the middle of camp. A few seconds later, a man wearing black boots, black, jeans, a grey tank top, and a black leather coat staggers out, bloody and bruised. He collapses on the ground as the portal disappears.*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The doll-like human sauntered in. Bad Dream Debbie looked around, her eyes glazed over and unable to blink.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She quietly approached Fox. "I think your cast can come off in a day or two."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
&#901This deffinently is a good place.&#901
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She looked around with a sigh
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago