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Candide - Voltaire

Candide - Voltaire

4.5 15
by Voltaire, Francois-Marie Arouet (Editor)

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Caustic and hilarious, Candide has ranked as one of the world's great satires since its first publication in 1759. It concerns the adventures of the youthful Candide, disciple of Dr. Pangloss, who was himself a disciple of Leibniz. In the course of his travels and adventures in Europe and South America, Candide saw and suffered such misfortune that it was


Caustic and hilarious, Candide has ranked as one of the world's great satires since its first publication in 1759. It concerns the adventures of the youthful Candide, disciple of Dr. Pangloss, who was himself a disciple of Leibniz. In the course of his travels and adventures in Europe and South America, Candide saw and suffered such misfortune that it was difficult for him to believe this was "the best of all possible worlds" as Dr. Pangloss had assured him. Indeed, it seemed to be quite the opposite. In brilliantly skewering such naïveté, Voltaire mercilessly exposes and satirizes romance, science, philosophy, religion, and government — the ideas and forces that permeate and control the lives of men.
After many trials and travails, Candide is reunited with Cunegonde, his sweetheart. He then buys a little farm in Turkey where he and Cunegonde, Dr. Pangloss and others all retire. In the end, Candide decides that the best thing in the world is to cultivate one's own garden. A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

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.
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.

Product Details

Dover Publications
Publication date:
Dover Thrift Editions Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.90(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

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.

Meet the Author

One of France's most celebrated citizens, Voltaire (1694–1778) is best known for his satirical novel Candide. His political treatises, which frequently put him at odds with the church and state, continue to exercise enormous influence on political theorists, philosophers, educators, and historians.

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Candide Voltaire 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Izzie_reads_books More than 1 year ago
OMG! SOOOOOOO FUNNNNYYYY! I could not stop laughing--but then again, not everyone understood the humor and irony of this book in my class. Me, on the other hand, enjoyed every bit of it! Such a witty book!
ExSeraphim More than 1 year ago
If you're considering getting this version based on the "psychedelic peacock feathers", then you must know: This cover listing (as of this review) is the old version. The newest version in Dover Thrift Editions features a portrait of Voltaire on the front instead. Now on to what's really important. Candide is a fun story with several twists and turns that could only happen in fiction. The language is pleasurable if a bit misleading at times, though it is an older style. Some of the real places Candide visits and peoples he meets can be obscure to the uninitiated, but the notes in the back help somewhat. The book isn't very long, but I imagine one would return again and again since the plot is quite dense. A shame the back cover spoils the ending, even if it's in simple terms.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i am 17 years old, and i heard about candide from a musical conductor. i was playing euphonium in a band and he was guest conductor- he chose 'candide suite' for us to play. he told us about the story and how it applied to the music. i was so curious that afterwards i went out and bought it. reading candide made me enjoy the music and understand it's sarcasm and wit so much more. i suggest this book to anyone, young or old, to read with an open mind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book a few years ago, because I heard it was interesting. It certainly was! It's a short book about the adventures of Candide, an innocent young man who believes that the world he lives in is the best of all possible worlds - despite the horrible things that keep happening to him. I love this book because Voltaire, with great skill and humor, manages to show us the realities of life and his own philosphy of the world. Sad and dark core, clothed in Candide's sunny outlook.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Located at War and Peace result two! Cx
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Isaiah Mitchell Vergil. /// Age: 16. /// Looks: Dark brown hair, and eyes, with light tanned skin. He is 6'2 tall, and primarily wears t-shirts and jeans. His shoes are brown sandals.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eh. Just ask. XD
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Candide is a classic. As a philosophy major it was required reading. You will either enjoy this book, or you will be unable to understand it. The plot is meant to be ridiculous, because this is a satire. I often hear people complain about how "unrealistic" the plot is, they have no idea what they are talking about. It helps to go into this with some background info. And even if you buy it and hate it, this Dover Thrift Edition only costs $1.50.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is about the misadventures of a young man named Candide as he searches the globe for his lost love. Its surprising plot twists were both interesting and humorous and kept the reader guessing as to whom Candide would run into next. This book is somewhat ironic in the fact that throughout the story, Candide continues to quote a philosopher of his time named Pangloss by saying that the present world is the best and that nothing could be better, but in reality he continues to run into misfortune and defeat but retain this oppotomistic attitude. Definitely a classic that will make you think.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a humorous mini-masterpiece that, unfortunately not many people probably read today. The plot is so twisted and unpredictable and full of dark comedy, while the major theme is kept in front the whole time. Undoubtebly one of the classics of world literature.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Candide was banished from his own town after the king caught, him fooling around with his daughter. Eventually the king lops off his wiener and sends him to the next town. Finally in the next town Candide builds up the courage to mingle with the opposite sex and eventually they strip down and she realizes he has nothing there. I give this book three stars.