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A classic work of eighteenth century literature, Candide is Voltaire’s fast-paced novella of struggle and adventure that used satire as a form of social critique. Candide enlists the help of his tutor, Dr. Pangloss, to help him reunite with his estranged lover, Lady Cunegonde. But the journey welcomes many unexpected challenges, and overcoming or outwitting the dangers of the world shall be their greatest task.
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In a castle of Westphalia, belonging to the Baron of Thunder-ten-Tronckh, lived a youth, whom nature had endowed with the most gentle manners. His countenance was a true picture of his soul. He combined a true judgment with simplicity of spirit, which was the reason, I apprehend, of his being called Candide. The old servants of the family suspected him to have been the son of the Baron's sister, by a good, honest gentleman of the neighborhood, whom that young lady would never marry because he had been able to prove only seventy-one quarterings, the rest of his genealogical tree having been lost through the injuries of time.
The Baron was one of the most powerful lords in Westphalia, for his castle had not only a gate, but windows. His great hall, even, was hung with tapestry. All the dogs of his farmyards formed a pack of hounds at need; his grooms were his huntsmen; and the curate of the village was his grand almoner. They called him "My Lord," and laughed at all his stories.
The Baron's lady weighed about three hundred and fifty pounds, and was therefore a person of great consideration, and she did the honours of the house with a dignity that commanded still greater respect. Her daughter Cunegonde was seventeen years of age, fresh-coloured, comely, plump, and desirable. The Baron's son seemed to be in every respect worthy of his father. The Preceptor Pangloss was the oracle of the family, and little Candide heard his lessons with all the good faith of his age and character.
Pangloss was professor of metaphysico-theologico-cosmolo-nigology. He proved admirably that there is no effect without a cause, and that, in this best of all possible worlds, the Baron's castle was the most magnificent of castles, and his lady the best of all possible Baronesses.
"It is demonstrable," said he, "that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for all being created for an end, all is necessarily for the best end. Observe, that the nose has been formed to bear spectacles thus we have spectacles. Legs are visibly designed for stockings and we have stockings. Stones were made to be hewn, and to construct castles therefore my lord has a magnificent castle; for the greatest baron in the province ought to be the best lodged. Pigs were made to be eaten therefore we eat pork all the year round. Consequently they who assert that all is well have said a foolish thing, they should have said all is for the best."
Candide listened attentively and believed innocently; for he thought Miss Cunegonde extremely beautiful, though he never had the courage to tell her so. He concluded that after the happiness of being born Baron of Thunder-ten-Tronckh, the second degree of happiness was to be Miss Cunegonde, the third that of seeing her every day, and the fourth that of hearing Master Pangloss, the greatest philosopher of the whole province, and consequently of the whole world.
One day Cunegonde, while walking near the castle, in a little wood which they called a park, saw between the bushes, Dr. Pangloss giving a lesson in experimental natural philosophy to her mother's chamber-maid, a little brown wench, very pretty and very docile. As Miss Cunegonde had a great disposition for the sciences, she breathlessly observed the repeated experiments of which she was a witness; she clearly perceived the force of the Doctor's reasons, the effects, and the causes; she turned back greatly flurried, quite pensive, and filled with the desire to be learned; dreaming that she might well be a sufficient reason for young Candide, and he for her.
She met Candide on reaching the castle and blushed; Candide blushed also; she wished him good morrow in a faltering tone, and Candide spoke to her without knowing what he said. The next day after dinner, as they went from table, Cunegonde and Candide found themselves behind a screen; Cunegonde let fall her handkerchief, Candide picked it up, she took him innocently by the hand, the youth as innocently kissed the young lady's hand with particular vivacity, sensibility, and grace; their lips met, their eyes sparkled, their knees trembled, their hands strayed. Baron Thunder-ten-Tronckh passed near the screen and beholding this cause and effect chased Candide from the castle with great kicks on the backside; Cunegonde fainted away; she was boxed on the ears by the Baroness, as soon as she came to herself; and all was consternation in this most magnificent and most agreeable of all possible castles.
Copyright © 2005 by Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Table of Contents
Introduction Johnson Kent Wright xiii
Translator's Note xxvii
How Candide was raised in a noble mansion, and how he was driven away 1
What happened to Candide among the Bulgars 4
How Candide saved himself from the Bulgars, and what became of him 7
How Candide met his old philosophy teacher, Doctor Pangloss, and what had happened to him 10
Tempest, shipwreck, earthquake, and what happened to Doctor Pangloss, Candide, and Jacques the Anabaptist 14
How they had a beautiful auto-da-fe in order to put an end to the earthquake, and how Candide was flogged 18
How an old woman took care of Candide and how he got back his beloved 20
Cunegonde's story 22
What happened to Cunegonde, to Candide, to the Grand Inquisitor, and to a Jew 26
In what difficulty Candide, Cunegonde, and the old woman reached Cadiz, and how they boarded a ship 28
The old woman's story 31
More about the old woman's misfortunes 35
How Candide was forced to leave lovely Cunegonde and the old woman 40
How Candide and Cacambo were greeted by the Jesuits of Paraguay 43
How Candide killed his dear Cunegonde's brother 47
What happened to the two travelers with two girls, two monkeys,and the savages known as Oreillons 50
Arrival of Candide and his valet in the land of Eldorado, and what they saw there 55
What they saw in Eldorado 60
How they got to to Surinam, and how Candide came to know Martin 67
What happened at sea to Candide and Martin 74
Candide and Martin approach the French coast and argue 78
What happened to Candide and Martin in France 80
Candide and Martin reach the British coast, and what they see there 94
Paquette and Friar Giroflee 96
Visit to Lord Pococurante, a nobleman of Venice 102
A dinner that Candide and Martin shared with six foreigners, and who they were 109
Candide's journey to Constantinople 114
What happened to Candide, Cunegonde, Pangloss, Martin, etc. 119
How Candide found Cunegonde and the old woman 123
Suggested Reading 131
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A witty and satirical look at the life of Candide, the love of his life, his valet, philosophy mentor and others as they travel and live through horrors that are inflicted on them. Thank goodness for the Notes provided with the book because it helped me understand some of the terms used, and also provided a great deal of cultural and historical information.
In "Candide", Voltaire satirizes the idea of philosophical optimist. What, then, is the cause of evil, original sin, or bad karma? Voltaire is not interested in that question. Instead, he focuses on the individual's response to evil, as he advocates a practical, pragmatic way of looking at life.