Candide

Candide

Brought up in the household of a powerful Baron, Candide is an open-minded young man, whose tutor, Pangloss, has instilled in him the belief that 'all is for the best'. But when his love for the Baron's rosy-cheeked daughter is discovered, Candide is cast out to make his own way in the world. And so he and his various companions begin a breathless tour of Europe, South Ame...

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Title:Candide
Author:Voltaire
Rating:
ISBN:0486266893
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:94 pages

Candide Reviews

  • Chris
    Feb 18, 2008

    While fruitlessly searching for something decent to read, I invariably come across a ton of acclaim for total hacks being labeled as ‘master satirists’. God that pisses me off, especially since none of those books are worth a damn, and while the authors wrongly think they have something interesting or unique to say, the thing that really disheartens me is that someone out there agrees with them. For each of these books, there should be a simple label affixed to the front cover that reads ‘Not As

    While fruitlessly searching for something decent to read, I invariably come across a ton of acclaim for total hacks being labeled as ‘master satirists’. God that pisses me off, especially since none of those books are worth a damn, and while the authors wrongly think they have something interesting or unique to say, the thing that really disheartens me is that someone out there agrees with them. For each of these books, there should be a simple label affixed to the front cover that reads ‘Not As Good As Candide’. I seriously think this would alleviate about 30% of all my unresolved issues with the public’s perception of what makes for decent reading. The other 70% could be resolved by making major overhauls to a universal ‘required reading’ list: The Great Gatsby, eh….let’s just toss that crap out and put Cosmos on there, how about actually learning something while you read?

    I’m not about to give Candide a perfect score, and I don’t think that it deserves one, but I will say that it’s damn good. It seems that some of the popular philosophy making the rounds back in Francois-Marie’s day was just rubbing him wrong, especially the absolutely moronic concept that we live in ‘the best of all possible worlds’. Most people hear something that weak and simply binge drink to erase the awful memory that somebody out there could possibly believe that kind of shit. A lot of people write against these notions and somehow get their pitiful little whims published in the commentary of the local newspaper, and you wish you could choke those imbeciles as well, for giving more press to an already absurd concept. Lastly, there are the few that decide to sit down and write a satire about a hundred pages long to denounce what they consider absolute folly.

    And with Candide, Voltaire relentlessly attacks the ridiculous philosophy of Liebniz and his familiars, attempting to show that this is not, by any stretch of the imagination, the best of all possible worlds (mainly because of the large number of utter clods totally f--king up the works). Our hero, Candide, is a naive youth being reared in the castle of a Westphalian Baron, living the good life while being tutored by a total fraud and hack named Pangloss, the Baron’s oracle/scholar. The only hindrance in the life of our featherbedded little friend is that his love interest, Cunogonde, happens to be the Baron’s vivacious 17-year old daughter, and the Baron isn’t about to have his daughter betrothed to some chump lacking the amount of noble ancestry suitable to his standards. The soothing, silver tongue of Pangloss has made an indelible mark on Candide, however, and when the opportunity arises to plant a surreptitious smooch on Cunegonde, he’s busted in the act and driven from the castle “when the Baron saluted Candide with some notable kicks on the rear”. That’s just hilarious, 'notable kicks', and there’s something this appealing on basically every page to follow: as this is only just the beginning; the first misfortune to befall our thick-skulled friend, Candide. Each successive f--king he suffers along the way is not only totally hilariously described in an absurd fashion, but is usually resolved in awesomely unreal turns of fate (I don’t think I could make it more than five pages without either cracking a smile or outright laughing for all the right reasons). The Baron’s castle is sacked by Bulgarians following Candide’s exile, setting the lively and luscious Cunegonde in flight from Westphalia as well, and one unfortunate event after another befalls both lovers; with Candide’s life quickly becoming filled with floggings, poverty, the Inquisition. natural disasters, piracy, and getting pimp-jacked as a result of some devious manipulation, while his beloved is reduced to harlotry, being ravished or ravaged, and unbecoming servitude at the hands of her completely offensive captors and suitors. Wow.

    It probably isn’t the best book you’ll ever read, but I'd be pretty shocked to find out it wasn't even enjoyed.

  • Manny
    Nov 20, 2008

    -

    - It's OK, we can speak English.

    , as one might say.

    -

    I mean, good! So, what do you make of twenty-first century Britain?

    -

    I am reading of your little

    with the expenses of the Houses of Parliament. It is a great moment for

    . Now there will be

    , the people will be able to choose better representatives, we will see that the country ha

    -

    - It's OK, we can speak English.

    , as one might say.

    -

    I mean, good! So, what do you make of twenty-first century Britain?

    -

    I am reading of your little

    with the expenses of the Houses of Parliament. It is a great moment for

    . Now there will be

    , the people will be able to choose better representatives, we will see that the country has become stronger as a result...

    - So really it was a good thing?

    - Oh, of course, all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds!

    - What? Including, I don't know, the Iraq War?

    -

    It is similar. If M. Bush had not started this very unpopular war, then the American voters would never have decided to choose M. Obama, who you can see is the best possible

    you could have at this

    ...

    - But I think they chose him, more than anything else, because of the economic meltdown?

    -

    , the war on its own would not have been enough,

    also was necessary. All is for the best!

    - M. Candide, you think that global warming and the impending collapse of the world's climate is also for the best?

    -

    Because of the global warming,

    will be forced to make new

    , people in all countries will start to work together, and we will enter a new golden age. Soon it will be as in

    , that I visited once in

    ...

    - Um. So I suppose that the spread of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, genocide in Rwanda and Rush Limbaugh are also good things when you look at them from the right angle?

    -

    First,

    . By making drug companies and researchers focus on...

    - No, wait. Forget AIDS. What about Stephenie Meyer? Is she a good thing too?

    -

    this book,

    ... how do you say, "Twilight"...

    . If only my dear Doctor Pangloss was here, he could explain to you...

  • Chris
    Jun 29, 2009

    Zounds! This book is wildly entertaining and I giggled all the way through Candide's awful adventures. Who would have thought that murder, rape, slavery, sexual exploitation, natural disaster, pillaging, theft, and every other oppression imaginable could be so funny?

    Here's some pretty good insight from the old woman with one buttock:

    Zounds! This book is wildly entertaining and I giggled all the way through Candide's awful adventures. Who would have thought that murder, rape, slavery, sexual exploitation, natural disaster, pillaging, theft, and every other oppression imaginable could be so funny?

    Here's some pretty good insight from the old woman with one buttock:

    We can try to remain optimistic and rationalize that the horrors we witness are all a part of some plan but the choice to keep on living is a truly irrational one given all of the evidence available for us to consider. We go on living against our better judgment and in spite of all of our misery. It is what we were born to do.

  • K.D. Absolutely
    Jul 18, 2009

    If an English word came from a book's character, that must be something. If the book was written and first published in the 18th century and many people still read it up to now, that must be really something.

    I thought Voltaire's

    was a difficult boring slow long read. Wrong. Exactly the opposite. It's an easy, very entertaining, fast-paced and short (only 100 page

    If an English word came from a book's character, that must be something. If the book was written and first published in the 18th century and many people still read it up to now, that must be really something.

    I thought Voltaire's

    was a difficult boring slow long read. Wrong. Exactly the opposite. It's an easy, very entertaining, fast-paced and short (only 100 pages) read. If you are still scared of reading classics (pre-1900), give this one a try. You will love this!

    It tells a story of a man named

    who falls in love with a materialistic but very beautiful

    . Her barron father of the lady does not approve of the affair so he kicks Candide out from house. So, Candide wanders around and meets all the misfortunes along the way. The novel is a

    as the long travel, meeting a lot of people and experiencing all the fortunes and misfortunes along the way, ends up with Candide enjoying his life and tending the beautiful garden of his estate.

    This is the reason why I, after more than 3 years, went to our frontyard this morning and tended my overgrown garden. I pruned the trees and the shrubs, trimmed the plants, pulled out some weeds while my daughter helped in shooing away big red ants and removing the cobwebs. Reading has these all positive effects on me. It can even remind me of the things that I have been forgetting for a long time. This novel closes with this line:

    . When I finished reading it last night, I said, why not?

    Its complete title is

    because of Candide's tutor,

    who is an extreme optimist that Candide learns to always look at the positive side of things. You may say that I liked this book because of that. Wrong. The positivity of Dr. Pangloss is one for the books as it verges on stupidity and it is so funny when Candide remembers him and says

    Having an English word culled from his name is really appropriate. He is really one for the books.

    A life err routine-changing novel since I am gardening again after 3 long years of doing nothing at home but reading, reading and reading...

    Except of course when am I at Goodreads reading book reviews of my friends, clicking the Like button and when I am in front of my desktop killing zombies by throwing plants at them.

    I liked this book!

  • Fabian
    Mar 11, 2010

    Slightly disappointed with the next-Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I took on this classic in one sitting.

    JESUS!

    Where has this one been all my life? I adore "Candide" because it is rife with adventure, it is a speedy read, and at the very end you experience a vortex of feelings and NOVEL concepts. It transcends literature itself.

    Compare this to Dante. To Shakespeare. I could not help but smile at all the awful misadventures of our poor fool. This is made for someone, like me, who thinks "The Alchemist"

    Slightly disappointed with the next-Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I took on this classic in one sitting.

    JESUS!

    Where has this one been all my life? I adore "Candide" because it is rife with adventure, it is a speedy read, and at the very end you experience a vortex of feelings and NOVEL concepts. It transcends literature itself.

    Compare this to Dante. To Shakespeare. I could not help but smile at all the awful misadventures of our poor fool. This is made for someone, like me, who thinks "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho isn't all that.

    I even told G that I was put off by the cover--that is, not until the entire book is ravished and torn apart by the ravenous reader does the simple, almost academic print of a globe in this edition of "Candide" make sense.

    So...

    et Voila! Voltaire.

    Easily Top Ten.

  • Rowena
    Feb 21, 2011

    This is a truly hilarious satire which starts with poor Candide being kicked out of the castle where he was born and brought up, after he falls in love with the baron’s daughter, Cunegonde. Then his troubles begin, and he ends up travelling all around the world looking for his beloved.

    Candide experiences trial after trial, each one as bad and as far-fetched as the last. However, the way in which these trials were described did not make one feel too sorry for him; the story had more of the feel o

    This is a truly hilarious satire which starts with poor Candide being kicked out of the castle where he was born and brought up, after he falls in love with the baron’s daughter, Cunegonde. Then his troubles begin, and he ends up travelling all around the world looking for his beloved.

    Candide experiences trial after trial, each one as bad and as far-fetched as the last. However, the way in which these trials were described did not make one feel too sorry for him; the story had more of the feel of a tragicomedy, especially with the speed of events and the gross exaggerations.

    Candide’s mentor, the philosopher, Pangloss, was such an infuriating yet funny character. He maintains that “…everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds” and stubbornly sticks by this maxim. This book is a bildungsroman of sorts because we see what Candide makes of that supposition throughout his trials.

    Voltaire spares nobody in his attack on society. “Figure to yourself all the contradictions, and all the absurdities possible, and you will find them in the church, in the government, in the tribunals, and in the theatres of this droll nation.”

    I can only imagine what an uproar this book must have created when it was first published. All in all, a very funny book.

  • David Lentz
    Sep 15, 2011

    "Candide" is an accessible masterpiece which demonstrated to the world Volatire's genius as a satirist. The eponymous Candide is a young man tutored by an optimist who is convinced according to the cause and effect philosophy of Leibniz and perhaps is best summarized in Voltaire's leitmotif that human beings live in the "best of all possible worlds." Alexander Pope rather laughably made the same outrageous claim in his "Essay on Man" in which he writes, "Everything that is is right." How can thi

    "Candide" is an accessible masterpiece which demonstrated to the world Volatire's genius as a satirist. The eponymous Candide is a young man tutored by an optimist who is convinced according to the cause and effect philosophy of Leibniz and perhaps is best summarized in Voltaire's leitmotif that human beings live in the "best of all possible worlds." Alexander Pope rather laughably made the same outrageous claim in his "Essay on Man" in which he writes, "Everything that is is right." How can this be so, you may well ask? Here is the nut of the problem: it seems that a perfect God has created a highly imperfect world. How can a good, omnipotent, loving God create a world in which so much catastrophic evil exists and which is so often allowed even to thrive? It is a question for the ages. Theologians argue that God created mankind with free will and without it they would simply be puppets without the freedom to make choices. Theologians also point out that the majority of the evil resident in our world is perpetuated on vast masses of humanity by other human beings, not God, and that evil is the cause and effect of conflicting self-interests imposed by people with more power upon the less powerful. But this point doesn't explain why a loving, all-powerful God would allow any of it to exist and endure. Why not cast down all the devils and give his human creatures a perfect garden, a paradise on earth, without snakes anywhere? Why did God create the serpent in the Garden of Eden in the first place? Voltaire, like Rousseau, was an avid gardener and Voltaire jests at Rousseau's good faith in the "Confessions" as if the latter were simply a country bumpkin. But gardens have a great deal of meaning in "Candide" as in, for example, Milton's "Paradise Lost" or "Genesis" and are thematically significant for Voltaire who concludes that gardens are, after all, a wise place to reside out of harm's way. Voltaire absolutely skewers the optimistic cause and effect of Pope and Leibniz with a catalog of tragicomic catastrophes which plague not only Candide and Pangloss but all of mankind infinitely. Consider the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 which burst suddenly out of nowhere with all its raging fires and tidal waves to destroy nearly all of the city and the ships in its harbor. Is there no end even to the great catastrophes in which man has no hand but from which we are compelled to suffer except for God's grace? Voltaire's vivid and piercing wit is hilarious as he brazenly brings parody to places high and low, near and far, rich and poor to depict our world as the ultimate dystopia. In his novel Candide can only find a semblance of happiness in El Dorado, a rich, hidden world in South America: in other words, happiness in real life can only be found in a utopia without a basis for reality. So what are we to deduce about Candide? Is he a sometimes violent fool for all his naivete? And is Pangloss not a buffoon who earns his suffering so extensively at every turn of the road for his unjustified, unbridled optimism? Or are they heroic for their optimism despite the epic disasters that nearly devastate them time after time. Or is their fate really just the human condition and are they both just being all too human? You decide. In the course of your reading of this brief novel you may discover, as I did, that the optimists are constantly challenged by the gap between their optimism and reality, and that the pessimists are doomed to be the unhappiest people on the planet because they cannot imagine a world without misery and, thereby, create it for themselves wherever it doesn't really already exist. Take your pick of perspectives as a "free" human being and challenge your own assumptions about the human condition. Clearly, Balzac would seem to agree with his compatriot, Voltaire, that whatever you make of life on this earth, surely it is no less than an epic human comedy. At least in this life, thankfully, if you can stand back far enough, there is, God knows, no end to the laughter of the human condition.

  • Lizzy
    Oct 07, 2015

    Roger made me think: what major literature work, as nothing less would do!, that I read would fit the definition of

    ? Of course,

    came up front to my mind. And what makes Candide so brilliant and hilarious? Not one think, but various factors combined:

    : a hopelessly naïve protagonist, for whom you ha

    Roger made me think: what major literature work, as nothing less would do!, that I read would fit the definition of

    ? Of course,

    came up front to my mind. And what makes Candide so brilliant and hilarious? Not one think, but various factors combined:

    : a hopelessly naïve protagonist, for whom you have no choice but be sympathetic with; wastrel nobles, besides a motley group from priests to prostitutes, philosophers (how could Voltaire not include a parody of himself?) ending with fanatics and fiends;

    : The plot is dizzying, hectic and horrifying, while its protagonist goes from nobility to serfdom, from penury to extravagance, from significance and misery to anonymity and contentment. Wholly unconventional! And its readers become dazzled by its unfolding events that that despite being absurd are also utterly real;

    : as you turn the pages you realize that’s he is there, peeking from behind the curtains into the stage, whispering to you:

    Oh, yes! So, a long string of jokes creeps from the pages to the reader, absurdities that are not so absurd; and enriches the reading experience with insight into its context.

    reveals itself as a

    Journal of genuine charitable naivety. The tragedies and violence are never ending, more than anybody’s fair share. Poor Candide, he skips from one misadventure to another: gets kicked out of his home; is drafted into the army; gains a fortune, loses his fortune; chases the object of his desire all over the world:

    At all his disasters and misfortunes, his teacher and traveling companion Dr. Pangloss simply rationalizes:

    This is the best possible world we live in, and the bad things that occur happen to be the best to show us the blessing of what we have. Is that it?

    Voltaire goes further:

    How could it not be more absurd and hilarious! And so Voltaire succeeds in ridiculing his world. And, in a way, our own!

    Exhausted, Candide finally finds his just-retreat

    Yes, Candide is one of my favorite books, and it occupies a very special place in that collection.

  • Candi
    May 16, 2016

    I have to admit straightaway that in my youth, I was most like the naïve and often foolish Candide, believing in the teachings of the optimistic Dr. Pangloss that

    . Thou

    I have to admit straightaway that in my youth, I was most like the naïve and often foolish Candide, believing in the teachings of the optimistic Dr. Pangloss that

    . Though not expelled from my castle and

    for falling in love with the wrong young man and forcing the wrath of his parent to fall upon my shoulders, I did leave my humble abode to find independence, seek fortune and to live happily ever after. I knew there existed hardships in the world, but they could never really affect me personally, could they? Well, I am thankful to say that such misfortunes did not fall directly upon me as they did for Candide and the other characters of this penetrating and often comical little book. After his expulsion from the castle of Westphalia, Candide experiences, witnesses and hears about one horrific calamity after another as he travels the world – murder, war, rape, the Inquisition, theft, natural disasters and more. The events are often quite shocking and sometimes on the verge of being simply absurd (when you read about the old woman you will see what I mean here). I may not have been the wretched victim of such outrageous atrocities, yet as I began to make my own way in the world I grew to understand that such evil really did exist all around me. Candide, while not completely disillusioned, begins to question the faith of the ever so hopeful Dr. Pangloss. If given the opportunity to discuss what he has endured with this great philosopher, Candide believes Pangloss

    So, Candide matures and hardens a bit, but continues on with a morsel of optimism. As he continues his voyage, Candide deliberately seeks to find

    and

    man to travel with him. Thus he meets Martin. We have all probably met a Martin. Some days, when I hear about the ugliness in the world, I feel like a Martin myself. Martin maintains that God has abandoned this world. He declares

    And so, how does one continue to live in this world? Should one bear extreme optimism like Dr. Pangloss or extreme pessimism like Martin? Is there something in between that allows us not to view the world with rose-colored glasses and ignorance but yet one that does not drown us in negativity and despair? One perhaps must take what we have been given, make the best of it, and find some rewarding work (whether that be a career, raising a family, or utilizing our talents in some way). As Candide discovered –

    .

    A copy of this little satirical piece has been sitting on my basement shelf for perhaps 20 years. I don’t know where it came from, but I’m happy to say that I have finally picked it up and absorbed its lessons. I’m not certain if I understood the message correctly, but I think I did - at least in my own way. I liked this book. I didn’t necessarily love the way it was told, perhaps a bit silly and over the top for my liking, but I adored the little message it carried. No doubt Voltaire was brilliant and this book has endured for good reason. It’s a quick little read and worth your time. 3.5 stars

  • James Lafayette  Tivendale
    Nov 27, 2016

    Voltaire's novel introduces the reader to Candide, a wide-eyed, calm and slightly bland young gentleman who resides at Castle Westphalia and who believes in the philosophy that "everything in the world is for the best." One of the first scenes is filled with two emotional opposites for Candide who first gets to kiss his love, Cunegonde behind a screen, only to then be kicked out of the castle, literally, by the Baron of Thunder-ten-Tronckh.

    Here then commence Candide's incredible, fantastical ad

    Voltaire's novel introduces the reader to Candide, a wide-eyed, calm and slightly bland young gentleman who resides at Castle Westphalia and who believes in the philosophy that "everything in the world is for the best." One of the first scenes is filled with two emotional opposites for Candide who first gets to kiss his love, Cunegonde behind a screen, only to then be kicked out of the castle, literally, by the Baron of Thunder-ten-Tronckh.

    Here then commence Candide's incredible, fantastical adventure which takes him all over the globe with his mind ever believing in "The Folly of Optimism". From being a soldier in the Bulgarian army to being shipwrecked, being involved with the aftermath of an earthquake to being robbed and swindled more times than seems fair. Our hero has a lot of bad luck. One of the points of this book though is to present that it isn't just Candide that bad things happen to and that the world is just pretty horrible. Tragic things happen to all our main characters including philosopher Dr. Pangloss and a nice old lady who saved Candide from certain death. The tale is humorously and satirically presented in short, sharp chapters by Voltaire. Some descriptions of doom and degradation are presented in a comic fashion because if they were not they might be too unspeakable to keep us interested in reading about the negativity and heartlessness of humans. The novel features all sorts of nastiness such as rape, murder, prostitution and slavery among others. The only part of this book where Voltaire excludes any use of humour is when he talks about slavery after we meet a mutilated man. This is quite poignant when presenting all the diabolical activities that slavery doesn't deserve any humour - arguably making this the crime Voltaire begrudges the most in this world.

    Candide and his valet Cacambo, after nearly being eaten by indigenous people; arrive in Voltaire's Utopia El Dorado. This was my favourite section of the book as this unobtainable existence is a polar opposite of everything that the two young men have faced so far. Gold and diamonds litter the streets as pebbles, there is no law, science advances to make the Western world jealous, no prisons and is the opposite to the popular viewpoint of the story that "all is misery and illusion". The main plot progression throughout the book is Candide trying to find his love Cunegonde as he wishes to marry her which is his reason for (stupidly in my opinion) leaving this wonderful place.

    The whole cast is likable. Some of the times they meet up with friends spontaneously all over the world is amazingly far fetched. Two of the main characters are previously mentioned optimistic philosopher Dr. Pangloss and ultimately pessimistic scholar and travel companion of Candide's, Martin. The juxtaposition here is very interesting. It is very "black and white" for these extreme viewpoints. There is no compromise or middle ground. A great amount of philosophy is discussed throughout the book in conversations usually prompted by Candide who wants answers to how the world works. It may very well be that he changes his optimistic opinion throughout the narrative.

    I probably shouldn't like a book with so much negativity but it is incredibly written. It reminded me of Verne's - Around The World In Eighty Days. Both being high octane adventures transversing across the globe but with Candide's undertones being a lot more macabre.

    My favourite scene was when Candide discusses classic literature such as Homer, Virgil and Horace to a King who dislikes everything. "You will agree that this is the happiest of mortals, for he is above everything he possesses." Negativity and hatred is a main theme throughout the whole story.

    The problem with reviewing classic literature like this is that many greater wordsmiths over centuries have written more poetic and moving opinions. Yet, I enjoyed the book so much I had to write down a few blurbs of thoughts however much the quality is lacking compared to previous critics.

    Thanks for reading, James.