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Candide is the most famous of Voltaire's "philosophical tales," in which he combined witty improbabilities with the sanest of good sense. First published in 1759, it was an instant bestseller and has come to be regarded as one of the key texts of the Enlightenment. What Candide does for chivalric romance, the other tales in this selection--Micromegas, Zadig, The Ingenu, an Candide is the most famous of Voltaire's "philosophical tales," in which he combined witty improbabilities with the sanest of good sense. First published in 1759, it was an instant bestseller and has come to be regarded as one of the key texts of the Enlightenment. What Candide does for chivalric romance, the other tales in this selection--Micromegas, Zadig, The Ingenu, and The White Bull--do for science fiction, the Oriental tale, the sentimental novel, and the Old Testament. The most extensive one-volume selection currently available, this new edition includes a new verse translation of the story Voltaire based on Chaucer's The Wife of Bath's Tale: What Pleases the Ladies and opens with a revised introduction that reflects recent critical debates, including a new section on Candide.


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Candide is the most famous of Voltaire's "philosophical tales," in which he combined witty improbabilities with the sanest of good sense. First published in 1759, it was an instant bestseller and has come to be regarded as one of the key texts of the Enlightenment. What Candide does for chivalric romance, the other tales in this selection--Micromegas, Zadig, The Ingenu, an Candide is the most famous of Voltaire's "philosophical tales," in which he combined witty improbabilities with the sanest of good sense. First published in 1759, it was an instant bestseller and has come to be regarded as one of the key texts of the Enlightenment. What Candide does for chivalric romance, the other tales in this selection--Micromegas, Zadig, The Ingenu, and The White Bull--do for science fiction, the Oriental tale, the sentimental novel, and the Old Testament. The most extensive one-volume selection currently available, this new edition includes a new verse translation of the story Voltaire based on Chaucer's The Wife of Bath's Tale: What Pleases the Ladies and opens with a revised introduction that reflects recent critical debates, including a new section on Candide.

30 review for Candide and Other Stories (World's Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Vacca

    After dismissing Candide as something probably dumb for the better part of twelve years, I decided to finally read Voltaire’s most famous work, thanks to the prodding of fellow GR-er Nathan “N.R.” Gaddis , who in turn gets all his best ideas from Steven Moore, such as choosing this English translation as opposed to all the others. In any case, I’m happy to report that Roger Pearson’s translation of Candide is the cat’s pyjamas. Never has rape, mutilation, murder, amputations, public burnings an After dismissing Candide as something probably dumb for the better part of twelve years, I decided to finally read Voltaire’s most famous work, thanks to the prodding of fellow GR-er Nathan “N.R.” Gaddis , who in turn gets all his best ideas from Steven Moore, such as choosing this English translation as opposed to all the others. In any case, I’m happy to report that Roger Pearson’s translation of Candide is the cat’s pyjamas. Never has rape, mutilation, murder, amputations, public burnings and cannibalism been as funny as this! Voltaire’s masterpiece is a piss-take on optimism (as a branch of philosophy, but it still works outside of that context) dressed-up as a picaresque bildungsroman, staring Candide, the haplessly naïve misfortunate who is jostled ceaselessly about by political carnage, religious cruelty and natural disasters, as he tries to reunite with the love his life. Weighing in at under a hundred pages, this novella is a satirical gem of 18th century Enlightened Literature. The other pieces packed into this collection are fun philosophical tales, but none are as rambunctiously readable as the aforementioned star of the show. “Micromegas” uses the Rabelaisian comedic device of giants to make a brief report regarding an interplanetary visit to Earth from a pair of ginormous-as-fuck scholars and the debate on the silliness of metaphysics that followed.”Zandig” offers some Oriental spice with another coming-of-age story about its titular hero making a journey from humble beginnings to kingly rewards, all the while maintaining his unerring rationalism and morality. “The Ingenu” is yet another coming-of-age story, but this time in the classic Babe: Pig in the City mode. A brave no-nonsense Indian (don’t worry, it is quickly revealed that he is a full-blooded European orphan, phew!) is shipped over to France and becomes involved in a hand-wringing romantic potboiler that offers Voltaire ample opportunity to make a farce of empty-headed religious mores as well as makes use of his title character as a model for what our author saw as the ideal education, one that eschews stale philosophies, decrepit theologies, and all the other hang-ups any given society is bound to try and stuff down our individual/collective throats. The rest of the collection tackles the power of tale-telling with “The White Bull” and “What Pleases the Lady”. The former is an absurdist blending of biblical parables and “heathen” fantasies that celebrates the power of telling tales; the latter—in a mind-blowing display of translation as a game of telephone (this is a translation of a translation that is turn being translated into English)—is a re-telling of Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath’s Tale,” that stays chastely faithful to its source material with only a few additions of some naughty verse and a friendly denouement about why we need to keep telling each other stories, damnit! Don't know if I'll get around to reading more Voltaire, but this collection makes for a nice introduction to the man and his philosophic tales that encapsulate his life-long belief in rationality and self-improvement on one's own terms.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    Having already read Candide, Zadig and Micromegas, I skipped to the following: What pleases the ladies - a poem about a knight making a trip to Rome, makes a detour to Paris where a does harm to a pretty shop-girl's eggs and virtue so is brought before the queen; he is sentenced to hang unless he can gain pardon by finding "what pleases all the fair". (view spoiler)[ "Whate’er her qualities may be, Desires to bear both night and day O’er all about her sovereign sway: Woman would always fain comman Having already read Candide, Zadig and Micromegas, I skipped to the following: What pleases the ladies - a poem about a knight making a trip to Rome, makes a detour to Paris where a does harm to a pretty shop-girl's eggs and virtue so is brought before the queen; he is sentenced to hang unless he can gain pardon by finding "what pleases all the fair". (view spoiler)[ "Whate’er her qualities may be, Desires to bear both night and day O’er all about her sovereign sway: Woman would always fain command, If I lie, hang me out of hand." (hide spoiler)] (3 stars) The Ingénu - a ship of English merchants are come to France to trade bringing Ingenu, who was born of French parents (but he does not know that until his aunt and uncle recognize him) but raised as Huron Native American. As he tries to integrate into French society satirizes religious doctrine, as well as the folly and injustices of French society (2 stars) The white bull - a satirical romance in which princess Amasidia, daughter of Amasis, King of Tanis in Egypt (2 stars)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    Largely a critique of Leibnitz's 18C optimism, ours the "best of all possible worlds," Candide the character brings earnest sincerity to his explorations. They range from his teacher Pangloss's etiology of syphillis: Paquette from an erudite Franciscan, who had it from an elderly countess, who had it from a Capt. of cavalry...all the way back to a Jesuit, who during his novitiate had it from a companion of Columbus. Candide says, This is from the devil! Which Pangloss, a student of Leibnitz, den Largely a critique of Leibnitz's 18C optimism, ours the "best of all possible worlds," Candide the character brings earnest sincerity to his explorations. They range from his teacher Pangloss's etiology of syphillis: Paquette from an erudite Franciscan, who had it from an elderly countess, who had it from a Capt. of cavalry...all the way back to a Jesuit, who during his novitiate had it from a companion of Columbus. Candide says, This is from the devil! Which Pangloss, a student of Leibnitz, denies, "If Columbus had not caught, on an American island, this sickness--we should have had neither chocolate nor cochineal [purple dye]" (end of Ch.4). Candide to himself, "If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others like?" (end of Ch.6, and throughout). Voltaire's irony here depends upon a regenerative circularity: though Candide's love Cunégonde is raped and murdered, she reappears a few chapters later. What also appears is steady anti-semiticism which shocks a modern reader, but should not necessarily consign Voltaire to the trash-heap. (Virtually all my friends since college are Jews, so I defer to their judgement here.) When Candide kills both Inquisitor and Jew, he laments the loss of his teacher Pangloss, "If he had not been hanged, he would give us good advice in their hour of need..."(Ch.9, start). Instead, they turn to an old woman, whose rescuer informs her, "I am from Naples, where they caponize two or three thousand children every year; some die of it, others acquire a voice more beautiful than any woman's [the opera castrati]"(Ch.12, start). Cacambo, who rescues them in Paraguay, reflects on cannibalism, "Though we Europeans don't excercise our right to eat our neighbors, the reason is simply that we find it easy to get a good meal elsewhere; but you don't have our resources, and we agree that it's certainly better to eat your enemies than to let the crow and vultures have the fruit of your victory"(Ch.16). Voltaire concudes this short work with Ch. 30, the reunion of Candide and his mentors Pangloss and Cacombo and the old woman, as well as his mistress Cunégonde (whose father the Baron they send away). Another mentor, the Lutheran Martin, is "firmly persuaded that things are just as bad wherever you go." Ending in Turkey, they find a man ignorant of the news from Constantinople, who says, "those who meddle in public business sometimes perish miserably, and they deserve their fate." He offers his guests cream sherberts flavored with citron, lime, pistachio, and mocha coffee. Candide assumes he must have enormous, splendid property? No, "twenty acres, which I cultivate with my children, and the work keeps us from three great evils, boredom, vice, and poverty." Candide concludes, "this venerable man seems to have found a fate preferable to the six kings with whom we have dined." Pangloss lists the perils of great place: Absalon was hung up by the hair and pierced with three darts; you know how death came to Croesus, Pyrrhus, Perseus, Hannibal, Jugurtha...Rich II of England, Henry Vi, Richard III, Mary Stuart, Charles I..." "I know also, said Candide, that we must cultivate our garden." [See also my review of Voltaire's Dictionnaire Philosophique in French; I cannot find my French Candide just now.]

  4. 4 out of 5

    Elentarri

    TITLE: Candide and Other Stories AUTHOR: Voltaire TRANSLATOR: Roger Pearson EDITION: Oxford World's Classics ISBN-13: 9780199535613 I enjoyed the poem "What Pleases the Ladies?" and the short stories "Micromegas" and "The White Bull", but "Candide", "Zadig" and "The Ingenu" I found to be a bit tedious and long winded even though they weren't all that long. Unfortunately, world classics don't seem to appeal to me much. I can't say how accurate the translation is but it flows nicely without being clunk TITLE: Candide and Other Stories AUTHOR: Voltaire TRANSLATOR: Roger Pearson EDITION: Oxford World's Classics ISBN-13: 9780199535613 I enjoyed the poem "What Pleases the Ladies?" and the short stories "Micromegas" and "The White Bull", but "Candide", "Zadig" and "The Ingenu" I found to be a bit tedious and long winded even though they weren't all that long. Unfortunately, world classics don't seem to appeal to me much. I can't say how accurate the translation is but it flows nicely without being clunky. The notes at the back are helpful. I just wish they would stick the damn notes at the bottom of the relevant page instead of making the reading flip to the back all the time.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    At seven stars for Candide, and three stars for the other nearly identical Voltaire works included in this book (Ingenu, White Bull, Zadig and Micromegas), the average neatly comes out to a hearty five stars. I'm not sure if it's just the work of this translator, but the writing and biting sarcasm feels very modern; perhaps Voltaire's antipathy is something people of any age can relate to. The writing easily reaches out through the ages, giving a finger to the modern reader in a sarcastic voice At seven stars for Candide, and three stars for the other nearly identical Voltaire works included in this book (Ingenu, White Bull, Zadig and Micromegas), the average neatly comes out to a hearty five stars. I'm not sure if it's just the work of this translator, but the writing and biting sarcasm feels very modern; perhaps Voltaire's antipathy is something people of any age can relate to. The writing easily reaches out through the ages, giving a finger to the modern reader in a sarcastic voice and farcical humor reminiscent of Woody Allen. Can't recommend it highly enough.

  6. 4 out of 5

    John Maberry

    I read this book while in college, in a Humanities class. It moved and influenced me greatly as it came early on in my quest to come to grips with the disillusionment that my experiences in Vietnam caused me. I found myself identifying with Candide. For those of you old enough to remember Hubert Humphrey, he once referred to the Vietnam War as "our great adventure and a wonderful one it is." I imagined him as a latter day Pangloss. Professor Pangloss had a ready perspective on life in this world I read this book while in college, in a Humanities class. It moved and influenced me greatly as it came early on in my quest to come to grips with the disillusionment that my experiences in Vietnam caused me. I found myself identifying with Candide. For those of you old enough to remember Hubert Humphrey, he once referred to the Vietnam War as "our great adventure and a wonderful one it is." I imagined him as a latter day Pangloss. Professor Pangloss had a ready perspective on life in this world--"everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds." If God created it, it must be wonderful. Suffering? It must be for the best; how could it be otherwise? Rape, robbery, torture--all for the best. After experiencing all manner of sufferings or viewing the suffering of others, Candide finds it difficult to accept Pangloss's optimism. He hooks up with the pessimist Martin. Eventually, Candide comes to realize that cause and effect in the world does exist. Simple work, rather than idle philosophical speculation--toiling in the garden, will yield the appropriate balance. It presages my own eventual acceptance of the notion of karma--a much more rational explanation of events in one's life, along with a means to make the best of them not by foolishly accepting them in Panglossian terms but taking control of one's own life. If you didn't read it in college, read it now. Voltaire makes contemporary satirists look like Pollyannas.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Adriane Devries

    Candide is perhaps sixteenth-century French philosopher Voltaire’s most memorable work. It is his anthem of a world view that challenges the naïve notion that all of man’s troubled existence is “the best of all possible worlds.” Voltaire moves his protagonist Candide through every conceivable trauma available in his time period: enlistment in the army, beatings, shipwrecking, robbery, torture by the Inquisition, and separation from his beloved Cunégonde, for whom all his sufferings began; expose Candide is perhaps sixteenth-century French philosopher Voltaire’s most memorable work. It is his anthem of a world view that challenges the naïve notion that all of man’s troubled existence is “the best of all possible worlds.” Voltaire moves his protagonist Candide through every conceivable trauma available in his time period: enlistment in the army, beatings, shipwrecking, robbery, torture by the Inquisition, and separation from his beloved Cunégonde, for whom all his sufferings began; exposes humanity’s corruption in government and religion; and shows the futility in the pursuits of philosophy, science, and even romance. Having plumbed the depths of worldy pleasures, fancy philosophies and fantastic quests, Candide ultimately resolves, like the writer of Ecclesiastes, that all is uniformly meaningless, and that we must therefore choose with resourceful intent to “cultivate our garden” amidst the detritus of life. “’Let’s work, then…It is the only way to make life bearable.’” Though pessimistic at its core, Candide was incredibly interesting, and often darkly amusing, as was the author’s intent. Here is a brilliant and satiric mind that lived hundreds of years ago that came to the same conclusion of the millennia: we choose our mindset, and live and die upon it, either in joy or despair.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lesle

    I was surprised, Candide is a short novel, but is jammed packed with adventures and devastation. The philosophy that was instilled on Candide (who is down to earth) is “All things happen for good” and “There is no effect without a cause.” He joins the Bulgarian Army and from there life takes good (from kindness) and bad (torturous) turns for him. After his life is saved yet again he is brought back to his true love and performs a double murder. He takes the two women to the New World in hopes of I was surprised, Candide is a short novel, but is jammed packed with adventures and devastation. The philosophy that was instilled on Candide (who is down to earth) is “All things happen for good” and “There is no effect without a cause.” He joins the Bulgarian Army and from there life takes good (from kindness) and bad (torturous) turns for him. After his life is saved yet again he is brought back to his true love and performs a double murder. He takes the two women to the New World in hopes of a new life. Where life serves him the same plate as before. He decides to return to Venice and life again serves up a horrendous amount of 'Not again!' and 'This guy never catches a break!' Finally in the end he buys his true love, ugly and beaten, and the old women. He purchases a Turkish farm and they all live there as a family. The satire on relationships, money, religion and the evilness of people is what the story is about. One would think a 'religious person' would always live a spiritual and sacred life, not. One raised 'affluent' would always live that life and never be treated as a slave. You are led to believe characters are killed, but come back later, unexpected. My conclusion from the read is “The experiences in life whether good or bad are what makes us a well rounded soul.”

  9. 4 out of 5

    Laurien

    I only read Candide but I feel like that's enough Voltaire for now, although I did enjoy exploring the text in detail. His use of satire and intelligent vocabulary makes for an enjoyable read, but knowing the background information kinda completes the experience. A good read for my course yay

  10. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    There may be some dispute about what the purpose of philosophy should be, but one strong contender is that it should be about seeking the good life and finding happiness. In this selection of stories, Voltaire, the philosopher’s anti-philosopher, shows many characters seeking happiness in different ways, and we get to see just how elusive that happiness is. This volume comprises six stories. Candide is of course the most famous one, and tells the tale of a young man dismissed as a servant and for There may be some dispute about what the purpose of philosophy should be, but one strong contender is that it should be about seeking the good life and finding happiness. In this selection of stories, Voltaire, the philosopher’s anti-philosopher, shows many characters seeking happiness in different ways, and we get to see just how elusive that happiness is. This volume comprises six stories. Candide is of course the most famous one, and tells the tale of a young man dismissed as a servant and forced to fend for himself in the world. He is accompanied by an optimistic philosopher called Pangloss who believes that we live in the best of all possible worlds, but this is constantly belied by the series of terrible disasters and atrocities that are experienced or witnessed by Candide and his companions. Micromegas is a shorter story about giants from outer space who commune with the philosophers of Earth. The story ends in a discussion about the soul, in which the giants laugh at the more arrogant pretentions to human superiority that are expressed. Zadig is the tale of a philosopher who keeps hoping that the pursuit of virtue will bring him happiness, but he passes from one misfortune to another. He finally reconciles himself to the notion that everything is intended for the best (a conclusion strangely at odds with Candide), but the tale ends ambiguously with a happy ending, followed by a few more events that tail off. In the only poem of the collection, What Pleases the Ladies, a knight is helped to glory by an old crone, but she insists on his marrying her and consummating the marriage. Though repelled by the old woman, he agrees to do so, and is rewarded when she turns out to be a beautiful fairy. For The Ingenu, we have the tale of a Huron with European blood who is utterly unfamiliar with European customs. Attempts are made to educate him into French habits and Catholicism, but the Huron is free from the prejudices of a conditioned upbringing, and is soon able to think more freely than this. In a second half to the story that is never successfully integrated, we see Saint-Yves have sex with an official to secure the release of her lover (the Ingenu), and watch her die from guilt and shame. Finally, the book ends with The White Bull. Drawing on a traditional tale of a princess seeking to remove a curse on her lover who has been turned into a bull, the story also finds time to include (and mock) a large number of Biblical stories and characters. Voltaire offers us no final answer about what it is to be happy, but he spends some time exploring the idea, and he certainly has many ideas about what makes us unhappy. Happiness in Voltaire’s stories generally comes from within, and it is no surprise that the conclusion of Candide shows our hero learning to tend to his own garden. Zadig and the Ingenu find greater peace of mind by cultivating their mind through learning and philosophy. However, we must not mistake this for any specific system of philosophy. Voltaire is somewhat down on philosophical systems. The absurd optimism of Pangloss is constantly belied by the horrors of a tale that includes murder, slavery, robbery, rape and dismemberment. Curiously the only thing that makes the appalling events of Candide palatable is Voltaire’s seeming callousness towards his characters. The tale is told in a matter of fact way, and we are encouraged to laugh at the catalogue of atrocities, and to ridicule the foolishness of our heroes. Zadig’s optimism about virtue is also seen to be misplaced, and a large part of his story is spent seeking to find a golden mean between two forms of virtuous behaviour that both seem to get him into trouble. In Micromegas too, philosophers are reduced to absurdity. They are figures so small that the giants do not even realise the planet is inhabited at first, but they still have inflated ideas about the importance of humanity. It may seem strange that a philosophical writer such as Voltaire should seem to have such a low opinion of many fields of philosophy but actually this is quite characteristic. Many academics and intellectuals devote a large part of their writings to debunking the work of their colleagues. The ultimate limit of philosophy however is that happiness is frequently unobtainable for Voltaire’s characters because they are at the mercy of external forces. At best, they can find a way of becoming resigned to their fate, and avoid making their misfortunes worse by their own actions. It is in this field that Voltaire’s satirical bent is given full sway. As is typical of satirists however, his eagerness to reduce everything to absurdity risks losing sight of all principles, even the ones that he believes in. For example, Voltaire believed in the need for strong government, but his portrayal of rulers in his stories is not a favourable one. Many of the appalling happenings portrayed in Candide were true historical events, and needed only a little exaggeration. In The White Bull, the tyranny and insecurity of monarchy is stressed so much that it is hard not to feel that it unconsciously presages the French Revolution, which was soon to happen. In his portrayal of religion, Voltaire also goes perhaps further than he intended. Voltaire does not appear to have been an atheist, but he inadvertently makes a good case for it. His works are fiercely anti-clerical, and a number of corrupt or inept clergymen are dotted throughout the stories. They are seen giving poor education, or seeking to seduce women. The White Bull ridicules Old Testament stories and reduces them to the level of absurd myths similar to those of Greek legends. The constant misfortunes of the characters in Candide, Zadig and other tales also fail to suggest an orderly universe controlled by a benevolent being. In The Ingenu, Voltaire writes: “It is an absurdity, an outrage against the human race, an attack on the Infinite and Supreme Being, to say: ‘There is one truth essential to man, and God has hidden it’.” Voltaire here comes closest to acknowledging the absurdity of believing in a god that commands a single truth open to all, but somehow fails to make this known to us. However, he cannot quite follow through this obvious conclusion, and soon shies away from it. While Voltaire’s views were certainly advanced in many ways, they are still somewhat behind our own thinking – at least what we now consider advanced. He is occasionally anti-Semitic. His portrayal of women is often dubious too. When the riddle of ‘What Pleases the Ladies’ is revealed, it turns out that it is love of power. There are also plenty of fickle and faithless women in Voltaire’s stories, with only a few virtuous ones. Not that Voltaire’s morality is too narrow-minded. When Saint-Yves agrees to have sex with Saint-Pouange in order to obtain the release of the Ingenu, and then dies from the shame, Voltaire clearly feels that she is more wrong to give way to guilt than she was to perform the sexual deed. There is no sense here of a woman corrupted forever by sex, and if she had confessed her action to Hercules (the Ingenu), it is clear that he would not have condemned her. Voltaire’s works are not for those who are seeking good characterisation, and stories in which you care for the people in them. However, they are fascinating intellectual studies that offer amusing subversions of popular genres. He is certainly never dull, and the stories brim with erudition and interesting ideas.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Crishell

    My copy includes these stories: Candide (of course) Micromegas Zadig The Ingenu The White Bull Among all five stories, my favourite is the “The Ingenu” because it was simple and yet concise and very meaningful. Candide and Zadig are two similar stories (in my opinion) the ideas and wits are the same. I enjoyed every bit of Voltaire’s witty short stories. It’s not that FUNNY (like The Family Guy or SNL type of humour by today’s modern world) but it must have been a good laughing experience reading Volt My copy includes these stories: Candide (of course) Micromegas Zadig The Ingenu The White Bull Among all five stories, my favourite is the “The Ingenu” because it was simple and yet concise and very meaningful. Candide and Zadig are two similar stories (in my opinion) the ideas and wits are the same. I enjoyed every bit of Voltaire’s witty short stories. It’s not that FUNNY (like The Family Guy or SNL type of humour by today’s modern world) but it must have been a good laughing experience reading Voltaire at the time it was first published. It remains significant because we are still living in a world which believes in the institution of the Church or religion and that ever unchanging absurdity of our social systems and norms. There are things in life that will remain forever significant, and this is one worthy of that recognition. As long as the world and its people live, there will always be irrational pursuit and a belief that defies common sense. PS. If you want to know “education” in my country, you only have to visit our local bookshop the “National Bookstore” and you will find Voltaire’s Candide next to “The Bible.”

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jackie "the Librarian"

    Another one I read in French class, although I cheated and got a copy of the English translation. What a wacky story! We live in the best of all possible worlds, according to Dr. Pangloss. And yet Candide suffers through trial and tribulation, and meets the victims of terrible situations. Mainly, I remember something about women forced to slice off one butt cheek each to have something to eat. Absurdity at its finest.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Leila

    For some reason, I wrote "I have rich lady cheekbones" on the inside back cover. I have no idea why.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lisa (Harmonybites)

    Voltaire is a famous philosopher of the Enlightenment, and Candide his most famous work. It's very short, less than a hundred pages, and the edition I read filled out the book with three other novellas, Zadig, Ingenu, The White Bull and a short story Micromegas. Although Candide is the most celebrated work in the book, it wasn't necessarily my favorite--but I did find it amusing. Candide is a satiric send-up of Leibniz's theory of optimism through Candide's mentor Dr. Pangloss, who believes we l Voltaire is a famous philosopher of the Enlightenment, and Candide his most famous work. It's very short, less than a hundred pages, and the edition I read filled out the book with three other novellas, Zadig, Ingenu, The White Bull and a short story Micromegas. Although Candide is the most celebrated work in the book, it wasn't necessarily my favorite--but I did find it amusing. Candide is a satiric send-up of Leibniz's theory of optimism through Candide's mentor Dr. Pangloss, who believes we live in "the best of all possible worlds" even in the face of increasingly insane disasters. I thought particularly funny the "genealogy of syphilis" where Pangloss traces the lineage of his infection back in a "direct line from one of Christopher Columbus's shipmates." I also rather loved the iconoclastic and grumpy twitting of classics by Pococurante. I might not agree with his lambasting of Homer and Virgil (though I though he was dead on about Milton) but I agreed with his principle that "Ignorant readers are apt to judge a writer by his reputation. For my part, I read only to please myself. I like nothing but what makes for my purpose." The short story Micromegas deals with giant visitors to Earth from the star Sirius and the planet Saturn and scoffs at humans' self-centeredness. I think I loved Zadig the most though. The opening gives a nod to 1,001 Arabian Nights and tells the story of Zadig of Ancient Babylonia. He offers up a deduction early on that would make Sherlock Holmes proud and enough wisdom to make Solomon feel abashed. I loved the irreverence of Ingenu (in another edition known as Master Simple). In it a young man raised by the Huron Indians in Quebec confounds others with his reactions to things French, particularly on religious matters. Being convinced to convert to Christianity, for example, he goes about trying to find someone to circumcise him, since that's obviously what the Bible requires, then insists the only way for him to be baptized is in a river, and refuses to recognize the authority of the Pope. The White Bull is also quite fun, as involved are just about every animal who had a role in the Bible--particularly the serpent from Eden whose dialogue with a Princess seems to spoof Milton. The stories aren't what I expected from what the introduction called "fables of reason" meant to elucidate philosophy. They're not at all dry or inaccessible and were quite fun with lots of lines I'd be tempted to quote if there weren't so many that were wise, witty and striking. These short satires reminded me quite a bit of Swift's Gulliver's Travel only with less bathroom humor and more good-natured.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    Saddened by the great Lisbon earthquake that killed tens of thousands Voltaire penned this classic story of a simple man enduring countless adversities and hanging on to the notion that all works out for the best and that this is the best possible of worlds. This brand of positivism that was espoused by many including Leibniz was essentially the idea that everything has some good attached to it, even great evil. Voltaire couldn't see how this could be and attacked this in Candide. Voltaire hated Saddened by the great Lisbon earthquake that killed tens of thousands Voltaire penned this classic story of a simple man enduring countless adversities and hanging on to the notion that all works out for the best and that this is the best possible of worlds. This brand of positivism that was espoused by many including Leibniz was essentially the idea that everything has some good attached to it, even great evil. Voltaire couldn't see how this could be and attacked this in Candide. Voltaire hated anyone with a belief in a system. It narrows the mind and closes the door to possibilities. Although he initially admired Leibniz he attacks him with the ridiculous Dr. Pangloss, Candide's philosophical mentor. Candide lumbers from adventure to adventure with things always going from bad to worse, trying to get back to a state of happiness. His naïveté adds the backdrop to the terrible things that happen to the cast of characters. Voltaire was somewhat of a marketing genius who launched an early "viral" campaign by simultaneously launching Candide at 5 different major European markets. This enabled him to maximize his profit by staying ahead of the black market of forgers and copiers who would take his work and sell it and ahead of the authorities who would not take kindly to this irreverent work that poked fun of the church, war, politics and kings. He figured once the book was out there they wouldn't be able to suppress it. They could try to ban the book but couldn't touch Voltaire once it was widespread and popular. A really great read with plenty of chuckles. You can see why this humorous story could be quite subversive at the time. This version came with some additional short stories from Voltaire. There is what might be the first interstellar Sci Fi in MicroMegas with 2 creatures from Sirius and Saturn who visit the earth and meet some of the inhabitants. The tale of Zadig is the story of a noble man who has to navigate a world of ignoble and deceitful adversaries in Ancient Babylon, the Ingenu promotes the myth of the Noble Savage when a Huron comes to rural France while the White Bull is a nice mythological love story featuring Nebuchadnezzar during his fall from grace when he was a bull. Good find on the book shelf. Highly recommend it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    J.T. Wilson

    Five of the arch-scoundrel's tales compiled in one volume but diminished by their similarity to one another. The title story is a classic: a cartoonish aggregation of improbable adventures, miseries and implausible escapes in which the hapless knave Candide must travel the globe and survive torture, murder, earthquakes, mutilation and the Spanish Inquisition in order to win the heart of his inamorata Cunegund. The supporting material comes off as so many inferior versions. The eponymous hero in Five of the arch-scoundrel's tales compiled in one volume but diminished by their similarity to one another. The title story is a classic: a cartoonish aggregation of improbable adventures, miseries and implausible escapes in which the hapless knave Candide must travel the globe and survive torture, murder, earthquakes, mutilation and the Spanish Inquisition in order to win the heart of his inamorata Cunegund. The supporting material comes off as so many inferior versions. The eponymous hero in 'Zadig' advances his career and date through a heroic combination of valiant swordsmanship and Sherlockian ingenuity, but is met with ingratitude and jealousy. 'Micromegas' is a sort-of proto-sci-fi twist on the 'Gullivers Travels' mould but with humans as the Liliputians. 'Master Simple' is a pretty obvious satire on philosophy and religion as a Native American takes it upon himself to belatedly gain an education on the Western canon. 'Princess of Babylon', set in semi-mythical antiquity, involves a mysterious stranger winning a fanciful tournament to win a princess's hand, then suddenly disappearing; the story follows the princess as she travels the known world to reacquaint the stranger with his prize (before the story abruptly terminates with a rushed conclusion and a pointless digression). Most of the stories involve a man separated from his beloved, then wandering the planet while being repeatedly deceived, betrayed or turned against; all of them feature a sceptical investigation into the machinations of palaces, churches and thought-shapers in a variety of exotic settings. The repetition blunts the satirical edge; not a selection to be read all at once.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    As much credit as this book (novella, actually) typically gets, I think my expectations may have been a bit high going into it. I had heard people say that Candide was absolutely hilarious, and it was referenced all the time in other books and in history classes. I did think the story was funny at times, and I appreciated Voltaire's caustic wit and his lampooning of religious figures. His mockery of the traditional tale of chivalry was clever and well-done, too. However, whether because I'm not f As much credit as this book (novella, actually) typically gets, I think my expectations may have been a bit high going into it. I had heard people say that Candide was absolutely hilarious, and it was referenced all the time in other books and in history classes. I did think the story was funny at times, and I appreciated Voltaire's caustic wit and his lampooning of religious figures. His mockery of the traditional tale of chivalry was clever and well-done, too. However, whether because I'm not familiar with the "conte philosophique" (philosophical tale), or because of some other reason, I didn't really enjoy this novella in the way I normally enjoy reading books. Maybe it was too didactic; maybe Voltaire's biting critiques got old after a while. Or maybe I just wasn't able to suspend disbelief and see the thing as a story, with real characters and interesting action. Instead, it seemed to be a pretty flat narrative landscape where the author's hand was far too visible. But, like I said, all of those characteristics may be "the thing" for philosophical tales to do, so perhaps my complaint isn't valid. I would say that anyone interested in French literature, the Enlightenment, or world's classics in general should definitely read this...but it's probably not for the average reader looking to spend a few pleasant hours wrapped up in a book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Vanessochka

    Oh Voltaire.........Ive started a love hate relationship with you.... CANDIDE: I think Candide was a great first choice for an intro to Voltaire. I found this story very funny and surprising how long ago it was written. I think the character always makes you intrigued through all the trials and tribulations. It was well written and kept the reader engaged. MICROMEGAS: Who knew a story like this was written by Voltaire??? I loved the giants and the curiosity of the unknown.. ZADIG: This was not one Oh Voltaire.........Ive started a love hate relationship with you.... CANDIDE: I think Candide was a great first choice for an intro to Voltaire. I found this story very funny and surprising how long ago it was written. I think the character always makes you intrigued through all the trials and tribulations. It was well written and kept the reader engaged. MICROMEGAS: Who knew a story like this was written by Voltaire??? I loved the giants and the curiosity of the unknown.. ZADIG: This was not one of my favorite stories. I feel it reminded me of Candide, except a stronger character. It dragged on a bit as well.. But at the same time Voltaire made me feel really sorry for Zadig. So maybe I did feel a connection to the character? WHAT PLEASES THE LADIES: I will definitely have to reread this again. I love the karma in almost every Voltaire story too.. I wonder if any other man could really find out, What pleases the ladies? THE INGENU: Oh a Voltaire story wouldn't be complete without a compelling character and the death of a loved one..(lol) THE WHITE BULL: I think one story, like this one, deserves a happy ending. I am pleased.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Taka

    Candide-- "The Baron was one of the most powerful noblemen in Westphalia, for his castle had a door and windows." Now,that's funny. And so are all the disasters and contretemps imaginable that beat down on our hero Candide. I appreciated Voltaire's biting philosophical satire that Candide is - it's funny in places and keeps the story going without dwelling on the finer points of philosophy, which explains its tremendous popularity when it was published and got banned by the Pope. The story, however, Candide-- "The Baron was one of the most powerful noblemen in Westphalia, for his castle had a door and windows." Now,that's funny. And so are all the disasters and contretemps imaginable that beat down on our hero Candide. I appreciated Voltaire's biting philosophical satire that Candide is - it's funny in places and keeps the story going without dwelling on the finer points of philosophy, which explains its tremendous popularity when it was published and got banned by the Pope. The story, however, gets repetitive and tiresome after 40 pages of calamities that strike the unfortunate Candide and his companion(s). Compared to modern storytelling, it feels very much a product of its time, albeit, I have to admit, a very good one. I came away with the inevitable impression, "It was OK." Anyways, I agree with Candide's stoic and pessimistic companion Martin when he concludes at the end, "Let's get down to work and stop all the philosophizing... it's the only way to make life bearable."

  20. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    I read Candide in French class, and enjoyed it enormously. Pangloss' eternal optimism is a bit much to take, but it makes for a very entertaining read as Candide and Pangloss make their way through a downward spiral of experiences. Voltaire is still a smart, witty writer with a joie de vivre that comes through on every page.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Fadhl Alesayi

    Candide is one of the best book I've read because it talks about a peroson (Candide) who is kicked out of a castle after he steals a kiss from his lover. After that, his adventures starts. The story of Canide reveals the differences of several societies at that era and how a human being is treated differently.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Phillip

    voltaire rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! one of the funniest books ever written.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Hilarious and thought-provoking.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nynke

    3,5 stars.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kaju Janowski

    With his philosophical views, ironical approach and natural language Voltaire has my attention, reason and heart. To read more!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Redfox5

    I think this book should be renamed 'Tales of misfortune' because everything kept going wrong for all the characters. Only 'The White Bull' had a happy ending, the rest were pretty depressing. I liked The Ingenu the most. I loved how he kept exposing the hypocrisy of religion by pointing out that it doesn't say anything about certain things in the bible. But then horrible things kept happening to him. This is not a collection of stories to read if you want cheering up. I did enjoy reading this bu I think this book should be renamed 'Tales of misfortune' because everything kept going wrong for all the characters. Only 'The White Bull' had a happy ending, the rest were pretty depressing. I liked The Ingenu the most. I loved how he kept exposing the hypocrisy of religion by pointing out that it doesn't say anything about certain things in the bible. But then horrible things kept happening to him. This is not a collection of stories to read if you want cheering up. I did enjoy reading this but did keep putting it down to do something else, it didn't pull me in and it's not something I would read again.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    Very very interesting. I am glad to have read this classic! It kept my attention. It had very interesting conversation about how to view suffering, both yours and others’. And how in the world were Pangloss and the Baron still alive at the end??? Pangloss’s optimism was definitely not a functional one haha. And I didn’t like all the comments about Cunégonde being so ugly she wasn’t worth marrying anymore, like bruh. But that’s expected for the time it was written. I liked the pirates!!!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Abi

    I only read Candide out of this collection, as I had to read it for uni. It was funny at times, but overall it felt quite repetitive and predictable, so it did feel like I had to drag myself through it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Wild fantasy world travel on a crazy scale. Fantasy love that puts romance novels to shame It is worthy of being read by everyone

  30. 5 out of 5

    Saud Hanif

    "Simply opting out may be no answer, since boredom may be the greatest evil of all." A lesson well put in Candide by Voltaire.

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