Candide or OptimismPaperback Penguin Classics
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- Publisher: Prentice Hall
- Format: Paperback | 144 pages
- Dimensions: 127mm x 191mm x 18mm | 227g
- Publication date: 11 May 2000
- Publication City/Country: Upper Saddle River
- ISBN 10: 0140440046
- ISBN 13: 9780140440041
- Edition statement: 1st New impression
- Sales rank: 299,913
"Candide" is the story of a gentle man who, though pummeled and slapped in every direction by fate, clings desperately to the belief that he lives in "the best of all possible worlds." On the surface a witty, bantering tale, this eighteenth-century classic is actually a savage, satiric thrust at the philosophical optimism that proclaims that all disaster and human suffering is part of a benevolent cosmic plan. Fast, funny, often outrageous, the French philosopher's immortal narrative takes Candide around the world to discover that -- contrary to the teachings of his distringuished tutor Dr. Pangloss -- all is not always for the best. Alive with wit, brilliance, and graceful storytelling, "Candide" has become Voltaire's most celebrated work.
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Francois-Marie Arouet, writing under the pseudonym Voltaire, was born in 1694 into a Parisian bourgeois family. Educated by Jesuits, he was an excellent pupil but one quickly enraged by dogma. An early rift with his father--who wished him to study law--led to his choice of letters as a career. Insinuating himself into court circles, he became notorious for lampoons on leading notables and was twice imprisoned in the Bastille.By his mid-thirties his literary activities precipitated a four-year exile in England where he won the praise of Swift and Pope for his political tracts. His publication, three years later in France, of Lettres philosophiques sur les Anglais (1733)--an attack on French Church and State--forced him to flee again. For twenty years Voltaire lived chiefly away from Paris. In this, his most prolific period, he wrote such satirical tales as "Zadig" (1747) and "Candide" (1759). His old age at Ferney, outside Geneva, was made bright by his adopted daughter, "Belle et Bonne," and marked by his intercessions in behalf of victims of political injustice. Sharp-witted and lean in his white wig, impatient with all appropriate rituals, he died in Paris in 1778--the foremost French author of his day.
'All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds', according to Dr Pangloss, despite the mounting evidence to the contrary in this supreme 18th-century satire. (Kirkus UK)