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Candide (A Norton Critical Edition) Paperback – March 17, 1991

ISBN-13: 978-0393960587 ISBN-10: 0393960587 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 2nd edition (March 17, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393960587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393960587
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert M. Adams was Professor of English (Emeritus) at the University of California at Los Angeles. He was the author of many books, including Ikon: John Milton and the Modern Critics; Strains of Discord; Proteus, His Lies, His Truth: Discussion of Literary Translation; The Land and Literature of England; and Shakespeare—The Four Romances. In addition to the Norton Critical Edition of Utopia (he was translator and editor of the First and Second Editions), Professor Adams was editor of five other Norton Critical Editions, including The Prince by Machiavelli, Candide by Voltaire, and The Praise of Folly and Other Writings by Erasmus, the texts of which he also translated. He was a founding editor of The Norton Anthology of English Literature.

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Customer Reviews

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The best thing about Candide is, for me, how telling it is of Voltaire himself.
Mrs. Bateman
Truly a timeless master, Voltaire’s brilliance is incomparable and Candide remains one of my favorite literary masterpieces that I highly recommend.
jvstanley
I am not wild about Voltaire but the book is translated as he wrote it and Norton notes are great.
DaveM

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Bucherwurm on December 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
No the story doesn't change from edition to edition, but the supplementary material provided does change. Candide isn't just some hectic adventure story. It really fails as literature in this regard, and certainly Voltaire's purpose was not to make you chuckle while you whiled away a few empty hours. He would weep to think that you missed out on what he was really trying to tell you. Rest easy. I am not going to launch into a stuffy monologue on Leibnitz and 18th century French Catholicism, but in essence you should know that this is the essence of the story. The philosopher Leibnitz (who with Isaac Newton independently invented Calculus) explained the existence of evil in the world thusly: God, in his infinite wisdom, thought of all possible worlds that he could create, and he chose this one; therefore this must be the best of all possible worlds. Voltaire was also continually chastising the Catholic Church for it's lack of tolerance of other beliefs, and for its aristocratic pomp.
Enter now the Norton Critical Edition of Candide. This book presents the 75 page story along with 130 additional pages of various articles and essays on the times in which it was written; commentary by Voltaire and by his contemporaries; and critiques of the story by modern writers. Sure there are always a few dull, academic essays making their mandatory appearance in a book like this, but my suggestion is just to skip them. After all there are a lot of them to choose from.
Learn the story behind the story so to speak. After all it is the background of Candide that makes Candide the forceful satire that it is.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
"Candide," subtitled "Optimism" and purporting to be "translated from the German of Doctor Ralph with the additions which were found in the Doctor's pocket when he died at [the Battle of] Minden in the Year of Our Lord 1759," is the single work of Voltaire that continues to be read and recognized as a canonical work of Western literature. A mere seventy-five pages long, it is an amusing and, at times, cruel book that satirically lays waste to many philosophical ideas of its time while simultaneously illuminating the mind, the temperament and the personal conflicts of its author, a man who, perhaps more than any other, came to define the intellectual spirit of eighteenth century France.
At its most abstract level, "Candide" examines the age-old question of why a supposedly omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent god would create a world so afflicted with evil and suffering. This question particularly troubled Voltaire following the great Lisbon earthquake and fire in November 1755, which killed as many as forty thousand people.
Hence, in the very first page of "Candide," the reader encounters one of literature's most famous characters, Pangloss, the learned tutor of Candide, who "gave instruction in metaphysico-theologico-cosmoloonigology." Echoing the popularizers of Leibniz, the early eighteenth century German philosopher, Pangloss espouses the notion that there cannot be cause without effect, that we live in the best of all possible worlds:
"It is clear, said he, that things cannot be otherwise than they are, for since everything is made to serve an end, everything necessarily serves the best end. Observe: noses were made to support spectacles, hence we have spectacles. Legs, as anyone can plainly see, were made to be breeched, and so we have breeches.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Bateman on August 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
In Candide, Voltaire raucously lampoons: religion, politics, philosophy, goverment and, specifically, Gottfried Leibniz and his Optimism. I won't ruin any of the fun for those of you who've never read it by spoiling a single thing about the story itself though. The best thing about Candide is, for me, how telling it is of Voltaire himself. He fancied himself an outsider and far removed from those he mocked; even during his lifetime he was considered a borderline philosopher and highly influential countercultural icon, in spite of this. Candide is one of the most laugh-out-loud stories of all time and has aged very well. I don't usually buy critical editions but I definitely recommend this one for all Candide fans as the contributions of praise and criticism include the *exact* same points. Which --- is very funny in a Voltairean sort of way.
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Format: Paperback
Knitting together verbose language, Francois Voltaire’s popular and highly controversial 1759 satire, ‘Candide’ (W. W. Norton & Company; 2nd edition, March 17, 1991) is both witty and colorful in its analysis of human behavior. This satire, although intended to mock the politics of that time, introduced various atrocities that are disturbingly somber and horrifyingly realistic. What the characters endure from youthful innocence into adulthood puts a rare feather into the work with a quality that is unmatchable in modern literature. However, the philosophies caused me to pause and contemplate upon his mastery of misdirection and metaphor. This work is not one to be read at a glance with the focus on the aesthetics of the words used, rather; deeper analysis into the core meaning is necessary to fully appreciate the work. The main character, Candide, is a naïve youth who through his travels, repeats his mantra of ‘All is for the best’ despite the horror of the circumstances that befalls him and the cast of characters who follow. Through his eyes, we perceive the reality of the genuine darkness that resides within the world and recognize the hope and kindness that sometimes takes a while to recognize. Every word, symbol, and metaphor has an alternate meaning that touches upon the base values of humanity and empathy. Truly a timeless master, Voltaire’s brilliance is incomparable and Candide remains one of my favorite literary masterpieces that I highly recommend.
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