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Candide: Or Optimism (Penguin Classics) Paperback – June 30, 1950

ISBN-13: 978-0140440041 ISBN-10: 0140440046

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (June 30, 1950)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140440046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140440041
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Political satire doesn't age well, but occasionally a diatribe contains enough art and universal mirth to survive long after its timeliness has passed. Candide is such a book. Penned by that Renaissance man of the Enlightenment, Voltaire, Candide is steeped in the political and philosophical controversies of the 1750s. But for the general reader, the novel's driving principle is clear enough: the idea (endemic in Voltaire's day) that we live in the best of all possible worlds, and apparent folly, misery and strife are actually harbingers of a greater good we cannot perceive, is hogwash.

Telling the tale of the good-natured but star-crossed Candide (think Mr. Magoo armed with deadly force), as he travels the world struggling to be reunited with his love, Lady Cunegonde, the novel smashes such ill-conceived optimism to splinters. Candide's tutor, Dr. Pangloss, is steadfast in his philosophical good cheer, in the face of more and more fantastic misfortune; Candide's other companions always supply good sense in the nick of time. Still, as he demolishes optimism, Voltaire pays tribute to human resilience, and in doing so gives the book a pleasant indomitability common to farce. Says one character, a princess turned one-buttocked hag by unkind Fate: "I have wanted to kill myself a hundred times, but somehow I am still in love with life. This ridiculous weakness is perhaps one of our most melancholy propensities; for is there anything more stupid than to be eager to go on carrying a burden which one would gladly throw away, to loathe one's very being and yet to hold it fast, to fondle the snake that devours us until it has eaten our hearts away?"--Michael Gerber

Review

“When we observe such things as the recrudescence of fundamentalism in the United States, the horrors of religious fanaticism in the Middle East, the appalling danger which the stubbornness of political intolerance presents to the whole world, we must surely conclude that we can still profit by the example of lucidity, the acumen, the intellectual honesty and the moral courage of Voltaire.”
—A. J. Ayer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Candide is obviously one of the greatest novels of all time.
Marcos
This edition is good enough for French class, so it's good enough for me.
D. Haynes
I laughed so hard as I read this book that i had never before.
CW

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By George C. King on November 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
Flat out one of the funniest books I've ever read. I thought that Jonathan Swift was satirically vicious in Gulliver's Travels and "A Modest Proposal," but Voltaire makes Dean Swift seem a mere Yahoo. One of the most astonishing features of this short, picaresque novel is the speed of the narrative. Works a few centuries old are usually not notable for being quick reads, but I found myself devouring sentences, paragraphs, and chapters at an alarming rate. Alarming because I'd reached the end with nothing more to read.

The tale of Candide, the naive hero, who is separated from his love, the deliciously and vulgarly named Cunegonde, is a vehicle for Voltaire to skewer humanity in every way, shape, and form. No aspect of human endeavor is spared his rapier wit--religion, religious figures, the military, government, rulers, nationalities, philosophers and philosophy, sexuality, class dinstinctions, lawyers, the inhospitable natural world, drunkenness and gluttony, etc., and the humor is produced by the accumulation of detail that is used to describe the misfortunes of the various characters. To compound the irony, the tale begins with the pronouncement of Candide's inept tutor Doctor Pangloss that this is "the best of all possible worlds."

In the course of their adventures, the characters are kicked, slapped, raped, disemboweled, hanged, burnt at the stake, drowned, stabbed, bayoneted, impaled, blinded, amputated, and my favorite--eaten. The old lady with one buttock, a companion to Cunegonde, at one point says of herself: "Imagine the situation of a Pope's daughter aged fifteen, who in three months had undergone poverty and slavery, had been raped nearly every day, had seen her mother cut into four pieces, had undergone hunger and war, and now dying of the plague in Algiers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By CW on December 11, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a combination of genius, logical argument and humor. It is definitely hilarious. I laughed so hard as I read this book that i had never before. I highly recommend this book. it makes you think about the world around you and the people and their sufferings yet you only laugh at it. It does not make you sad.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marcos on November 27, 2014
Format: Audio Cassette Verified Purchase
Candide is obviously one of the greatest novels of all time. The audio cassette version was narrated well on quality tape.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By GreenMan on December 9, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great reprint, prefect addiction to any personal library.
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By Chris on February 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Le chef-d'oeuvre d'un des plus grands auteurs du XVIIIe. Un livre qu'on lit et relit. Le meilleur des livres possibles.
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By Jerome D. Homish on August 25, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The timelessness of this piece does not falter. The discourse through various portions of history, religion, philosophy and government lends itself to a multitude of discussions (rants???) and interpretations.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Facile à lire et tres instruisant !! A travers de differentes aventures de candide on apprendre à vivre!!! Lire à tout prix!!! ;)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
J'ai lu le Candide à 15 ans, j'ai aimé.
J'ai lu le Candide à 25 ans, j'ai beaucoup aimé.
A 35 ans, j'ai adoré. Un humour, qui n'a rien perdu pendent les 250 ans et - malheureusement - des verités qui restent d'actualité.
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