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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: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (263 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #320,843 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

The book itself is hilarious and an incredible satire.
lola3456
The reading was funny, modern in many ways, and very easy on a smartphone!
JL
It's a good read and, hey, the Kindle edition is free, so go for it!
GFG

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 78 people found the following review helpful By P. G. McFinnigan on April 12, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is wonderful and stands the test of time better than most of the books published last year. So good that reading it is practically gluttony. Sarcasm at it's finest. The sexual undertones are presented in a hilarious manner. For example, the main character of the book is kicked out of the castle he lives at when the lord of the castle finds him in the act of kissing his lovely "innocent" daughter, who had just witnessed the resident philosopher and one of the girls working there in the midst of fooling around in the garden and was "flustered." Disregarding this book is denying yourself one hell of a good story, and it's not often you get told a personal life philosophy through such obvious crowd-pleasing comedy. Go on, read!
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Pla77 on December 26, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is of course a classic that should be read by all interested, but the formatting of the e-book is also well done.

The citations link in two directions so I can stop reading and check the citation, click on the citation and go back to where I left off without any hassle.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Nom de Guerre on April 19, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wish I could convince everyone who avoids older literature to read Candide. This book is hilarious, dark, bitter, snide, and beautiful. If you love Vonnegut novels, you will likely enjoy Candide. The satire from yesteryear is just as applicable to the personal and political interactions of mankind today.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Barrett TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 19, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Free Kindle version? Yes please. Though this is a book that is usually readily available for check out at local libraries, I wanted a version that was portable and free. Win win. Granted, this is the identical version to that on the Project Gutenberg website, but at least Amazon will allow this on Kindles whereas they block Gutenberg eBooks. The format of this version is nice and it doesn't have too many issues with the transition to a Kindle eBook unlike most of the Shakespeare plays and such.

It is an older translation, but a good one. If you are assigned this book for class, I would stick with whatever translation the teacher gives you. But if you want to read this for pleasure, or just want to have it read for your core reading list (for college or whatnot), then this is a great version. The wry sense of black humor is wonderful. The spellings may seem odd, but Voltaire wrote this in French in the 1750s, so it's pretty old. And yes, the British were probably spelling Buenos Ayres instead of Buenos Aires and such.

The operetta Candide is based off of this novel as well, though it strays from the novel in the end (though is faithful throughout the first 2/3 to 3/4). A recommended reading for anyone interested in classic literature. Now you're ready for some Kafka!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Phil in Mågnøliá TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 3, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
NOTE: Due to difficulties in posting this review, until it is completely updated the full text of the review, with links, can be found in the comments section directly below. I apologize for this but have been having an unusually difficult time in getting this review to post. This note will be removed once the review is finalized and posted in final form.

This review will address the newly issued Kindle edition of Candide that has been released by Open Road Media as well as give an overview of editions of Candide available for the Kindle and available on Amazon.

Many Kindle versions of well-known classic books are available. For books available in the public domain, as is the case for Candide, oftentimes these Kindle versions are available for free or for very low price.

Some of these Kindle editions are of low quality and have various issues that make them less desirable for those who like to read classics on their Kindles. When I am looking for a classic book to purchase for my Kindle, it is usually a minor research project to determine which one I think will be the 'best' for my reading, and sometimes I end up purchasing more than one version in order to get one that is well presented and formatted for the Kindle.

This is a relatively short book, normally about 100 pages in printed form, and not a difficult read. This Kindle edition is well produced, the publishers website claims that it has been professionally proofread, and I have detected no errors myself (such as often appear in Kindle books which have been scanned and published without careful check).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. J. Leedham on March 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a simple and effortless read. For modern, sophisticated, readers I guess it is possible to speed read the story line and wonder what the fuss is about.

Well, Voltaire did not, actually, say: "I hate everything about what you say but would defend with my life your right to say it." - But the fact is he might well have. Enlightenment Liberalism ...

Perhaps Candide is worth reading now, as then, when our news media obsess on a world of troubles, corruption, hypocracy
(" What Democracy turns into when all of the politicians in your country are liars.) and decadence. It is worth reminding ourselves that it was always thus. That we survive. And that it is important, always to maintain a judicious and disinterest compassion for our fellow sufferers. And a healthy sense of humor.

No, really it is a great read and really quite funny in places...
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