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on February 19, 2016
I happened to read Candide immediately after Swift's Gulliver's Travels, not knowing it was another political satire. However, a very different one. It may be difficult for a modern Western reader to relate to the school of thought that Voltaire criticizes, though it was apparently prevalent or at least commonly accepted in the mid-18th century. The philosophy satirized is basically one of optimistically leaving one's future in the hands of fate since the best possible outcome has already been pre-determined for each of us. In contrast, today most of us in the West are taught that misfortune can strike anyone but a better life is possible with a bit of help from others as well as a good work ethic and behavior.

The short novel reads quickly, with the hero Candide and his companions falling into some new misadventure on practically every other page. Both the Old World and New are traveled with a special visit to Eldorado, the Lost City of Gold. The characters are quite shallow and undeveloped but this doesn't detract from Voltaire's quite clear message, which is that fate generally does not have a happy life in store for each of us and that we must work to improve each of our lots.

Recommended and at less than 150 pages it doesn't take long to get through. I felt the 1947 John Butt translation to be excellent and very readable.
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on March 30, 2012
"Candide" is an accessible masterpiece which demonstrated to the world Volatire's genius as a satirist. The eponymous Candide is a young man tutored by an optimist who is convinced according to the cause and effect philosophy of Leibniz and perhaps is best summarized in the Voltaire's leitmotif that human beings live in the "best of all possble worlds." Alexander Pope rather laughably made the same outrageous claim in his "Essay on Man" in which he writes, "Everything that is is right." How can this be so, you may well ask? Here is the nut of the problem: it seems that a perfect God has created a highly imperfect world. How can a good, omnipotent, loving God create a world in which so much catastrophic evil exists and which is so often allowed even to thrive? It is a question for the ages. Theologians argue that God created mankind with free will and without it they would simply be puppets without the freedom to make choices. Theologians also point out that the majority of the evil resident in our world is perpetuated on vast masses of humanity by other human beings, not God, and that evil is the cause and effect of conflicting self-interests imposed by people with more power upon the less powerful. But this point doesn't explain why a loving, all-powerful God would allow any of it to exist and endure. Why not cast down all the devils and give his human creatures a perfect garden, a paradise on earth, without snakes anywhere? Why did God create the serpent in the Garden of Eden in the first place? Voltaire, like Rousseau, was an avid gardener and Voltaire jests at Rousseau's good faith in the "Confessions" as if the latter were simply a country bumpkin. But gardens have a great deal of meaning in "Candide" as in, for example, Milton's "Paradise Lost" or "Genesis" and are thematically significant for Voltaire who concludes that gardens are, after all, a wise place to reside out of harm's way. Voltaire absolutely skewers the optimistic cause and effect of Pope and Leibniz with a catalogue of tragicomic catastrophes which plague not only Candide and Pangloss but all of mankind infinitely. Consider the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 which burst suddenly out of nowhere with all its raging fires and tidal waves to destroy nearly all of the city and the ships in its harbor. Is there no end even to the great catastrophes in which man has no hand but from which we are compelled to suffer except for God's grace? Voltaire's vivid and piercing wit is hilarious as he brazenly brings parody to places high and low, near and far, rich and poor to depict our world as the ultimate dystopia. In his novel Candide can only find a semblance of happiness in El Dorado, a rich, hidden world in South America: in other words, happiness in real life can only be found in a utopia without a basis for reality. So what are we to deduce about Candide? Is he a sometimes violent fool for all his naivete? And is Pangloss not a buffoon who earns his suffering so extensively at every turn of the road for his unjustified, unbridled optimism? Or are they heroic for their optimism despite the epic disasters that nearly devastate them time after time. Or is their fate really just the human condition and are they both just being all too human? You decide. In the course of your reading of this brief novel you may discover, as I did, that the optimists are constantly challenged by the gap between their optimism and reality, and that the pessimists are doomed to be the unhappiest people on the planet because they cannot imagine a world without misery and, thereby, create it for themselves wherever it doesn't really already exist. Take your pick of perspectives as a "free" human being and challenge your own assumptions about the human condition. Clearly, Balzac would seem to agree with his compatriot, Voltaire, that whatever you make of life on this earth, surely it is no less than an epic human comedy. At least in this life, thankfully, if you can stand back far enough, there is, God knows, no end to the laughter of the human condition.
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on March 14, 2017
I read this primarily to improve my French reading skills and of course to expose myself to more philosophy. Interesting read and of course, as in all philosophy, induces one to think what is the meaning of life?
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on March 14, 2017
"Tout est bien et tout est fait au mieux" - Pangloss. Si seulement on habite dans un monde parfait. Le réalité est loin de cela.
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on March 25, 2017
It came in on time, a little torn on the edge but other than that I love the book!!
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on March 4, 2017
Phenomenal book a must read
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on March 2, 2017
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on February 3, 2013
The book is for class starting soon, so not used it yet but it was in good shape and on time.
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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).

This Open Road Media version of Candide appears to be the most common version offered on Kindle and uses the translation by Philip Little (see note below) which was originally published by Modern Library in 1918 and is public domain and readily available online (see for example Project Gutenberg link below). It includes the following:

- short introduction written by the translator Philip Littell
- complete text of Candide (presumably also translated by Philip Littell)
- table of contents is included and functions properly, with book 'locations' indicated but not page numbers

It does not include footnotes, which the Gutenberg Library (online) version of Candide does include (see comments section below for link to the Gutenberg Library website). The two versions are otherwise identical as far as I can tell, and the Gutenberg Library version indicates where edits have been made in order to correct typos, and those corrections have all also been included in this Open Road Media version.

(I note that this Kindle edition does not indicate which translation is used, nor does the Open Road media website provide that information, however it does show Philip Littell as the author of the introduction and several references I've found also indicate Littell is the translator. However, the NY Public Library article on Candide (see link in comments below) refers to this as an anonymous translation, saying "NYPL is using the most widely available e-text of the book, from the anonymous translation published by the Modern Library in 1918, available on Project Gutenberg").

Candide has been well reviewed on Amazon and is available in many different editions, both for the Kindle and in print. The listings on Amazon with the greatest number of reviews are listed below. I would refer to these listings and the accompanying reviews for discussion of the book itself, which is generally regarded as a major classic and which has been included on many lists of 'best' or 'most influential classic novels:

Candide with 166 reviews at the present time (1918 Modern Library translation)
Candide: Or Optimism (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) (Listed on Amazon as ASIN B00B7NP1HQ - Candide: Or Optimism (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) with 72 reviews and this page on Amazon also provides links to the greatest number of formats available, including 8 different versions for the Kindle

Candide was written by the French philosopher Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet) and first published in 1789, in France. It has been translated into English numerous times. I am not going to attempt to judge which of the various translations might be preferable for one reason or another. I do list some of the translations currently available below, for those interested. Generally they can be sampled using Amazon's 'Look Inside" feature to get an idea of the quality of the translation, and in some cases the customer reviews here on Amazon will also address the quality of the translation. I do not know that there are huge differences in the various translations but I'll include in the notes below any comments I do run across that might indicate a preference for any of the translations (some works, War and Peace for example, have strong points of view from different scholars regarding which translation is more true to the original writing). Not all translations are available in Kindle editions.

Other editions and more recent translations available include (this is not intended to be a complete listing of all translations currently available, only a selected few):

- this 1947 translation by John Butt available in Penguin edition (I do not find this translation available for Kindle): ( Candide: Or Optimism (Penguin Classics) Listed on Amazon as ASIN 0140440046 - Candide) The Annenberg Learner website considers this to be the recommended version, saying "This is our recommended edition. This 1947 translation by John Everett Butt provides a clear and stylish English equivalent for the mordant original. This edition has an introduction by the translator, a noted scholar and literary editor, who was Regius Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature at Edinburgh University." See [...]
- This 1961 translation by Daniel M. Frame (I do not find this translation available for Kindle): (Listed on Amazon as ASIN 0451531159 - Candide, Zadig and Selected Stories) which includes 15 additional stories by Voltaire.
- a newer 2005 translation by Theo Cuffe also released by Penguin and available on Kindle: (Listed on Amazon as ASIN B00EK28X1C - Candide, or Optimism (Penguin Classics) or (Listed on Amazon as ASIN B00B7NP1HQ - Candide: Or Optimism (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition). These Penguin editions for Kindle do include a number of supplementary notes (translators note, note on the text, note on names, map, appendices, chronology, further reading) but do not include any additional works by Voltaire in addition to Candide.
- translation by Peter Constantine available in Everyman's Library edition (I do not find this translation available for Kindle): (Listed on Amazon as ASIN 067941746X - Candide and Other Stories (Everyman's Library Classics & Contemporary Classics), includes other stories by Voltaire (according to one of the Amazon reviews the included stories are: Micromegas, Zadig, What Pleases the Ladies, The Ingenu, The White Bull).
- 1990 translation by Roger Pearson available in Oxford World Classics edition (the first link is an earlier edition published by Oxford and the second link is a Kindle edition that is a newer version of the same thing): (Listed on Amazon as ASIN 0192807269 - Candide and Other Stories (Oxford World's Classics), or the more recent printing (Listed on Amazon as ASIN B005JJ9RME - Candide and Other Stories (Oxford World's Classics) includes several other stories by Voltaire (Micromegas, Zadig, What Pleases the Ladies, The Ingenue, and The White Bull).
- Norton Critical Edition, translated by Robert M. Adams and including extensive accompanying essays giving background and criticism, and first published in 1966 (I do not find this translation available for Kindle): (Listed on Amazon as ASIN 0393960587 - Candide (A Norton Critical Edition). This edition does not include other works by Voltaire but does, as mentioned, include a great deal of supplementary material on Candide.

My opinion is that this is a fully satisfactory version of Candide for those readers interested in this book and wanting an inexpensive copy for their Kindle. It is being offered for free at the present time on Amazon but will probably be sold at a slightly higher price once this 'introductory' period has been completed. It is essentially equivalent to the several other 99 cent Kindle versions presently available for the Kindle, from Dover Publications, and a couple from unidentified publishers and simply showing "Amazon Digital Services".
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on January 17, 2010
This edition is poorly printed. It appears to be a copy of a previous edition. The type is smeared and often tilted. The font is archaic, such that an interal s appears as an f.
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