Candide
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Candide

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  100,495 ratings  ·  3,326 reviews
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 princi...more
Hardcover, 120 pages
Published March 5th 2002 by Modern Library (first published 1759)
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K.D. Absolutely
Mar 09, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books; 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
panglossian - adj. characterized by or given to extreme optimism, especially in the face of unrelieved hardship or adversity.
If an English word came from a book's character, that must be something. If the book was written and first published in the 18th century and many people still read it up to now, that must be really something.

I thought Voltaire's Candide was a difficult boring slow long read. Wrong. Exactly the opposite. It's an easy, very entertaining, fast-paced and short (only 100 pages...more
David Lentz
"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 Voltaire's leitmotif that human beings live in the "best of all possible 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 thi...more
Chris
Zounds! This book is wildly entertaining and I giggled all the way through Candide's awful adventures. Who would have thought that murder, rape, slavery, sexual exploitation, natural disaster, pillaging, theft, and every other oppression imaginable could be so funny?

Here's some pretty good insight from the old woman with one buttock:

"I have been a hundred times upon the point of killing myself, but still I was fond of life. This ridiculous weakness is, perhaps, one of the dangerous principles im...more
Chris
Feb 24, 2008 Chris rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: everyone.
While fruitlessly searching for something decent to read, I invariably come across a ton of acclaim for total hacks being labeled as ‘master satirists’. God that pisses me off, especially since none of those books are worth a damn, and while the authors wrongly think they have something interesting or unique to say, the thing that really disheartens me is that someone out there agrees with them. For each of these books, there should be a simple label affixed to the front cover that reads ‘Not As...more
Mike Puma

3.5 stars rounded up for its Classic-ness.

Everyone knows this story, don’t they? A gentle-hearted and dimwitted pretty boy has his life turned upside-down, repeatedly, and in the most reprehensible ways—not just him, everyone he knows or admires or loves—all for the love of a woman* whose name is, presumably, premised on a joke, a pun, for female genitalia.

Yes, folks, a charming little picaresque which, in addition to being an extended opportunity for risqué jokes, afforded Voltaire a much-ne

...more
Manny
- Bonjour, M. Candide! Bienvenue au site Goodreads! Qu'en pensez-vous?

- It's OK, we can speak English. Pour encourager les autres, as one might say.

- Eh... super! I mean, good! So, what do you make of twenty-first century Britain?

- Vraiment sympathique! I am reading of your little scandale with the expenses of the Houses of Parliament. It is a great moment for la démocratie. Now there will be des élections, the people will be able to choose better representatives, we will see that the country ha...more
Rakhi Dalal
I loved Candide! It is such a brilliant satire on the ideas observed through the glass of rosy eyed philosophy. “All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds”!!!

Candide, a young fellow, believes that whatever happens is for the best, courtesy his tutor Dr. Pangloss. The writing covers a number of unfavorable happenings and incidents, which should have been sufficient enough to let him abandon the colored glasses. But voila! Our man Candide is one optimist! He continues believing even...more
BirdBrian


Poor Candide! He falls from one misadventure to another, getting kicked out of his home, drafted into foreign armies, gaining a fortune, losing a fortune, chasing the object of his desires the globe over, and almost burned at the stake as a heretic. All the while, his childhood teacher and traveling companion Dr. Pangloss rationalizes every turn of events as "for the best".

The all-knowing Universe would never let anything happen unless it was for the best. This is, after all, the best of all pos...more
Shovelmonkey1
Aug 11, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: optimists, anarchist, pacifists and 1001 readers
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: comedy pianist Tim Minchin
This book is on the 1001 list and as a 1001 lister you might think that this was what prompted me to read this book. Think that and you would be wrong. Want to know what really prompted me to read this?

I wrote a letter to Mr Sony
I said, "Hey S-sony what's g-going down?
I've got a record and I reckon it's wicked
And I th-think you should s-spread it around."
He said, "Hey Tim, I quite like your work
He said, "It's clever and quirky
But I promise you this:
You could be clever as Voltaire
But it won't get...more
Robert
If you can imagine a smooth blend of the Book of Job, Dante's Inferno, Cervantes' Don Quixote and Butler's Erewhon, with the addition of a heavy dollop of extra absurdity, you are getting close to the nature of Candide. That absurdity is what makes the tale funny and without it, it would be an unpaletable concoction.

There is a good deal of social and political satire, something I often find to be a little weak; it's easy to point and laugh, harder to say what might be better. Voltaire, does howe...more
Rowena
This is a truly hilarious satire which starts with poor Candide being kicked out of the castle where he was born and brought up, after he falls in love with the baron’s daughter, Cunegonde. Then his troubles begin, and he ends up travelling all around the world looking for his beloved.

Candide experiences trial after trial, each one as bad and as far-fetched as the last. However, the way in which these trials were described did not make one feel too sorry for him; the story had more of the feel o...more
Keely
This book does not stick so well in my memory in either a negative or positive way, but I think this comes from the book being a mixture of two things which I could not feel more differently about: allegory and satire.

The first I find to be as silly and pointless as Aesop or Passion Plays. Characters in an allegory are oversimplified symbols, and so cannot comment on the nature of actual human beings. The style is already so firmly affixed to cultural states and norms that it cannot really say a...more
Trevor
This is quite a remarkable book – a satirical attack on the notion that we live in the best of all possible worlds and that therefore all that happens in such a world invariably happens for the best. Voltaire is supposed to have written the whole thing in barely three days – a rather productive half-week.

What I found particularly interesting here was the discussion of war – how the horrors of war are presented in such an off-hand way and almost invariably the utter inhumanity of what is describe...more
Samadrita
What a blistering criticism of blind prejudice, ignorance, religious dogma, class distinctions and the stubborn opposition to newer ideas and thoughts! I fully understand now why Voltaire's writings helped fuel the French Revolution.
mai ahmd


من الأدب الساخر بطلها يدعى كانديدوترجمتها حسب ما قرأت هي الساذج
تقوم الرواية على فكرة أن العالم ملىء بالشر وإن الإنسان عليه أن لا يسرف بالتفاؤل ولعلها فعلا كما ظن جاك جان روسو كانت الرد على رسالته التي وجهها إلى فولتير والتي تنتقد النظرة التشاؤمية التي يكتب بها فولتير وإن كان يظن أن فولتير لم يطلع على تلك الرسالة مع إن كل الدلائل تشير لعكس ذلك ، ينتقد فولتير هذا العالم الممتلىء بالقسوة فالكل في هذه الرواية يبدو شريرا .. كما إنه لا توجد قوانين أخلاقية تجمع بين البشر ..بل المنفعة والأنانية والسل...more
Benjamin Duffy
I think that Candide is probably the type of book that enriches the reader the deeper he or she delves into it. It would probably reward repeated readings. It would probably reveal deeper layers of satire and absurdity if it were read in the original French. It would probably take on deeper shades of meaning if it were read in conjunction with any of the commentaries that have been written about it over the past 250-odd years.

Having said that, I'm not going to do any of those things. I have way...more
MacK
I don't know quite how it happened, but this book has come up again and again over the past month. Though I read it in college and enjoyed it then, I had forgotten exactly what made Candide so brilliant.

It's not the characters. Though, to be fair, the characters are remarkable. A hopelessly naive protagonist you feel tremendous sympathy for along with a remarkable cast of characters from nobles to ne'er do wells, priests to prostitutes, philosophers, fanatics and fiends connect you with Voltaire...more
Irishcoda
This was the best book for me to read at this moment in time! Right now, things have gone wrong with us financially, physically, emotionally and in just about every way. The last time this happened, I picked up Why Bad Things Happen To Good People and it felt "right". This time around, the satire and black humor was just right for me!

One thing that is really cool is that Candide's story is timeless, even though it was written in the 18th century! At some point, most people suffer and some more s...more
Hamid Hasanzadeh
صدها بار خواستم خودکشی کنم ولی همیشه زندگی را بیشتر دوست داشتم. این مرضِ مسخره، شاید از بدترین غرایز باشد؛ چیزی احمقانه تر از این هست که باری را که می توانی روی زمین بگذاری بر دوش بکشی یا در ترس و وحشت زندگی کنی و همواره با آن بچسبی یا ماری را نوازش کنی که تو را می بلعد تا قلبت را نیز بخورد؟

در کاندید ، ولتر دیدگاه ساده لوحانه و خوش بینانه لایبنیتز، مبنی بر این که همه چیز در دنیا خوب است را ، به طرز زیرکانه ای زیر سوال می برد. کاندیدِ جوان که در قصر بارون زندگی می کند به گناه بوسه ای بر لبان دختر...more
maricar
Humans really do have a great capacity to be miserable…

I dare not propound any way with which to look at this piece of writing – I’m hardly equipped to do so. I just want to say that I greatly enjoyed reading this. The circumstances and twists in the fates of all the characters were so fantastical as to be probable, unbelievable enough to be actually quite possible.

In the center of it all is the hugely naïve, pitifully gullible, but steadfastly noble and generous Candide. Through this character’...more
Jamie
I'm not a big fan of whimsy and satire, but this was an amusing read. It required some research on my part in order to attempt to recognize the subjects Voltaire was skewering. I'm sure I didn't understand all of it, but at least I've now read up on Leibniz's optimism, which claims that since God is omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent, this world we live in must be the best possible of all worlds. Evil is merely "shadows in a beautiful picture", as Candide suggests, and all things happen for a...more
Jeanette (Most of My Favorite Authors Are Dead)
I didn't expect this book to be so funny! What a nice surprise. The story is a lampoon of the phony, foolish "optimism" that says, "This must be the best of all possible worlds, because this is the way the world is." Even though the book was written over 200 years ago, it is still timely. It applies today to the ridiculous people who say that "thinking positive" will make everything work out.
Voltaire's conclusion, after all of Candide's experiences, is that we must "work in the garden." To me th...more
Daniel
Sometimes when I review books on GoodReads -- especially well-loved books such as Ian McEwan's "Atonement" -- I feel a bit like Senator Pococurante from Voltaire's "Candide":
As soon as our two travelers had taken leave of His Excellency, Candide said to Martin, "Well, I hope you will own that this man is the happiest of all mortals, for he is above everything he possesses."
"But do not you see," answered Martin, "that he likewise dislikes everything he possesses? It was an observation of Plato, l
...more
Lorenzo
Hilarious! And yet deep in its own way.

One of the very few books on the so called "philosophy" I've been able to digest. I've literally devoured Candide when I was 16. And then I've read it again, with double pleasure and double laughing.

Besides, thanks to Voltaire I've discovered that Leibniz is not only a biscuit.

This book is suggested to everyone who wants to look at his/her life in a better way while in a difficult period. Don't worry guys: whatever your troubles are, Candide's ones are wor...more
Ben
Simply a brilliant refutation on the seemingly everlasting, "everything happens for a reason" crowd. Teeming with philosphical brilliance Voltaire gets right to the point, beating down on the reader with the theme of unjust suffering, and the flip of the coin that is love and life.
Mary
This book has a special place in my heart. My eighth grade teacher (who, I think, was supposed to be teaching us history or possibly lit at the time) took me aside one day, handed me this book and said, "Hey, I think you'd like this. Why don't you read it?" Then he let me do just that, during class. He taught my classmate Curtis to play chess because, again, he thought Curtis would like that. I'm sure he gave other people stuff to do. Maybe he introduced them to something that would be part of t...more
Dolors
Having never read anything by Voltaire before I didn't know what to expect, but he being known as one of the greatest French philosophers of all times, I was prepared for a tedious and complex novel.

I couldn't have been wronger.

"Candide" is a satirical short tale, without ornaments, straight to the point, which describes the crudeness of human nature. We follow Candide and his friends travelling around the world and suffering all king of imaginable vicissitudes while trying to believe what thei...more
علي الفقير
أعظم أعمال فولتير كما هو معترف به في أواننا. رواية فلسفية تغوص في الخيال بزعانف أحداث حقيقية حصلت في منتصف القرن الثامن عشر. الطابع الساخر والتهكمي لفولتير يظهر فيها بوضوح. ينتقد فيها فولتير بسخرية شديدة نظرية الفيلسوف ليبينتز في التفاؤل Optimism وأن كل شيء إنما وُجد على أحسن ما يكون.
يصف خروج كنديد من سرايا عمه البارون كخروج آدم من جنة عدن. ويصف إلدرادو كأنها الجنة الموعودة والتي لما ينلها بشر. ثم يصل إلى حقيقة أن علينا زرع جنتنا بأيدينا في آخر الرواية. كما لم يفوت الفرصة في نقد الاستبداد السياس...more
Robert Delikat
Aug 07, 2012 Robert Delikat rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: anyone interested in the classics
Recommended to Robert by: Gary Anderson by way of his latest novel.
After a number of unspecified decades, I reread this classic and moved it from 4 to 5 stars. I do not even remember this book being as great as I now think that it is. The book is hilarious and, given when it was written, centuries ahead of its time.
Wayne
Jun 13, 2013 Wayne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: everyone - we're all in the same boat
Recommended to Wayne by: reading philosophy
If you are going to try this little satirical comic gem and masterpiece and key text of the French Enlightenment which sold like hot cakes in several European Capitals on its first appearance in Feb 1759, then buy one with footnotes.
WHY?
Because you will miss out on one of its pleasures - the historical events, customs and thought of the age to which the story refers.
It just makes it more entertaining and enriching and you become one of the contemporaries for whom it was intended.

Not that you ne...more
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In 1694, Age of Enlightenment leader Francois-Marie Arouet, known as Voltaire, was born in Paris. Jesuit-educated, he began writing clever verses by the age of 12. He launched a lifelong, successful playwriting career in 1718, interrupted by imprisonment in the Bastille. Upon a second imprisonment, in which Francois adopted the pen name Voltaire, he was released after agreeing to move to London. T...more
More about Voltaire...
Candide and Other Stories (World's Classics) Zadig Candide, Zadig and Selected Stories Philosophical Dictionary Micromegas

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“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 more stupid 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?” 532 likes
“Fools have a habit of believing that everything written by a famous author is admirable. For my part I read only to please myself and like only what suits my taste.” 290 likes
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