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3.77  ·  Rating details ·  246,879 ratings  ·  9,375 reviews
Candide is the story of a gentle man who, though pummeled and slapped in every direction by fate, clings desperately to the belief that he lives in "the best of all possible worlds." On the surface a witty, bantering tale, this eighteenth-century classic is actually a savage, satiric thrust at the philosophical optimism that proclaims that all disaster and human suffering ...more
Paperback, 129 pages
Published 1991 by Dover Publications (first published January 1759)
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Rik This book is a classic! A treasure of 18th-century satire. You're either a troll or a troglodyte. Go and read the Hunger Games again.…moreThis book is a classic! A treasure of 18th-century satire. You're either a troll or a troglodyte. Go and read the Hunger Games again.(less)
Misha I'd go with something like Catch-22, highly entertaining, absurdist and filled with black humor.…moreI'd go with something like Catch-22, highly entertaining, absurdist and filled with black humor.(less)

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Average rating 3.77  · 
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 ·  246,879 ratings  ·  9,375 reviews

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- 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
James Tivendale
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, philosophy
Voltaire's novel introduces the reader to Candide, a wide-eyed, calm and slightly bland young gentleman who resides at Castle Westphalia and who believes in the philosophy that "everything in the world is for the best." One of the first scenes is filled with two emotional opposites for Candide who first gets to kiss his love, Cunegonde behind a screen, only to then be kicked out of the castle, literally, by the Baron of Thunder-ten-Tronckh.

Here then begins Candide's incredible, fantastical adve
Mar 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Slightly disappointed with the next-Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I took on this classic next IN ONE SITTING.

Where has this one been all my life? I adore "Candide" because it is rife with adventure, it is a speedy read, and at the very end you experience a vortex of feelings and NOVEL concepts. It transcends literature itself.

Compare this to Dante. To Shakespeare! I could not help but smile at all the awful misadventures of our poor fool. This is made for someone, like me, who thinks "The Alch
Vit Babenco
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds…
And following this sententious wisdom Candide embarks on the quest of his life.
Never was anything so gallant, so well accoutred, so brilliant, and so finely disposed as the two armies. The trumpets, fifes, hautboys, drums, and cannon made such harmony as never was heard in Hell itself.

His adventures begin with war… Wars bring glory to those who are on the winning side… Especially to the monarchs and their generals… As for the rest, they may
David Lentz
Sep 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Oct 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
I’m afraid this classic and long-winded anarchist rant is still as much Over the Top as it always was for me.


Still a bit much indeed.

Sure, I see what Voltaire is railing at: Effete philosophically liberal posturing - without a heart.

But aren’t theorists of all stripes NOW more or less heartless? Ah, for the old Kantian days...

No wonder we’re at our current impasse everywhere!

Sure, I know where Voltaire is coming from. He’s coming out of a traumatically blighted Childhood at the hands of so
I dedicate this review to my dear friend Roger, a writer of inspiring reviews. This is in great part in answer to your question: "Do you ever read anything light?"

Roger made me think: what major literature work, as nothing less would do!, that I read would fit the definition of light? Of course, Candide came up front to my mind. And what makes Candide so brilliant and hilarious? Not one think, but various factors combined:

1. Remarkable characters: a hopelessly naïve protagonist, for whom you ha
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
“If this is the best of possible worlds, what then are the others?”

If the world was created to drive us mad, as one character in "Candide" suggests, it is quite well suited for its purpose and running like a fine-tuned machine. If, on the other hand, everything is for the best in this best of possible worlds, as the optimist philosopher Pangloss claims in admiration for Leibniz' idea of a benevolent, planning, organised deity, the above question is fair and scary. What are the other worlds like,
Candide is a real crush! Simply magical. I knew this novel but had never had the pleasure of reading it. Here it is! Candide is the hero of this philosophical tale; he is a character who lives up to his name, wants to be optimistic and believes in life. We know that he was born in Westphalia, a German kingdom, and is the son of the sister of Sir Baron de Thunder-ten-tronckh. The latter will raise him with his daughter, Miss Cunégonde, his wife and a philosopher, Pangloss, whose moral is "all is ...more
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: french-lit
It seems that I haven't known or understood Voltaire enough to appreciate his most acclaimed work. This reading put me straight since I've revisited this with a fair knowledge of Voltaire's life and philosophy.

When I first read this, I found it nonsensical. I didn't know that the whole work was a satirical attack on Leibniz's optimism. Leibniz's philosophy was that we live in the best of possible worlds and that everything happens for the best. Voltaire was highly critical of this theory and ar
K.D. Absolutely
Jul 18, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  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 pa
Sean Barrs
Apr 24, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1-star-reads
Consider me dramatically and unequivocally unimpressed.

I did not laugh once. I do not engage with stories that are simple allegory to represent a philosophy. I want a little bit of substance. I want some storytelling involved.

Call it a product of its time if you like, but laziness is the word that comes to mind.

I won't waste anymore words here.
Jun 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
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
Brian Yahn
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
In only about 100 pages, Voltaire says more than your average 7 book series... Which would be great if most of what he talked about wasn't dated into irrelevance. So unless you're a French scholar, appreciating his satire seems unrealistic. Combine that with the speed at which the plot moves, and keeping up with Candide is definitely a chore. Truly enjoying his adventure seems like a privilege only possible for the super-educated.

At one time, Candide was a must-read. But, for the average person
Rakhi Dalal
Sep 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
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
Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤
“This is the best of all possible worlds.”
― Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

You know what really irritates me?  Over the top optimism due to a belief that everything happens according to some divine plan.  'Oh, you just lost your home in a hurricane?  Well, "God" has a plan and a purpose for this. Just you wait, someday you'll be thankful this happened!'   'Oh, your child has blood cancer and will die a horrific death?  Well, "God" works in mysterious ways but his will is always best.'  

Bull. Fucki
"In the castle of Baron Thunder-ten-tronchkh in Westphalia, there once lived a youth endowed by nature with the gentlest of characters. His soul was revealed in his face. He combined rather sound judgment with great simplicity of mind; it was for this reason, I believe, that he was given the name of Candide."

I have to admit straightaway that in my youth, I was most like the naïve and often foolish Candide, believing in the teachings of the optimistic Dr. Pangloss that "all is for the best". Tho
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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
May 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
The best part of this book was that it ended and with a happily ever after.
J.G. 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
Not bought this book last time we visited Foyles; since it was lying around, I couldn't resist the temptation to read it again. You can read Candide any number of times. A particularly fine passage which I had forgotten, from the Eldorado sequence:
Cacambo expliquait les bons mots du roi à Candide, et quoique traduits, ils paraissaient toujours des bons mots. De tout ce qui étonnait Candide, ce n'était pas ce qui l'étonna le moins.

Cacambo explained the king's witty remarks to Candide, and, althou
Axl Oswaldo
Splendid, very well written, and quite funny story.

"Do you believe," said Candide, "that men have always massacred each other as they do to-day, that they have always been liars, cheats, traitors, ingrates, brigands, idiots, thieves, scoundrels, gluttons, drunkards, misers, envious, ambitious, bloody-minded, calumniators, debauchees, fanatics, hypocrites, and fools?"

"Do you believe," said Martin, "that hawks have always eaten pigeons when they have found them?"

"Yes, without doubt," said Candid
Dec 27, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, french
Each and every single sentence in this book is dripping with satire – going through the footnotes took almost as long as reading the main thing. I am glad I did go through them, as they provide a rich historical background that allows one to understand exactly how Voltaire was coming at his story. There are shots taken at any and everyone, including publishers in Holland, Parisians, and Rousseau.

Candide’s journey is exhausting. His shitty luck is exhausting. The trials and tribulations he (and t
Once again, Voltaire gives me the impression that he is not attracted to the novel or the story, which he contemptuously calls " trifles ".
" How can you prefer stories that have no meaning and mean nothing ? That's why we like it ".
He has the prejudice of the noble gender. The tragedy, the verse discourse, the philosophical pamphlet, visibly preoccupies him.

The story is divided into two moments, with the Eldorado episode in the center - the image of an inaccessible ideal. The evolution of the
Apr 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: short, france, classics, 1001
A fast pace, short and entertaining classic. A satire of the philosophic ideas of extreme optimism summarised by “All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds”. A ridiculous number of misfortunes happen to Candide and his companions but he still clings himself of the idea that everything is for the best. The book reminded me of The 100 year old that climbed our of the window and disappeared (or something like that) because of the crazy coincidences and humorous tone.
Jon Nakapalau
Aug 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, classics
"Panglossianism" fails to take into account that the 'best of all possible worlds' may not be the best state of existence for everyone living in that world. The question of what makes the world 'best' and for whom that 'bestness' is reserved seems to me to be the core question of this book. ...more
Daniel Clausen
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-of-2020
There is a lot of the DNA of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in this book. Or, perhaps I should say, there is a lot of the DNA of Candide in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Both books have a similar theme: life is random, often absurd; it defies our ability to use philosophy to make sense out of nonsense; and travel is the mechanism by which we discover the variability of this absurdity.

In this book, we also have a philosophical conversation: between pessimism and optimism. Throughout the bo
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
François-Marie Arouet better known by his nom de plum Voltaire. During the French Englightenment he was a renowned author of a multitude of books covering a wide array of topics from history to science. But Voltaire is best known as a scathing satirist. His strong views on the established Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and separation of church and state caused him to become famous but also a controversial figure. This caused him to have to frequently ...more
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Complete works (1880) : https://archive.org/details/oeuvresco...

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 na

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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?” 1423 likes
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