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Candide

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3.77  ·  Rating details ·  209,828 ratings  ·  7,212 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
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Published September 19th 2001 by Maisonneuve & Larose (first published January 3rd 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.
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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  209,828 ratings  ·  7,212 reviews


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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
...more
James Lafayette Tivendale
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
...more
Fabian
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 IN ONE SITTING.

&...

J***S!

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
...more
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 ...more
Lizzy
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
...more
Lisa
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,
...more
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
...more
Fergus
Oct 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Im afraid this classic and long-winded anarchist rant is as much Over the Top as it always was for me.

Yes...

Still a bit much indeed.

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

But arent theorists of all stripes NOW more or less heartless? Ah, for the old Kantian days...

No wonder were at our current impasse everywhere!

Sure, I know where Voltaire is coming from. Hes coming out of a traumatically blighted Childhood at the hands of some very
...more
Chris
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
...more
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
...more
Rowena
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 barons 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 of
...more
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. Fucking.
...more
Candi
"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".
...more
Chris
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
Brian Yahn
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
...more
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 rest
...more
Loretta
The best part of this book was that it ended and with a happily ever after.
Mike Puma
Aug 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french-author, 2012

3.5 stars rounded up for its Classic-ness.

Everyone knows this story, dont they? A gentle-hearted and dimwitted pretty boy has his life turned upside-down, repeatedly, and in the most reprehensible waysnot just him, everyone he knows or admires or lovesall 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

...more
Manny
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,
...more
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
...more
Trevor
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 described
...more
Jan-Maat
Comedy of disasters with a happy ending devoted to testing to destruction the notion that we live in the best of all possible worlds. In order to do this the characters are repeatedly killed, injured and disadvantaged. In a fine move they take turns narrating their disasters to each other, until the old woman who was the illegitimate daughter of the a Pope managed to out do everyone with her story which culminates (debatably) in having one of her buttock cheeks eaten as an act of (relative) ...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
...more
Daniel Clausen
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Sud666
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Lee Klein
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Had no idea this was so cray. A buttock eaten off?! Wha?! All sorts of murders, pillaging, calamities, earthquakes, generally violent happenings. The best of all worlds, indeed. All of it moving forward at a quick clip, never worrying if a character who's been hanged or disemboweled reappears a little later just fine. Satirical, philosophical, funny like the butchered Black Knight in "The Holy Grail." Loved the bit about scholar of good taste's advice for what makes a successful tragedy -- what ...more
Manybooks
I have indeed read Voltaire's Candide in both English and French (as the first time I was reading it for a French literature class at university during my undergrad, I managed to find a great dual language version that I totally loved and which also greatly helped with being able to understand the French text without constantly having to consult a dictionary). And yes, Candide is most definitely one of the relatively few novels that I actually managed to enjoy equally in both languages (where ...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.
Elise (TheBookishActress)
humanities: book 2
This is a piece of satire that was entertaining enough, but by the end, I was really skimming and I dont think I actually got much out of this.

So Candide was written in an era where philosophical thought was that the world was full of meaning. Voltaire disagreed. And so he wrote an entire book making fun of it, as you do.

And that is. all this book is. All of the characters are horribly dislikable, the plot is completely ridiculous, etc etc etc - this is just satire and that
...more
Piyangie
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french-lit
I really don't know why I picked this up. I came across it while perusing Goodreads update feed and thought I'll give it a try. And now that I finished the read, I can say that I have read Candide by Voltaire. That seems all I could say about it.

However, I'll give a summery for those who would be interested in reading the book. The story is about Candide and his journey through so many adventures and perils in the hope of being reunited with his love. The writing is full of satire and Voltaire's
...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Correction, add info 3 22 Apr 16, 2019 12:08PM  
Reading 1001: Candide by Voltaire 3 14 Mar 09, 2019 04:14AM  
Guardian Newspape...: Candide - October 2018 17 19 Oct 14, 2018 02:30PM  
LER FAZ BEM: Cândido ou o Optimismo 3 5 Mar 19, 2017 08:09AM  

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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
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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?” 1241 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.” 1050 likes
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