Lauren Smith's Reviews > Candide

Candide by Voltaire
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's review
Oct 17, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: classic, own, religion, philosophy, politics, humour

Candide has the fastest moving plot of any book I have ever read. The story told in this slim novel could easily be expanded into an 800-page epic, but then it would lose its vicious satirical bite. I enjoyed Candide for its relentless, humorous criticism of the philosophy that everything is as it should and everything is for the best, as illustrated by Pangloss’s notion that “the nose is formed for spectacles, therefore we wear spectacles”. It’s the same philosophy commonly espoused in religious contexts – that the world is as [insert deity of choice] wills it and thus everything is good and right(regardless of insurmountable evidence to the contrary).

Young Candide is Pangloss’s ever-faithful student, and clings to this quite stupid optimism despite being the constant victim of human greed and malice. His beliefs do falter as his fortunes fail, but the moment anything even moderately good happens to him he rationalises his way back to optimism. With the rapid pace of the plot however, and Volatire’s droll satire, we can see this philosophy for the delusion it is.

Read more reviews on my blog Violin in a Void
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Reading Progress

October 17, 2010 – Started Reading
October 17, 2010 – Shelved
October 17, 2010 – Shelved as: classic
October 17, 2010 – Shelved as: own
October 17, 2010 –
page 45
October 18, 2010 –
page 77
October 18, 2010 – Shelved as: religion
October 18, 2010 – Shelved as: philosophy
October 18, 2010 – Shelved as: politics
October 18, 2010 – Finished Reading
October 22, 2010 – Shelved as: humour

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