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Candide and Other Romances by Voltaire by…

Candide and Other Romances by Voltaire (1759)

by Voltaire

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I did not find "genius" when I read this book. I was disappointed. Everyone at one time praised Voltaire as being some sort of god that he tried to replace with reasoning. Maybe they favored his philosophy and therefore favored what he wrote. An optimistic hayseed confronts reality and is shown how stupid his attitude is in the real world. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
I confess I didn't read all of the stories here, but the three earlier tales (Candide, Micromegas and Zadig) are all well worth while. Zadig in particular is the kind of thing I dislike- Arabian-Nights inspired strings of deeds aren't really my cup of tea- and yet it went down reasonably well. Micromegas is fine, but there's not much reason to read it instead of Gulliver's Travels. The main attraction, on the other hand, really is a doozy.

'Candide' actually shocked me, which is impressive, because I usually roll my eyes at 'shocking' books (I'm looking at you, Will 'let's have a main character fellate a dead dog' Self), but Voltaire's fairly simple descriptions of war and war-crimes are, for whatever reason, still very moving. You'll get plenty of intellectual stimulation too- a 'perfect' plot that gets shredded by actual events, human folly and evil, and one of the all time great closing lines. I imagine I'll find myself re-reading Candide many times. Not so much Zadig or Micromegas.
( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
To finish someday maybe. I read Candide and was underwhelmed, so it might be some time before I care to finish the volume.
  idlerking | Mar 31, 2013 |
I didn't know how funny Voltaire was. Candide had me laughing out loud a good deal of the time. The humor reminded me of South Park. Really. The same absolute disregard of any propriety. Reading this book, first published in 1759, gave me the conviction that we humans really can communicate across "the wrackful siege of battering days," as Shakespeare put it in Sonnet 60.

Along with reading this edition I listened along to the very fine, very witty narration by Jack Davenport in the AudioGO edition--he was fantastic, and I recommend his reading of Candide even for those of you who think you know this book well.

I need to laud the translator Roger Pearson, as well, who has somehow made Candide sound like it was written in English originally--really smooth and with a delightful rhythm and cadence to the sentences. ( )
  poingu | Mar 30, 2013 |
Voltaire is a famous philosopher of the Enlightenment, and Candide his most famous work. It's very short, less than a hundred pages, and the edition I read filled out the book with three other novellas, Zadig, Ingenu, The White Bull and a short story Micromegas. Although Candide is the most celebrated work in the book, it wasn't necessarily my favorite--but I did find it amusing. Candide is a satiric send-up of Leibniz's theory of optimism through Candide's mentor Dr. Pangloss, who believes we live in "the best of all possible worlds" even in the face of increasingly insane disasters. I thought particularly funny the "genealogy of syphilis" where Pangloss traces the lineage of his infection back in a "direct line from one of Christopher Columbus's shipmates." I also rather loved the iconoclastic and grumpy twitting of classics by Pococurante. I might not agree with his lambasting of Homer and Virgil (though I though he was dead on about Milton) but I agreed with his principle that "Ignorant readers are apt to judge a writer by his reputation. For my part, I read only to please myself. I like nothing but what makes for my purpose."

The short story Micromegas deals with giant visitors to Earth from the star Sirius and the planet Saturn and scoffs at humans' self-centeredness. I think I loved Zadig the most though. The opening gives a nod to 1,001 Arabian Nights and tells the story of Zadig of Ancient Babylonia. He offers up a deduction early on that would make Sherlock Holmes proud and enough wisdom to make Solomon feel abashed. I loved the irreverence of Ingenu (in another edition known as Master Simple). In it a young man raised by the Huron Indians in Quebec confounds others with his reactions to things French, particularly on religious matters. Being convinced to convert to Christianity, for example, he goes about trying to find someone to circumcise him, since that's obviously what the Bible requires, then insists the only way for him to be baptized is in a river, and refuses to recognize the authority of the Pope. The White Bull is also quite fun, as involved are just about every animal who had a role in the Bible--particularly the serpent from Eden whose dialogue with a Princess seems to spoof Milton.

The stories aren't what I expected from what the introduction called "fables of reason" meant to elucidate philosophy. They're not at all dry or inaccessible and were quite fun with lots of lines I'd be tempted to quote if there weren't so many that were wise, witty and striking. These short satires reminded me quite a bit of Swift's Gulliver's Travel only with less bathroom humor and more good-natured. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Feb 13, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Voltaireprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aldington, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0192807269, Paperback)

Candide, the wittiest and best-loved book of a genius who is still unequaled in his ability to spin art out of philosophy, became a huge bestseller in Europe after it was published in 1759. Voltaire, skeptical of the systems of philosophy that were floated about to explain the workings of the world, used this satirical story about the optimist Candide and his friend Dr. Pangloss to interrogate and discredit the philosophies and approach more closely the truth about human life, suffering, and happiness in the real world. Now, the short novel Candide is considered one of the most important texts of the enlightenment.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:09 -0400)

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Presents new translations of stories by Voltaire.

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