Thursday, March 1, 2007


By Voltaire
Reviewed by Heather T.

I'm not sure how to write this without it sounding like an essay for University or some such. Bare with me while I gush. My blog is called The Library Ladder and my rating system involves Library Ladder Rungs, of which Candide earned 5 out of 5.

The subtitle of Candide is 'Or Optimism' and the back cover bills it as "the most brilliant challenge to the idea endemic in Voltaire's day, that -all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds-". Writing during the Enlightenment Voltaire, created Candide to explore cause and effect, to speak out against blind adherence to one authority (Church or State) and to preach tolerance. Using humour, Voltaire was able to produce a philosophical triumph which is that each individual should be able to come to his own answers and that one’s destiny is one’s own – the human condition.

A few quotes to whet your appetite:

p. 19"You could read his character in his face. He combined sound judgement with unaffected simplicity; and that, I suppose, was why he was called Candide."

p.142"'I had been looking forward,' said Pangloss, 'to a little discussion with you about cause and effect, the best of all possible worlds, the origin of evil, the nature of the soul, and pre-established harmony.'At these words the dervish got up and slammed the door in their faces."

p.144"'There is a chain of event in this best of all possible worlds; for if you had not been turned out of a beautiful mansion at the point of a jackboot for the love of Lady Cunegonde, and if you had not been involved in the Inquisition, and had you not wandered all over America on foot, and had not struck the baron with your sword, and lost all those sheep you brought from Eldorado, you would not be here eating candied fruit and pistachio nuts.''That's true enough,' said Candide; 'but we must go and work in the garden.'"

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