Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book


Rate this book
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 is part of a benevolent cosmic plan. Fast, funny, often outrageous, the French philosopher's immortal narrative takes Candide around the world to discover that -- contrary to the teachings of his distinguished tutor Dr. Pangloss -- all is not always for the best. Alive with wit, brilliance, and graceful storytelling, Candide has become Voltaire's most celebrated work.

129 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1759

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author


4,338 books4,082 followers
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 name Voltaire, he was released after agreeing to move to London. There he wrote Lettres philosophiques (1733), which galvanized French reform. The book also satirized the religious teachings of Rene Descartes and Blaise Pascal, including Pascal's famed "wager" on God. Voltaire wrote: "The interest I have in believing a thing is not a proof of the existence of that thing." Voltaire's French publisher was sent to the Bastille and Voltaire had to escape from Paris again, as judges sentenced the book to be "torn and burned in the Palace." Voltaire spent a calm 16 years with his deistic mistress, Madame du Chatelet, in Lorraine. He met the 27 year old married mother when he was 39. In his memoirs, he wrote: "I found, in 1733, a young woman who thought as I did, and decided to spend several years in the country, cultivating her mind." He dedicated Traite de metaphysique to her. In it the Deist candidly rejected immortality and questioned belief in God. It was not published until the 1780s. Voltaire continued writing amusing but meaty philosophical plays and histories. After the earthquake that leveled Lisbon in 1755, in which 15,000 people perished and another 15,000 were wounded, Voltaire wrote Poème sur le désastre de Lisbonne (Poem on the Lisbon Disaster): "But how conceive a God supremely good/ Who heaps his favours on the sons he loves,/ Yet scatters evil with as large a hand?"

Voltaire purchased a chateau in Geneva, where, among other works, he wrote Candide (1759). To avoid Calvinist persecution, Voltaire moved across the border to Ferney, where the wealthy writer lived for 18 years until his death. Voltaire began to openly challenge Christianity, calling it "the infamous thing." He wrote Frederick the Great: "Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd, and bloody religion that has ever infected the world." Voltaire ended every letter to friends with "Ecrasez l'infame" (crush the infamy — the Christian religion). His pamphlet, The Sermon on the Fifty (1762) went after transubstantiation, miracles, biblical contradictions, the Jewish religion, and the Christian God. Voltaire wrote that a true god "surely cannot have been born of a girl, nor died on the gibbet, nor be eaten in a piece of dough," or inspired "books, filled with contradictions, madness, and horror." He also published excerpts of Testament of the Abbe Meslier, by an atheist priest, in Holland, which advanced the Enlightenment. Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary was published in 1764 without his name. Although the first edition immediately sold out, Geneva officials, followed by Dutch and Parisian, had the books burned. It was published in 1769 as two large volumes. Voltaire campaigned fiercely against civil atrocities in the name of religion, writing pamphlets and commentaries about the barbaric execution of a Huguenot trader, who was first broken at the wheel, then burned at the stake, in 1762. Voltaire's campaign for justice and restitution ended with a posthumous retrial in 1765, during which 40 Parisian judges declared the defendant innocent. Voltaire urgently tried to save the life of Chevalier de la Barre, a 19 year old sentenced to death for blasphemy for failing to remove his hat during a religious procession. In 1766, Chevalier was beheaded after being tortured, then his body was burned, along with a copy of Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary. Voltaire's statue at the Pantheon was melted down during Nazi occupation. D. 1778.

Voltaire (1694-1778), pseudónimo de François-

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
72,344 (27%)
4 stars
91,290 (34%)
3 stars
69,053 (26%)
2 stars
21,387 (8%)
1 star
7,520 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 10,329 reviews
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 28 books13.5k followers
May 19, 2009
- 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 has become stronger as a result...

- So really it was a good thing?

- Oh, of course, all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds!

- What? Including, I don't know, the Iraq War?

- Absoluement! It is similar. If M. Bush had not started this very unpopular war, then the American voters would never have decided to choose M. Obama, who you can see is the best possible président you could have at this moment très difficile de l'histoire...

- But I think they chose him, more than anything else, because of the economic meltdown?

- Bien sûr, the war on its own would not have been enough, la crise économique also was necessary. All is for the best!

- M. Candide, you think that global warming and the impending collapse of the world's climate is also for the best?

- Mais, ça se voit! Because of the global warming, la science et la technologie will be forced to make new avances, people in all countries will start to work together, and we will enter a new golden age. Soon it will be as in El Dorado, that I visited once in l'Amerique du Sud...

- Um. So I suppose that the spread of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, genocide in Rwanda and Rush Limbaugh are also good things when you look at them from the right angle?

- Evidement! First, le SIDA. By making drug companies and researchers focus on...

- No, wait. Forget AIDS. What about Stephenie Meyer? Is she a good thing too?

- Eh... oui... non... this book, Fascination... how do you say, "Twilight"... alors. If only my dear Doctor Pangloss was here, he could explain to you...
Profile Image for James Tivendale.
307 reviews1,311 followers
May 14, 2019
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 adventure which takes him all over the globe with his mind always believing in the viewpoint that "the folly of optimism". Moving on from being a soldier in the Bulgarian army to being shipwrecked, being involved with the aftermath of an earthquake to being robbed and swindled more times than seems fair - our hero has a lot of bad luck. One of the overarching issues of this narrative is to present that it isn't just Candide that bad things happen to and that the world is just pretty damn horrible. Tragic things happen to all our main characters including philosopher Dr. Pangloss and a nice old lady who saved Candide from certain death. The tale is humorously and satirically presented in short, sharp chapters by Voltaire. Some descriptions of doom and degradation are presented in a comic fashion because if they were not they might be too unspeakably horrid and upsetting to read, and therefore would not keep us readers interested in, well, reading further. The heartlessness, negativity, and cold-heartedness of humans is a frequent aura and undertone throughout. The novel features all sorts of nastiness such as rape, murder, prostitution, and slavery among other diabolical nastiness and nonsense. The only part of this book where Voltaire excludes any use of humour is when he talks about slavery after we meet a mutilated man. This is quite poignant when the author has presented all the mephistophelian activities previously that slavery doesn't deserve any humour - arguably making this the crime Voltaire begrudges the most in this world. There are many heart-rending, pitiful and distressing moments throughout, sprinkled with humour and comedy.

Candide and his valet Cacambo, after nearly being eaten by indigenous people; arrive in Voltaire's Utopia El Dorado. This was my favourite section of the book as this unobtainable existence is a polar opposite of everything that the two young men have faced so far. Gold and diamonds litter the streets as pebbles, there is no law, scientific advancements that make the Western world jealous, no prisons and is opposite to the popular viewpoint of the story that "all is misery and illusion". The main plot progression throughout the book is Candide trying to find his love Cunegonde as he wishes to marry her which is his reason for (stupidly in my opinion) leaving this wonderful place.

The whole cast is likable. Some of the times they meet up with friends spontaneously all over the world is amazingly far fetched. Two of the main characters are previously mentioned optimistic philosopher Dr. Pangloss and ultimately pessimistic scholar and travel companion of Candide's, Martin. The juxtaposition here is very interesting. It is very "black and white" for these extreme viewpoints. There is no compromise or middle ground. A great amount of philosophy is discussed throughout the book in conversations usually prompted by Candide who wants answers to how the world works. It may very well be that he changes his optimistic opinion throughout the narrative.

I probably shouldn't like a book with so much negativity but it is incredibly written. It reminded me of Verne's - Around The World In Eighty Days. Both being high octane adventures transversing across the globe but with Candide's undertones being a lot more macabre.

My favourite scene was when Candide discusses classic literature such as Homer, Virgil, and Horace to a King who dislikes everything. "You will agree that this is the happiest of mortals, for he is above everything he possesses." Negativity and hatred is the main theme throughout the whole novel.

The problem with reviewing classic literature like this is that many greater wordsmiths over previous centuries have written more poetic and moving opinions. I'm an ant looking up at these amazing intellects and just trying to give my thoughts. I struggle to write about legendary books however I enjoyed the book so much I had to write down a few blurbs of thoughts even though the quality will be lacking when compared to previous critics. If you haven't already, this book is very well worth reading!

James Tivendale.
Profile Image for Fabian.
940 reviews1,538 followers
October 26, 2020
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 Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho isn't all that...!

I even told G that I was put off by the cover--that is, not until the entire book is ravished & torn apart by the ravenous reader does the simple, almost academic print of a globe in this particular edition of "Candide" make sense.

voila! Voltaire.
Easily EASILY Top Ten.
Profile Image for Vit Babenco.
1,392 reviews3,267 followers
June 11, 2021
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 in peace.
But Candide never frets… He moves on…
“All this was indispensably necessary,” replied the one–eyed doctor, “for private misfortunes are public benefits; so that the more private misfortunes there are, the greater is the general good.”

So Candide never worries… He moves on… He bravely proceeds from bad to worse… And his followers, those who had managed to survive, follow…
“The Moors presently stripped us as bare as ever we were born. My mother, my maids of honor, and myself, were served all in the same manner. It is amazing how quick these gentry are at undressing people. But what surprised me most was, that they made a rude sort of surgical examination of parts of the body which are sacred to the functions of nature. I thought it a very strange kind of ceremony; for thus we are generally apt to judge of things when we have not seen the world. I afterwards learned that it was to discover if we had any diamonds concealed. This practice had been established since time immemorial among those civilized nations that scour the seas. I was informed that the religious Knights of Malta never fail to make this search whenever any Moors of either sex fall into their hands. It is a part of the law of nations, from which they never deviate.”

It looks like the law of nations didn’t change much since then.
Never trust a philosopher… Optimism is a loss of orientation in the surrounding reality…
Profile Image for David Lentz.
Author 17 books310 followers
April 20, 2012
"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 this be so, you may well ask? Here is the nut of the problem: it seems that a perfect God has created a highly imperfect world. How can a good, omnipotent, loving God create a world in which so much catastrophic evil exists and which is so often allowed even to thrive? It is a question for the ages. Theologians argue that God created mankind with free will and without it they would simply be puppets without the freedom to make choices. Theologians also point out that the majority of the evil resident in our world is perpetuated on vast masses of humanity by other human beings, not God, and that evil is the cause and effect of conflicting self-interests imposed by people with more power upon the less powerful. But this point doesn't explain why a loving, all-powerful God would allow any of it to exist and endure. Why not cast down all the devils and give his human creatures a perfect garden, a paradise on earth, without snakes anywhere? Why did God create the serpent in the Garden of Eden in the first place? Voltaire, like Rousseau, was an avid gardener and Voltaire jests at Rousseau's good faith in the "Confessions" as if the latter were simply a country bumpkin. But gardens have a great deal of meaning in "Candide" as in, for example, Milton's "Paradise Lost" or "Genesis" and are thematically significant for Voltaire who concludes that gardens are, after all, a wise place to reside out of harm's way. Voltaire absolutely skewers the optimistic cause and effect of Pope and Leibniz with a catalog of tragicomic catastrophes which plague not only Candide and Pangloss but all of mankind infinitely. Consider the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 which burst suddenly out of nowhere with all its raging fires and tidal waves to destroy nearly all of the city and the ships in its harbor. Is there no end even to the great catastrophes in which man has no hand but from which we are compelled to suffer except for God's grace? Voltaire's vivid and piercing wit is hilarious as he brazenly brings parody to places high and low, near and far, rich and poor to depict our world as the ultimate dystopia. In his novel Candide can only find a semblance of happiness in El Dorado, a rich, hidden world in South America: in other words, happiness in real life can only be found in a utopia without a basis for reality. So what are we to deduce about Candide? Is he a sometimes violent fool for all his naivete? And is Pangloss not a buffoon who earns his suffering so extensively at every turn of the road for his unjustified, unbridled optimism? Or are they heroic for their optimism despite the epic disasters that nearly devastate them time after time. Or is their fate really just the human condition and are they both just being all too human? You decide. In the course of your reading of this brief novel you may discover, as I did, that the optimists are constantly challenged by the gap between their optimism and reality, and that the pessimists are doomed to be the unhappiest people on the planet because they cannot imagine a world without misery and, thereby, create it for themselves wherever it doesn't really already exist. Take your pick of perspectives as a "free" human being and challenge your own assumptions about the human condition. Clearly, Balzac would seem to agree with his compatriot, Voltaire, that whatever you make of life on this earth, surely it is no less than an epic human comedy. At least in this life, thankfully, if you can stand back far enough, there is, God knows, no end to the laughter of the human condition.
Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
387 reviews3,113 followers
August 1, 2022
Surprisingly Funny

Candide was written in 1759 so I wasn’t expecting it to be laugh out loud funny, but it was.

Have you ever listened to someone who was so dead set in their ideals, but when you actually heard their logic for their ideals that it made absolutely no sense? That is this book.

Candide falls in love with a Lady Cunegonde, and for this he is unceremoniously thrown out of the castle. In his journeys, he meets many other people, and he befriends a philosopher, Pangloss, who says that everything is always for the best. However, how is everything for the best when they are suffering so?

For this read, I practiced immersion reading (following along in the text while listening to the audiobook), and I was able to do so for free by using the Libby app. Candide is a relatively short book. The audiobook is around 4 hours at a 1.0X speed.

Moreover, Candide is a bit spooky when read in today’s political and social climate. For example, there is the issue of global warming. Despite scientific proof, there are still some people who cling to the idea that it doesn’t exist. In the United States, most companies no longer offer a pension and starting in 2034, the Social Security Fund will run out of money. Yet if someone is poor, society tries to blame the individual despite society’s broken system.

At one point, Candide has many sheep laden with treasure. He appears to be set for life. However, life slowly erodes his sheep. Doesn’t that sound like the runaway inflation of today or perhaps the crushing mound of student loan debt?

If you enjoy 1984, this book is perfect for you. Also, I think that this is the good version of Catch-22.

Before I sign off, there are a few points that I did not appreciate in Candide. As mentioned above, Voltaire penned this in 1759 so not all parts have aged well.

Overall, a very interesting short story, well worth a read.

Connect With Me!
Blog Twitter BookTube Facebook
Profile Image for Fergus, Quondam Happy Face.
946 reviews17.6k followers
November 17, 2022
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 some very corrupt Christian brothers.

We Canadians know the story well: ingenuous but disenfranchised poor first nation kids abused at residential schools. A truly sad and tragic story. And a black blot on our oh-so-prim history books.

Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire ALSO had a troubled and disenfranchised more-or-less ingenuous youth in similar schools in France.

Sure, he was also sadly abused - physically and (he told a scandalized noblewoman at dinner one night) sexually. Just read Nancy Mitford’s wonderful Masterpiece, Voltaire in Love!

So this guy had a palpable and dangerously angry axe to grind.

Explains a lot, don’t it?

And Voltaire has been trounced - much less soundly than I would have wished or expected - in a modern book about his extremely dubious legacy: Voltaire’s Bastards.

That book was written by the then-famous Canadian theorist (and former vice-regal spouse of Adrienne Clarkson) John Ralston Saul.

But he hadn’t the intellectual acuity nor the moral fibre to put that book over the top.

A valiant firecracker of a slightly damaging hit on Voltaire’s modern reputation. But Saul was in the wrong political position to even TRY to score a direct hit! He had to watch his words.

And Voltaire’s amoral descendants need the kind of pervasive damage control we have here now among our medical practicioners to straighten them out. Though hardly here in Canada...

Yikes! I really said that?

That’s one good thing about our world now, though it seldom, alas, asks questions - and treats its delinquency of compassion as justified.

In Canada we have what we now call ombudsmen, though their hands are tied. Our ingrained sense of morality, you see, has been largely washed away by pop culture here as elsewhere...

I, as a kid, found myself in similarly dire straits as Voltaire’s polite and noble once-upon-a-time table partner found herself - scandalized by this new-minted but outré mindset.

And the freethinking Pierre Trudeau years took draconian retaliation on the staunchly ethical kid I was - and were INVERSELY enraged by my moralism.

But, like Melville’s Billy Budd, I didn’t have enough time to adequately verbalize my rationale.

My drubbing-down was total: the political atmosphere that made such traditional ‘posturing’ acceptable - as it had been in my childhood 1950’s - had vanished into vapour and could now be neither understood nor tolerated.

So my reversal was simply a naïve harkening back to my childhood training.

I got to know many such drastically reconditioned souls as myself in the seventies! May you all Rest In Peace, my poor friends.

But I still resent this book’s easy popularity.

It’s STILL a bit too easy and facile, coming from a Hume-an unabashed root of pure scepticism.

Much too easy.

And where are you Now, my sure-footed radical friend?

Well, I firmly believe poor Voltaire is privately ruing his middle-aged temerity somewhere high above us - in purgatorial fires (“whose flame is roses/ and smoke, briars!”).

Be that as it may, he must surely at least have resented Robespierre’s brutally revolutionary realignment of his spontaneously angry thoughts -

And that, bitterly.

“Because,” as now probably grieves his hapless spirit, “my words were taken out of context....”

The final words of a badly misunderstood, poor human being, and not the Olympian he wanted to be -

But then, most opportunists share a similar moral vacuity and inspire the same short-lived enthusiasm in others.
Profile Image for Adina.
792 reviews3,055 followers
July 17, 2022
A fast paced, 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 who climbed our of the window and disappeared (or something like that) because of the crazy coincidences and humorous tone.
Profile Image for Lizzy.
305 reviews166 followers
February 13, 2017
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 have no choice but be sympathetic with; wastrel nobles, besides a motley group from priests to prostitutes, philosophers (how could Voltaire not include a parody of himself?) ending with fanatics and fiends;

2. The absurdity of its plot: The plot is dizzying, hectic and horrifying, while its protagonist goes from nobility to serfdom, from penury to extravagance, from significance and misery to anonymity and contentment. Wholly unconventional! And its readers become dazzled by its unfolding events that that despite being absurd are also utterly real;

3. The genius of Voltaire: as you turn the pages you realize that’s he is there, peeking from behind the curtains into the stage, whispering to you: It could all be true! Oh, yes! So, a long string of jokes creeps from the pages to the reader, absurdities that are not so absurd; and enriches the reading experience with insight into its context.

Candide reveals itself as a long-gone-road-trip Journal of genuine charitable naivety. The tragedies and violence are never ending, more than anybody’s fair share. Poor Candide, he skips from one misadventure to another: gets kicked out of his home; is drafted into the army; gains a fortune, loses his fortune; chases the object of his desire all over the world:
“I should like to know which is worse: to be ravished a hundred times by pirates, and have a buttock cut off, and run the gauntlet of the Bulgarians, and be flogged and hanged in an auto-da-fe, and be dissected, and have to row in a galley -- in short, to undergo all the miseries we have each of us suffered -- or simply to sit here and do nothing?”

At all his disasters and misfortunes, his teacher and traveling companion Dr. Pangloss simply rationalizes: 'it is all for the best!' This is the best possible world we live in, and the bad things that occur happen to be the best to show us the blessing of what we have. Is that it?

Voltaire goes further:
“'It is demonstrable,' said he, 'that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for as all things have been created for some end, they must necessarily be created for the best end. Observe, for instance, the nose is formed for spectacles, therefore we wear spectacles. The legs are visibly designed for stockings, accordingly we wear stockings. Stones were made to be hewn and to construct castles, therefore My Lord has a magnificent castle; for the greatest baron in the province ought to be the best lodged. Swine were intended to be eaten, therefore we eat pork all the year round: and they, who assert that everything is right, do not express themselves correctly; they should say that everything is best.'”

How could it not be more absurd and hilarious! And so Voltaire succeeds in ridiculing his world. And, in a way, our own!

“All events are linked together in the best of possible worlds; after all, if you had not been driven from a fine castle by being kicked in the backside for love of Miss Cunegonde, if you hadn't been sent before the Inquisition, if you hadn't traveled across America on foot, if you hadn't given a good sword thrust to the baron, if you hadn't lost all your sheep from the good land of Eldorado, you wouldn't be sitting here eating candied citron and pistachios.

Exhausted, Candide finally finds his just-retreat "[w]e must cultivate our garden."

Yes, Candide is one of my favorite books, and it occupies a very special place in that collection.
Profile Image for Leonard Gaya.
Author 1 book833 followers
February 19, 2021
Voltaire est avant tout l’auteur d’une très abondante correspondance — des dizaines de milliers de lettres sur divers sujets philosophiques, adressées à tout le gratin européen de l’époque, aujourd’hui disponibles en treize gros volumes dans la Pléiade. Mais, (et sans doute lui-même ne s’en doutait-il pas), les écrits par lesquels il est passé à la postérité sont une série de petits romans de divertissement : Micromégas, Zadig, L'Ingénu, etc. Et parmi ceux-ci, le plus célèbre est, évidemment, Candide.

A vrai dire, on comprend pourquoi. Il s’agit d’une nouvelle philosophique, sans rien pourtant de spéculatif, aucune argumentation compliquée : c’est avant tout une histoire cocasse et divertissante, qui avance vitement et va droit au but. Combien d’auteurs moins talentueux se seraient étalés sur des centaines de pages sans pour autant être aussi profonds et amusants !

Candide est une sorte de Bildungsroman avant la lettre : le jeune Candide est un bâtard élevé dans un château de Westphalie. Son percepteur, le Dr Pangloss, lui enseigne « qu’il n’y a point d’effet sans cause, et que, dans ce meilleur des mondes possibles, le château de monseigneur le baron [est] le plus beau des châteaux et madame la meilleure des baronnes possibles » (Pléiade, p. 146). Peu après, Candide s’envoie en l’air avec Cunégonde, la plus appétissante des filles de baron possible, et est renvoyé illico avec un coup de pied au derrière.

S’ensuit une série d’évènement proprement désastreux, qui l’éloignent de son pays natal et de Mlle Cunégonde, lui font faire un demi-tour du monde et connaître la boucherie guerrière, la maladie, la torture, les exécutions capitales, les catastrophes naturelles (dont le tremblement de terre de Lisbonne de 1755), le meurtre, le viol, le cannibalisme, l’esclavage, les galères, j’en passe et des meilleures. Moyennant quoi, les préceptes optimistes du bon Pangloss sont mis à rude épreuve, si bien que Candide finit par trouver, par lui-même, une sorte de sagesse résignée. Le roman, en effet s’achève par cette fameuse allusion à Épicure : « mais il faut cultiver notre jardin » (p. 233).

Il y a, au fond, dans l’histoire de Candide quittant son château et découvrant la souffrance et la mort, quelque chose qui rappelle la jeunesse du Bouddha (la légende du prince Siddhartha Gautama qui, lui aussi, sortit de son château…). Au bout du compte, ces deux personnages finissent par trouver, pour l’un l’illumination céleste, pour l’autre une forme de lucidité terrestre.

A l’évidence, Candide est un pied de nez au système philosophique de Leibniz qui, pour faire court, dans ses Essais de Théodicée sur la bonté de Dieu, la liberté de l'homme et l'origine du mal, spéculait sur le fait que, parmi l’infinité des mondes possibles, celui où nous sommes est, en effet, le meilleur. Voltaire, considérant cette théorie ahurissante, écrivait déjà, dans une lettre au leibnizien Kahle : « Quand vous aurez aussi démontré, en vers ou autrement, pourquoi tant d’hommes s’égorgent dans le meilleur des mondes possibles, je vous serai très obligé. »

Ce faisant, à travers ce petit roman, Voltaire fait également assaut au Dieu de la religion chrétienne, que l’omniprésence du Mal dans le monde semble devoir réfuter. Plus encore, Candide, avec ses Inquisiteurs, ses autodafés, ses prêtres corrompus et ses moines dissolus, est une attaque en règle contre l’Église catholique. Pas étonnant que, au milieu du XVIIIème, ce roman ait senti quelque peu le souffre…

Je ne serais pas surpris d’apprendre que Voltaire ait lu Jonathan Swift, tant ils partagent le même ton tout à la fois mordant, satirique, fantaisiste et spirituel. L’influence des romans picaresques espagnols (Don Quichotte ?) et des Mille et une nuits (dans la traduction de Galland) est peut-être également sensible dans la manière dont Voltaire construit son récit.

Il semble enfin possible que Candide ait exercé une influence sur Sade — Justine est une sorte d’avatar de Candide, qui subit toute sortes d’outrages, mais qui continue malgré tout de philosopher avec ses agresseurs. Dans un autre genre, Thackeray s’est peut-être aussi inspiré de Voltaire — son Barry Lyndon est encore un autre rejeton de Candide, certes plus arriviste et moins philosophe. Plus près de nous, des romans comme Catch-22, Slaughterhouse-Five ou The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy sont aussi de lointains descendants de Candide.
Profile Image for Lisa.
974 reviews3,328 followers
July 17, 2017
“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, if this is the best the creator can manage?

Candide is born into a garden Eden and taught the dogma of optimistic thinking before being thrown out into the cruel world and embarking on an absurdly funny, incredibly brutal and increasingly cynical odyssey around a fictionalised, yet recognisable violent and unfair world. Consistently striving to understand his surroundings, he keeps asking questions and challenging the people he meets, and he keeps reflecting on the events he witnesses, such as the earthquake in Lisbon in 1755.

How does reality fit in with metaphysical thoughts? Is it possible to reconcile life and faith and satisfy both body and soul, while facing the blatant inequality in the world?

In the end, Candide resigns himself to his own, active but detached business of "cultiver notre jardin", - working to be able to shut out the atrocities of the world. He emancipates himself from the philosophical framework of his teacher Pangloss, even though he lets him keep on reflecting in his typical way, thus demonstrating more tolerance than Pangloss himself accomplishes.

When I first read Candide, some twenty years ago, I thought of it as a roller coaster ride through different societies, on a quest to find individual meaning and happiness by figuring out what matters in life. I considered the external circumstances and the Leibnizian optimism a highly exaggerated sarcastic joke, a backdrop for the development of the idea that bliss is to be found in active, yet private pursuit of small scale business without dogmatic allegiances to any creed, be it religious, social or political.

Now I am not so sure about the exaggeration anymore - having spent decades studying the interactions between human beings, and their habit of labelling a "total disaster" a "great win", positioning themselves somewhere in the grey zone between delusional optimism, brutal cynicism and complete disregard for truth.

"L'optimisme c'est la rage de soutenir que tout est bien quand on est mal."

If that is what the leaders of the world support, and the majority of populations accept in resignation while minding their own private business, how can we ever get to the point of attempting to fix the problems of this best of possible worlds?

Acknowledging the issues would be the first step, wouldn't it? If we maintain climate change isn't happening, we will have human-induced catastrophes of the scale of the flood following the Lisbon earthquake. If we do not fight injustice and violence, but claim it is part of the bigger picture of the best possible of worlds, life will continue to be as brutal for our contemporaries as it was for Candide and his friends:

“I should like to know which is worse: to be ravished a hundred times by pirates, and have a buttock cut off, and run the gauntlet of the Bulgarians, and be flogged and hanged in an auto-da-fe, and be dissected, and have to row in a galley -- in short, to undergo all the miseries we have each of us suffered -- or simply to sit here and do nothing?'
That is a hard question,' said Candide.”

Having grown older, and more angry at the world, I do not agree with the two options presented. Life is not either about passively suffering it or withdrawing from the world altogether, it is about actively looking for change. It is about honestly admitting that we do not live in the best possible of worlds, while keeping up the fight to make it a tiny bit better, despite feeling despair creeping into our hearts every so often. It is about "cultiver notre jardin" - but not hidden away in a remote corner.

The garden of our shared global community has to be tended! It is not oblivious, exclusive Eden, and never will be. But it can be a good enough place to live, if the Candides of this world decide to make it a common project - one that shows collaborative commitment despite continuous disappointment. I still love Candide with all my heart, but I think it is about time he applies the knowledge he gained from travelling the world to make it a more bearable place to be - for all people - starting by telling optimistic Pangloss that facts are more important than a false mantra hiding the issues under propaganda.

Il faut cultiver notre planète - malgré tout!
Profile Image for Mohammed-Makram.
1,390 reviews2,917 followers
August 19, 2022
و كان يريد أن يعرف كيف يصلون للرب في إلدورادو فقال العجوز الطيب و الحكيم و المحترم: نحن لا نصلي له فليس لدينا ما نطلبه إليه فلقد أعطانا كل ما يلزمنا و نحن نشكره باستمرار.

فشعر كانديد بالفضول ليرى الكهنة فجعل كاكامبو يسأل أين يكونون؟ فضحك العجوز الطيب و قال: يا أصدقائي نحن جميعا كهنة. إن الملك و كل أرباب العائلات يرتلون الأناشيد و الحمد لله باحتفال كل صباح و يرافقهم خمسة أو ستة آلاف موسيقي.

ماذا؟! ليس لديكم رهبانا يعملون و يحكمون و يأتمرون و يحرقون الناس الذين يخالفونهم الرأي؟!!!
في أجواء تشبه أجواء ألف ليلة و ليلة يأخذنا فولتير في مغامرات متصلة لبطل الرواية الساذج كاند��د الذي يبحث عن المعنى الفلسفي وراء ل شيء و يتعرض لمغامرات لا تنقطع نكاد نلهث وراءها طول الرواية القصيرة ثم ينتهي في أرض من يظنه عدو فيستقر فيها و يصل إلى خلاصة الحكمة بكلمته الشهيرة الأثيرة: إذا ماذا علينا أن نفعل؟ فلنعمل بلا تفكير. يجب علينا أن نزرع حديقتنا.
Profile Image for Luís.
1,818 reviews469 followers
May 21, 2022
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 well in this world". However, because of a kiss given to Cunégonde, Candide is kicked out and finds himself alone in this big world where many adventures await him, some catastrophic, others heroic. Our hero will have to face the vanity of men to find Cunégonde. The meeting with philosophical characters, like Martin, Cacambo, and especially the Turk, will reveal the secrets of happiness: "You have to cultivate your garden" or "Work without reasoning" ... The moral of the story is elsewhere so correct since it translates the following thought: "The only way to escape unhappiness or boredom is to go from philosophical reflection (as Candide did) to concrete actions respecting our limits".

I never imagined that this book would please me so much! Voltaire depicts society's setbacks so well, majestically criticising men and slavery, money, possession, black markets, power, and many other horrors that we had immediately transported to the side of Candide by taking the journey of life with him.
Profile Image for Piyangie.
507 reviews386 followers
April 3, 2022
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 argued that if everything happens for the best, then good as well as evil deeds will have to be justified. If so, then there will be no physical or moral progress in the world. Candide was his attempt to ridicule that theory of Leibniz and to counter it with his own that "we must cultivate our own garden". So, what was nonsensical to me at first made perfect sense to me now. And it was quite right for the story to be nonsensical since it was satirizing a far-fetched theory. :)

In addition to Voltaire's criticism of Leibnizian theory, one can also see his pen working against many quarters. The European governments, kings, the wealthy nobility, the rich merchants, the philosophers, the literary men suffer through his critical eye. Voltaire's views thus expressed through the story were both interesting and amusing. And the story of Candide, with his adventures and mishaps, greatly entertained me.

One of the criticisms I had when I first read Candide was that Voltaire's language was unrefined. But having read a fair amount of 18th-century literature, I've come to realize that it was quite the norm at the time. Also, having read this time in French, I found the language was a little less offensive than the English translation that I've read before. And I agree with those GR friends who told me that the translation might have contributed to my disliking the book.

I'm glad I revisited this. It's a book I've misunderstood through my limited knowledge of the purpose of its author. I'm truly pleased that this time around I was able to understand, appreciate and enjoy it.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,108 reviews44.2k followers
April 25, 2020
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.
Profile Image for K.D. Absolutely.
1,820 reviews
March 10, 2012
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 pages) read. If you are still scared of reading classics (pre-1900), give this one a try. You will love this!

It tells a story of a man named Candide who falls in love with a materialistic but very beautiful Cunegonde. Her barron father of the lady does not approve of the affair so he kicks Candide out from house. So, Candide wanders around and meets all the misfortunes along the way. The novel is a picaresque as the long travel, meeting a lot of people and experiencing all the fortunes and misfortunes along the way, ends up with Candide enjoying his life and tending the beautiful garden of his estate.

This is the reason why I, after more than 3 years, went to our frontyard this morning and tended my overgrown garden. I pruned the trees and the shrubs, trimmed the plants, pulled out some weeds while my daughter helped in shooing away big red ants and removing the cobwebs. Reading has these all positive effects on me. It can even remind me of the things that I have been forgetting for a long time. This novel closes with this line: "That is well said," replied Candide, "but we must cultivate our garden.". When I finished reading it last night, I said, why not?

Its complete title is Candide or Optimism because of Candide's tutor, Doctor Pangloss who is an extreme optimist that Candide learns to always look at the positive side of things. You may say that I liked this book because of that. Wrong. The positivity of Dr. Pangloss is one for the books as it verges on stupidity and it is so funny when Candide remembers him and says "I wonder what would Pangloss say if he was here?" Having an English word culled from his name is really appropriate. He is really one for the books.

A life err routine-changing novel since I am gardening again after 3 long years of doing nothing at home but reading, reading and reading...

Except of course when am I at Goodreads reading book reviews of my friends, clicking the Like button and when I am in front of my desktop killing zombies by throwing plants at them.

I liked this book!
Profile Image for Chris.
67 reviews400 followers
July 1, 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 implanted in our nature. For what can be more absurd than to persist in carrying a burden of which we wish to be eased? to detest, and yet to strive to preserve our existence? In a word, to caress the serpent that devours us, and hug him close to our bosoms till he has gnawed into our hearts?"

We can try to remain optimistic and rationalize that the horrors we witness are all a part of some plan but the choice to keep on living is a truly irrational one given all of the evidence available for us to consider. We go on living against our better judgment and in spite of all of our misery. It is what we were born to do.

"'You lack faith,' said Candide.

'It is because,' said Martin, 'I have seen the world.'"
Profile Image for Brian Yahn.
310 reviews592 followers
January 22, 2016
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, that time probably passed a hundred years ago.
Profile Image for Sawsan.
1,001 reviews1,285 followers
August 5, 2022
بعد أن يطوف كانديد بلاد العالم ويرى أفعال وشرور البشر يتأكد أنه لا شيء يسير على ما يُرام
نص ساخر يحكي فيه فولتير أحداث ومفارقات مضحكة ليتساءل عن وجود الانسان ونظرته للحياة
ويسخر من التفاؤل وينتقد الأحوال السياسية والدينية والفكرية السائدة
Profile Image for Rakhi Dalal.
203 reviews1,421 followers
September 17, 2013
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 through all the misfortunes in life. Nothing, not even the greatest follies of mankind like injustice, greed, apathy can shake his belief. In search of his beloved, Lady Cunegonde, he faces one trouble after another; at each step believing the philosophy to be true for he believes that he will be happy after he reunites with the love of his life. After many misadventures, he finally reunites with the Lady only to find that he doesn’t love her that much. Still, Candide goes ahead and marries her to keep his promise, but he realizes that he hasn’t been happy at all.

So, where do we get from here?

Voltaire’s work is not only a satire on the times he lived in but can also be seen as a mirror to the modern societies where similar beliefs still find a strong foothold. It made me contemplate how still the religious or ideological conditioning can play a larger role in the underdevelopment of minds, thereby restricting rational thinking. It is further astonishing to witness the influence such ideas can exercise, if they are bestowed regularly with zest on a naive mind. Religious fanaticism is one of the examples where such conditioning can bring about discord in the societies. And more than this, an individual, accepting such ideology, stands in danger of coming face to face with a sense of utter despair or worthlessness at the mere hint of failure of the long held ideas.

So, what can be a solution to this? In this work, Voltaire suggests hard work i.e. labor for people to find happiness in life. He opines that labor holds off three great evils: tedium, vice and poverty, making life more supportable. I do agree with him. Along with this I also believe that younger minds should be encouraged to question and analyse the ideas presented to them, so that what they exercise are not mere vague ideas but beliefs which can sturdily stand the test of the times.

Profile Image for Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤.
765 reviews1,139 followers
November 12, 2019
“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. Shit.

Excuse the language, but really!  Instead of feeling compassion for others or trying to do something to actually help them, some people spout off these insensitive platitudes that can only make the one suffering feel worse.  Hey, it's your own fault if you can't see the bright side in this!  Everyone in your family just died?  Well... but God is good!  

Of course, there are those who choose to see their own suffering in this light and that's fine and dandy if it helps you to believe that some good (cough, cough) god wants you to suffer.  If you can find meaning in your suffering, I'm glad for you.  Just please don't try to tell others to do the same.  

You know who else had a problem with this idea?  Voltaire did.  The German philosopher Leibniz had some crazy notion that this is the best of all possible worlds and everything that happens is the best that can be.  

Camila Cabello Say What GIF - CamilaCabello SayWhat Confused GIFs

Yeeeehhhh riiiiggghhhttt..... You can't imagine a world, say, I don't know, without suffering??  That wouldn't be better than one with suffering??

Leibniz assumed that the world and all in it is created by an omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-benevolent god; ergo, everything that happens is the best that can be. Well, Herr Leibniz, forgive me for saying but this god of yours can't possibly have all three of those qualities and have created the world as it is. Even I can imagine something much better and I'm not omniscient. Simply removing suffering would be a good start. But I digress.

Voltaire's line of reasoning was more along my own than that of Liebniz's and so he did what anyone would do who takes issue with such a batshit idea.  He wrote a book mocking it.  OK, maybe not anyone would do that, but someone who can write books and who loves satire?  Sure.

Thus we have Candide. In it, our eponymous protagonist is a follower of Pangloss, a philosopher who, like Leibniz, avers that this is the best of all possible worlds.  It's the one we have and a good god created it; therefore, it must be the best.  Pangloss, like Liebniz, suffers from a lack of imagination and critical thinking skills.

Our poor protagonist is exiled from his home for daring to love a woman who is above his class.  That, my friends, is just the beginning of his problems.  After he witnesses Pangloss being hanged, he embarks on a journey that is one mishap and tragedy after another.  Everyone he comes into contact with has an ever worse story to tell.  Indeed, there is not one person who doesn't suffer horrific things.

At first Candide clings to his master's teachings that this is the best of all possible worlds and thus one should be thankful for the wrongs they endure.  Gradually though, as he witnesses ever increasing tragedies and suffering, he begins to question this premise.  

I really enjoyed this novel, the wit and outrageousness.  The clever storytelling.   The preposterous events and the maturation of young Candide's mind.  Not quite a 5 star novel, but still a very worthwhile and enjoyable read.

(An added benefit is that I learned a couple new words.  In case you are interested, they are:
•Moiety:  one of two equal parts
•Atrabilious:  given to or marked by melancholy
~Definitions by Merriam-Webster.  Thanks, Voltaire and M-W!)

(November 2019 classic-of-the-month)
Profile Image for Candi.
607 reviews4,583 followers
July 14, 2016
"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". Though not expelled from my castle and "earthly paradise" for falling in love with the wrong young man and forcing the wrath of his parent to fall upon my shoulders, I did leave my humble abode to find independence, seek fortune and to live happily ever after. I knew there existed hardships in the world, but they could never really affect me personally, could they? Well, I am thankful to say that such misfortunes did not fall directly upon me as they did for Candide and the other characters of this penetrating and often comical little book. After his expulsion from the castle of Westphalia, Candide experiences, witnesses and hears about one horrific calamity after another as he travels the world – murder, war, rape, the Inquisition, theft, natural disasters and more. The events are often quite shocking and sometimes on the verge of being simply absurd (when you read about the old woman you will see what I mean here). I may not have been the wretched victim of such outrageous atrocities, yet as I began to make my own way in the world I grew to understand that such evil really did exist all around me. Candide, while not completely disillusioned, begins to question the faith of the ever so hopeful Dr. Pangloss. If given the opportunity to discuss what he has endured with this great philosopher, Candide believes Pangloss "would have told us admirable things about the physical and moral evils that cover the earth and the sea, and I would have felt strong enough to venture a few respectful objections."

So, Candide matures and hardens a bit, but continues on with a morsel of optimism. As he continues his voyage, Candide deliberately seeks to find "the most unfortunate" and "most disgusted" man to travel with him. Thus he meets Martin. We have all probably met a Martin. Some days, when I hear about the ugliness in the world, I feel like a Martin myself. Martin maintains that God has abandoned this world. He declares "I’ve almost never seen a town that didn’t desire the ruin of some neighboring town, or a family that didn’t want to exterminate some other family. Everywhere in the world, the weak detest the strong and grovel before them, and the strong treat them like flocks of sheep to be sold for their meat and wool." And so, how does one continue to live in this world? Should one bear extreme optimism like Dr. Pangloss or extreme pessimism like Martin? Is there something in between that allows us not to view the world with rose-colored glasses and ignorance but yet one that does not drown us in negativity and despair? One perhaps must take what we have been given, make the best of it, and find some rewarding work (whether that be a career, raising a family, or utilizing our talents in some way). As Candide discovered – "we must cultivate our garden".

A copy of this little satirical piece has been sitting on my basement shelf for perhaps 20 years. I don’t know where it came from, but I’m happy to say that I have finally picked it up and absorbed its lessons. I’m not certain if I understood the message correctly, but I think I did - at least in my own way. I liked this book. I didn’t necessarily love the way it was told, perhaps a bit silly and over the top for my liking, but I adored the little message it carried. No doubt Voltaire was brilliant and this book has endured for good reason. It’s a quick little read and worth your time. 3.5 stars
Profile Image for Pakinam Mahmoud.
703 reviews2,570 followers
November 22, 2022
كانديد أو التفاؤل واحدة من أشهر روايات الأديب الفرنسي فولتير..

من خلال كانديد الرجل الساذج بياخدنا فولتير في رواية تعتبر فلسفية يصور فيها العالم قاسي جداً و كل البشر أشرار ،لصوص و قتلة وينتقد فيها رجال الدين،الفلاسفة والأنظمة السياسية...

الرواية فيها ذكر لأحداث تاريخية وأفكار كانت موجودة في هذا العصر ..الصراحة معنديش أي خلفية عنها وبالتالي مقدرتش أفهم حاجات كتير...
الترجمة قفلتني من الكتاب تماماً..قرأتها بترجمة عادل زعيتر و هي من وجهة نظري ترجمة عقيمة و غير مناسبة لهذا الزمن...

يقال إنها رواية ساخرة ومع ذلك أنا لم أبتسم حتي في أي جزء منها!
مقدرتش أحبها..
i felt it very old and too classic..
it is not my cup of tea at all!
Profile Image for Trevor.
1,283 reviews21.5k followers
January 16, 2013
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 (rape and even eating half of someone’s bum) is just chalked up to ‘the way things are’. The question of free will, human agency and responsibility for our actions – something that the notion of our living in the best of all possible worlds does much to undermine – is never far from the surface here, but invariably it remains just under the surface. This is a ‘show, don’t tell’ book – even if the showing is heavy-handed in the extreme. It would take a particularly committed optimist to go through what the characters in this book do and come out the other end still thinking the world is beyond any possibility of improvement.

What I particularly liked, though, was the very end and the garden that is being tended. It is through Candide’s labours to create this garden that he finally finds some sense of human dignity, stability and even a kind of happiness. The book is otherwise the odyssey of a fool, but this final acceptance of life as struggle and a kind of stoic acceptance of the rewards that come from labour is quite a lovely thing, really. Even before I got to the end I kept thinking the whole way through the book about how different Eastern and Western notions of these things are and have been. When the Buddha was first confronted by the world outside his idyllic palace he realised life was suffering. It is odd that when we in the West are confronted with much the same vision of the world around us we all too often excuse that suffering as being necessary for the greater good. This little book by Voltaire shows such inhumanity isn’t a necessary assumption of the Western tradition, that sometimes even we can be shocked by the horrors we inflict on others and even humbled by suffering.
Profile Image for Rowena.
500 reviews2,435 followers
February 21, 2013
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 of a tragicomedy, especially with the speed of events and the gross exaggerations.

Candide’s mentor, the philosopher, Pangloss, was such an infuriating yet funny character. He maintains that “…everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds” and stubbornly sticks by this maxim. This book is a bildungsroman of sorts because we see what Candide makes of that supposition throughout his trials.

Voltaire spares nobody in his attack on society. “Figure to yourself all the contradictions, and all the absurdities possible, and you will find them in the church, in the government, in the tribunals, and in the theatres of this droll nation.”

I can only imagine what an uproar this book must have created when it was first published. All in all, a very funny book.
Profile Image for Maria Espadinha.
1,007 reviews354 followers
June 3, 2021
Para Um Mundo Melhor

Pontualmente, cada Acontecimento é a resultante dum conjunto de premissas que causaram a inevitabilidade do seu Acontecer.
Tudo está bem como está pois nada poderia estar onde não está.
Donde se conclui que Tudo está o Melhor Possível.

Note-se que, o que está aqui em causa não é a Imutabilidade do Todo.
Esta Filosofia apenas preconiza que qualquer alteração ao nível do que acontece, pressupõe uma investigação prévia da conjuntura responsável pelo Acontecimento.
Só a criação dum conjunto de novas premissas poderá ocasionar um Novo Resultado.

Ao demonstrar que só a Aceitação do Estado de Coisas Existente é Verosímil, Voltaire está a incitar-nos não à Passividade mas sim à Mudança.

O Todo Existente, carece de facto, duma Urgente Intervenção!
"Está visto que os homens corromperam um pouco a natureza, pois não nasceram lobos e tornaram-se lobos. Deus não lhes deu nem canhões nem baionetas e eles fabricaram-nos para se aniquilarem"

Embora forçados a aceitar o que está a acontecer, cabe-nos impedir que o devir se manifeste como uma eterna repetição do mesmo.

Na sua última frase, Cândido aponta-nos o Caminho:
"É preciso Cultivar o Nosso Jardim".
Com outras e melhores sementes, acrescento eu!
Melhores Causas... melhores Efeitos!... 😁😉👍
Profile Image for Fernando.
676 reviews1,068 followers
January 6, 2021
"-¿Qué es el optimismo? -preguntó Cacambo.
-Es el delirio de afirmar que todo es magnífico cuando todo es pésimo -aclaró Cándido."

¡Este libro es un delirio de cabo a rabo! Nunca había leído a Voltaire y este libro me sirvió para reconocer su prosa dúctil y brillante.
Leer las andanzas de Cándido junto (y por separado) a Cunegunda, Pangloss, Cacambo, la vieja y Martin entre otros fue como leer el Quijote en versión punk, por la forma rápida y veloz en que Voltaire narra de los viajes, las peripecias y los encuentros que tiene Cándido con personajes de todo tipo.
Este muchacho da la vuelta al mundo desde Francia a Buenos Aires, Paraguay, Lisboa, Venecia, Surinam, Inglaterra y un montón de países más sin dejar de mencionar ese lugar maravilloso donde todo es perfecto y la gente siempre es feliz: Eldorado.
Todo lo que le pasa a Cándido es superado por su desmesurado optimismo pero llega un momento en que despierta. Son varios los acontecimientos que lo alejan de Cunegunda y tornan su viaje interminable.
Voltaire utiliza una gran variedad de recursos como la filosofía, la parodia, el humor, lo mordaz, lo trágico devenido en gracioso y no deja de lado alguna crítica hacia lo que el considera que está equivocado en el mundo.
Algunos de los personajes que lo acompañan (Pangloss, la vieja y Cunegunda) también sufren todo tipo de penurias, pero salen airosos. La idea es que todos puedan llegar a compartir un final feliz dentro de tanta contrariedad que nos plantea este mundo.
Porque al fin y al cabo, la vida no funciona como uno quiere, pero si le agregamos un poco de optimismo...
¿no sentimos un poco de paz en el corazón?
Profile Image for Chris.
91 reviews426 followers
February 24, 2008
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 Good As Candide’. I seriously think this would alleviate about 30% of all my unresolved issues with the public’s perception of what makes for decent reading. The other 70% could be resolved by making major overhauls to a universal ‘required reading’ list: The Great Gatsby, eh….let’s just toss that crap out and put Cosmos on there, how about actually learning something while you read?

I’m not about to give Candide a perfect score, and I don’t think that it deserves one, but I will say that it’s damn good. It seems that some of the popular philosophy making the rounds back in Francois-Marie’s day was just rubbing him wrong, especially the absolutely moronic concept that we live in ‘the best of all possible worlds’. Most people hear something that weak and simply binge drink to erase the awful memory that somebody out there could possibly believe that kind of shit. A lot of people write against these notions and somehow get their pitiful little whims published in the commentary of the local newspaper, and you wish you could choke those imbeciles as well, for giving more press to an already absurd concept. Lastly, there are the few that decide to sit down and write a satire about a hundred pages long to denounce what they consider absolute folly.

And with Candide, Voltaire relentlessly attacks the ridiculous philosophy of Liebniz and his familiars, attempting to show that this is not, by any stretch of the imagination, the best of all possible worlds (mainly because of the large number of utter clods totally f--king up the works). Our hero, Candide, is a naive youth being reared in the castle of a Westphalian Baron, living the good life while being tutored by a total fraud and hack named Pangloss, the Baron’s oracle/scholar. The only hindrance in the life of our featherbedded little friend is that his love interest, Cunogonde, happens to be the Baron’s vivacious 17-year old daughter, and the Baron isn’t about to have his daughter betrothed to some chump lacking the amount of noble ancestry suitable to his standards. The soothing, silver tongue of Pangloss has made an indelible mark on Candide, however, and when the opportunity arises to plant a surreptitious smooch on Cunegonde, he’s busted in the act and driven from the castle “when the Baron saluted Candide with some notable kicks on the rear”. That’s just hilarious, 'notable kicks', and there’s something this appealing on basically every page to follow: as this is only just the beginning; the first misfortune to befall our thick-skulled friend, Candide. Each successive f--king he suffers along the way is not only totally hilariously described in an absurd fashion, but is usually resolved in awesomely unreal turns of fate (I don’t think I could make it more than five pages without either cracking a smile or outright laughing for all the right reasons). The Baron’s castle is sacked by Bulgarians following Candide’s exile, setting the lively and luscious Cunegonde in flight from Westphalia as well, and one unfortunate event after another befalls both lovers; with Candide’s life quickly becoming filled with floggings, poverty, the Inquisition. natural disasters, piracy, and getting pimp-jacked as a result of some devious manipulation, while his beloved is reduced to harlotry, being ravished or ravaged, and unbecoming servitude at the hands of her completely offensive captors and suitors. Wow.

It probably isn’t the best book you’ll ever read, but I'd be pretty shocked to find out it wasn't even enjoyed.
Profile Image for J.G. Keely.
546 reviews9,563 followers
October 22, 2007
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 anything beyond the dichotomous, and dualists are blinded by their egos.

I do love satire, but that is generally because of the wit and skill it takes to subvert and re-imagine. Unfortunately, once one has drawn so deeply on hyperbole in a work, it loses its ability to find that necessarily uncomfortable 'grey area'--that rift between assumption and observation.

Voltaire is witty and funny, but his condemnation and praise falls only on unrealistic absolutes, and hence becomes only political rather than philosophical. In this, he becomes in many ways Shakespeare's opposite; whose characters were so vaguely sketched that they could be held representative of many disparate identities.

It is too easy to force and distort arguments when the accepted givens are so strictly defined and counterpointed. This problem should be evident to anyone in America today who sees how opposition to ideas is transformed into meaninglessly pejorative identities. The temptation of thought-terminating cliches grows ever more in the face of such opposing forces as Voltaire presents.

No doubt much of Voltaire's popularity stems from the fact that he is so narrowly applicable and divisive. In this way he almost works like a philosopher since his ideas are so forcefully professed. However, unlike a philosopher he represents his opponents in a state of utter ridicule, he is less convincing than polarizing.

The other part of Voltaire's popularity comes from his empty century. The Seventeenth had Shakespeare and Milton. The Nineteenth showed the ridiculously fecund blossoming of the Romantics. The Eighteenth, however, has Fielding, Swift, Voltaire, and Pope. Fielding has escaped as wide a reading because his satire was more social than strictly political. Pope and Swift were likewise satirists, but of such a fanciful nature as to escape more simplistic and contentious forces. This leaves us with the more accessible Voltaire, who may be used to attack ideas, but not to build upon them.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 10,329 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.