Voltaire’s Candide


 

*1001 Books Book

 

Voltaire, & Donnelly, D. (1986). Candide. Charlotte Hall, MD: Recorded Books.

Candide is the illegitimate nephew of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh of Westphalia. Yet, Candide lives in the Baron’s castle is under the tutelege of Pangloss.  Thanks to his optimistic tutor, Pangloss, Candide thinks everything is hunky-dory wonderful.  Life is good for Candide until he kisses the Baron’s lovely daughter, the Lady Cunégonde. Candide then finds himself out in the cold, cruel world with no skills for survival. Throughout the book, Candide experiences out-of-this world tortures and deprivations. Will Candide maintain his “glass is half-full” optimism, only the end will tell us.

A precursor to Pollyanna, Candide seems set upon thinking the best will prevail. Yet, catastrophe pursues him and those he knows. Obviously, life isn’t so grand. While those around him adapt, Candide never seems to get the hang of the “real world.” He’s just a good, ignorant guy. Often, the adage “No good deed goes unpunished” rules the life of Candide.

This was pretty good; a tongue in cheek sort of tale which highlights the absurdity of philosophical bents towards optimism. Of course, pessimism isn’t what’s needed, either. No, what is a essential is a balance of happy and sad.

Three out of Five Pearls

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