Candide by Voltaire

Another surprisingly readable classic, very accessible and very funny. This short work gives huge points on the well-read meter. Unfortunately, even at less than 100 pages, it still managed to drag on a bit. I certainly didn’t get all of the jibes and in-jokes, but it’s impossible not to see the humour and the point being made when you satirize the idea that this is the best of all possible worlds.

I was a bit miffed that the author was anti-racist, religiously tolerant, and unbiased by class, yet still had the main character want to dump his fiancee when she lost her looks.

 

Summary:

Candide has ranked as one of the world’s great satires since its first publication in 1759. It concerns the adventures of the youthful Candide, disciple of Dr. Pangloss, who was himself a disciple of Leibniz.

In the course of his travels and adventures in Europe and South America, Candide saw and suffered such misfortune that it was difficult for him to believe this was “the best of all possible worlds” as Dr. Pangloss had assured him.

After many trials and travails, Candide is reunited with Cunegonde, his sweetheart. He then buys a little farm in Turkey where he and Cunegonde, Dr. Pangloss and others all retire. In the end, Candide decides that the best thing in the world is to cultivate one’s own garden.

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