Cover image for Candide
Title:
Candide
Author:
Voltaire, 1694-1778.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Paris : Librairie Générale Française, 1995.
Physical Description:
223 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates ; 18 cm.
Language:
French
Added Author:
ISBN:
9782253098089
Format :
Book

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Central Library FRENCH FICTION Adult Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Foreign Language
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Summary

Summary

Appearing in 1759, Candide is a foreboding, ironic, and fierce satire. The protagonist, Candide, is an innocent and good-natured man. Virtually all those whom he meets during his travels, however, are scoundrels or dupes. Candide's naivete is slowly worn away as a result of his contact with the story's rogue elements. The wisdom Candide amasses in the course of his voyages has a practical quality. It entails the fundamentals for getting by in a world that is frequently cruel and unfair. Though well aware of the cruelty of nature, Volitaire is really concerned with the evil of mankind. He identifies many of the causes of that evil in his work: the aristocracy, the church, slavery, and greed. Axel Sowa has chaired the department for architecture theory at RWTH Aachen University since 2007. Susanne Schindler is an assistant professor in the department for architecture theory at RWTH Aachen University.


Author Notes

François-Marie Arouet known as Voltaire, was born in Paris in 1694. He was educated by the Jesuits at the Collège Louis-le-Grand (1704-1711), where he learned Latin and Greek; later in life he became fluent in Italian, Spanish, and English. By the time he left school, Voltaire had decided he wanted to be a writer. His father then obtained a job for him as a secretary to the French ambassador in the Netherlands. Most of Voltaire's early life revolved around Paris. From early on, Voltaire had trouble with the authorities for critiques of the government and religious intolerance. These activities were to result in two imprisonments and a temporary exile to England.

The name "Voltaire", which the author adopted in 1718, is an anagram of "AROVET LI," the Latinized spelling of his surname, Arouet, and the initial letters of "le jeune" ("the young"). The name also echoes in reverse order the syllables of the name of a family château in the Poitou region: "Airvault". The adoption of the name "Voltaire" following his incarceration at the Bastille is seen by many to mark Voltaire's formal separation from his family and his past. Voltaire continued to write plays, such as Mérope (or La Mérope française) and began his long research into science and history. From 1762, he began to champion unjustly persecuted people, the case of Jean Calas being the most celebrated. This Huguenot merchant had been tortured to death in 1763, supposedly because he had murdered his son for wanting to convert to Catholicism. His possessions were confiscated and his remaining children were taken from his widow and were forced to become members of a monastery. Voltaire, seeing this as a clear case of religious persecution, managed to overturn the conviction in 1765. n February 1778, Voltaire returned for the first time in 20 years to Paris. He soon became ill again and died on 30 May 1778.


Excerpts

Excerpts

From Gita May's Introduction to Candide During his stay in England and at Cirey Voltaire's outlook on life was essentially optimistic. In the twenty-fifth and last of his Lettres philosophiques he sternly took Pascal to task for his pessimistic depiction of the human condition, describing him as a "sublime misanthrope"; and in his poem Le Mondain (The Worldly One), published in 1736, he sharply ridiculed the myth of primitive happiness and innocence during the co-called Golden Age, as embodied in the biblical story of Adam and Eve. Conversely, he extolled the Epicurean delights of comfort and luxury brought about by modern civilization. In spite of his controversial reputation, he garnered such high official honors as being elected to the French Academy in 1746. He was still convinced that, on the whole, Newton's eminently rational laws permitted human beings to accommodate themselves and seek their happiness within this orderly universe, set in motion by a supremely powerful but also benevolent being. And as a deist, he generally also subscribed to Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz's theory that God would not create a universe other than the best of all possible universes, as expounded in his Theodicy (1710). Voltaire's stay at the court of Frederick II, from 1750 until 1753, turned out to be an unmitigated disaster. Frederick was basically an autocrat, in spite of his much-publicized image as an enlightened "philosopher king." Voltaire's irrepressible wit and bold irreverence were bound to displease and eventually anger his royal host, and eventually Voltiare had to leave Prussia hurriedly and under humiliating circumstances. After some hesitation as to where to find a safe refuge, he settled down in Geneva in December 1759, when he moved to a property he acquired at nearby Ferney, which would be his retreat for the next nineteen years, until shortly before his death in Paris, on May 30, 1778. Voltaire's early optimism underwent a profound change under the impact of events in his personal life as well as in reaction to those natural and man-made catastrophes that made him keenly aware of human suffering and misery, not to mention the multiple danger that constantly threaten our very existence, let alone our well-being and chances of achieving happiness. His own disappointments-notably the unexpected loss of Madame du Châtelet, the unrelenting hostility of the court of Louis XV, the disenchantment with Frederick, and the precariousness of his personal situation-were compounded by his intense and immediate empathy; he spontaneously identified with all victims of calamities, war, injustice, prejudice, and intolerance. The news of the terrible Lisbon earthquake of November 1, 1755, which claimed tens of thousands of lives, overwhelmed him with dreadful images of women and children buried under the rubble, and inspired his eloquently anguished Poème sur le désastre de Lisbonne (Poem on the Disaster of Lisbon), published in 1756, in which he clearly signals his rejection of Leibniz's concept of a rational and well-regulated universe. The protracted and devastating Seven Years War (1756-1763), which began when Frederick invaded Saxony and soon expanded the lingering hostilities between France and England into a European conflagration, also deeply affected Voltaire's outlook on the human condition. Voltaire began writing philosophical contes (tales) relatively late in his career and almost as an afterthought, for he subscribed to the neoclassical canon and hierarchy of literary genres according to which tragedy in verse and epic poetry gave an author his most reliable passport to posterity and immortality. Novels, short stories, and contes were looked upon suspiciously as upstart genres with no credible aesthetic or even moral pedigree. Voltaire began with the traditional short story or novella, and transformed it into the conte philosophique, or philosophical tale, a fast-moving and highly entertaining story combining multiple adventures and voyages with an underlying philosophical and moral theme, written in a pithy style replete with humor, satire, irony, and sly sexual innuendoes. Indeed, ridicule would be Voltaire's most effective weapon against his main targets: fanaticism, intolerance, war, and cruelty. One of Voltaire's early philosophical tales is Zadig , subtitled La Destinée (Destiny), which appeared in 1747. It is set in the kind of whimsically imaginary and exotic Oriental setting dear to eighteenth-century authors from Montesquieu to Diderot. The uncannily wise, resourceful, and resilient Zadig, whose name derives from the Arabic sadik ("just"), undergoes a number of trials and tribulations, and when faced with disconcerting instances of injustice and suffering, and with the unpredictability and apparent randomness of life in general, anxiously questions and even objects to the notion of a world regulated by a benevolent Providence. But Zadig eventually overcomes adversity and reluctantly submits to the reassuring belief that Providence works in mysterious and unfathomable ways for the ultimately greater good of humanity. While still in Prussia, Voltaire published Micromégas in 1752. Partially inspired by Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1726) and by Cyrano de Bergerac's two fantastic romances about visits to the moon and sun- Autre Monde: ou, Les Estats et empires de la lune (1657) and Les Estats et empires du soleil (1662)-it is a science-fiction story of fantastic, humorous interplanetary travel that strongly reflects Newton's cosmology and Locke's empiricism, and that pointedly resorts to fictional and comic devices in order to fuse science and moral philosophy. In a universe of multiple planets inhabited by creatures of various gigantic dimensions, the remarkable scientific knowledge of the miniscule earthlings is duly acknowledged, but at the same time their basic ignorance in matters of ultimate human values, masked by hubris and pedantry, is pointedly ridiculed and excoriated, especially when viewed from the perspective of two extraterrestrial visitors, Micromégas , the giant originating from Sirius, and his smaller but still huge traveling companion, whom he had picked up on the planet Saturn in the course of his celestial peregrinations. Candide , the hero of the philosophical tale by that name, came into the world in January 1759 unacknowledged by his creator. The work was proposed as a translation "from the German of Doctor Ralph, with the additions found in the Doctor's pocket when he died at Minden, in the Year of Our Lord 1759." It was customary for Voltaire to deny the paternity of his most potentially controversial writings by mischievously attributing them to imaginary or even real persons to maintain a near total silence about the circumstances and composition of his works of prose fiction. Voltaire was hardly an introspective author, and in this, as in so many other respects, he stands at the opposite pole from Jean Jacques Rousseau, who insisted, in full knowledge of the dangers involved, on publicly proclaiming the authorship of all his writings and who in both his Confessions (1781, 1788) and correspondence provides much detailed information on their genesis, publication, and immediate public response, as well as official reaction. Another explanation for Voltaire's reticence about his philosophical tales is his understandable if mistaken belief that these were relatively inconsequential productions belonging to the much decried and maligned genre of the novel, and that they would not fare well with future readers, especially when considered alongside his far more ambitious and serious works-his tragedies, epic and philosophical poems, and historical essays. Whatever Voltaire's own motives or thinking about Candide may have been, there is a persistent but erroneous legend that he dashed off by dictation the thirty chapters of the tale in three days. In is of course far more likely that he wrote Candide over a ten-month period in 1758 and completed the manuscript, with final revisions and additions, in the fall of that year. The slender book first came off the presses of the brothers Cramer, publishers in Geneva, in January 1759. It was promptly disseminated and repeatedly republished in Paris and elsewhere. Even though it was swiftly condemned by both French and Swiss authorities, and copies were seized in printing shops in Paris and Geneva, it sold briskly under the counters. No official effort to suppress Candide could prevent it from becoming one of the most sensational forbidden best-sellers of pre-Revolutionary France and indeed Europe. Within a year, there were at least three English translations and one edition in Italian. Excerpted from Candide by Voltaire All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Andre Maurois
An Appreciationp. 1
I How Candide was brought up in a beautiful castle, and how he was driven from itp. 17
II What happened to Candide among the Bulgarsp. 19
III How Candide escaped from the Bulgars, and what happened to himp. 22
IV How Candide met his former philosophy teacher, Dr. Pangloss, and what ensuedp. 25
V Storm, shipwreck and earthquake, and what happened to Dr. Pangloss, Candide and James the Anabaptistp. 28
VI How a fine auto-da-fe was performed to prevent earthquakes, and how Candide was floggedp. 31
VII How an old woman took care of Candide, and how he found the object of his lovep. 32
VIII Cunegonde's storyp. 34
IX What happened to Cunegonde, Candide, the Grand Inquisitor and the Jewp. 37
X How Candide, Cunegonde and the old woman arrived at Cadiz in great distress, and how they set sail from therep. 40
XI The old woman's storyp. 42
XII Further misfortunes of the old womanp. 46
XIII How Candide was forced to leave the fair Cunegonde and the old womanp. 49
XIV How Candide and Cacambo were received by the Jesuits of Paraguayp. 52
XV How Candide killed the brother of his beloved Cunegondep. 55
XVI What happened to the two travelers with two girls, two monkeys, and the savages know as the Oreillonsp. 57
XVII How Candide and his valet came to the land of Eldoradop. 62
XVIII What they saw in the land of Eldoradop. 66
XIX What happened to them at Surinam, and how Candide became acquainted with Martinp. 72
XX What happened to Candide and Martin at seap. 77
XXI How Candide and Martin reasoned with each other as they approached the coast of Francep. 79
XXII What happened to Candide and Martin in Francep. 81
XXIII How Candide and Martin reached the coast of England, and what they saw therep. 92
XXIV Paquette and Brother Girofleep. 93
XXV A visit to Signor Pococurante, Venetian noblemanp. 99
XXVI How Candide and Martin had supper with six foreigners, and who they werep. 104
XXVII Candide's voyage to Constantinoplep. 107
XXVIII What happened to Candide, Cunegonde, Pangloss, Martin, etc.p. 111
XXIX How Candide found Cunegonde and the old woman againp. 115
XXX Conclusionp. 116
Notesp. 121

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