Fiction

Candide

Voltaire’s Candide is a French, satirical novella that has become an important part of the English canon. The novella parodies adventure and romance tropes while it employs biting satirical criticism against everything from the government, church, and army to famous philosophers and philosophies. Only one month after it was secretly published, it was banned for blasphemy and political sedition. Voltaire’s fast-paced and erratic plot covers the titular character’s adventures across Europe, South America, and Turkey as well as an outrageous number of misfortunes that Candide and his party endure. The absurd events and characters presented throughout this story give it an amusing and witty tone. The novel’s main attack is against German philosopher Leibniz who believed that this was the best of all possible worlds. By eroding Candide’s optimism over a series of unfortunate disasters and exposing him (and by extension the audience) to people wrecked by misfortune, the novel rejects Leibniz’s proposal and instead champions point of view that “we must cultivate our garden" rather than attempt to justify the world’s evils.

View More