Description

Candide is generally agreed to have been one of Voltaire's best works ever. It has largely been forgotten that he authored more than two dozen works of fiction. Had Voltaire died prior to writing Candide, it is quite unlikely that he would be regarded as more than a middling early eighteenth-century writer and scholar. 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 naivety 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 very practical quality. It is one of the fundamentals for getting by in a world that is frequently cruel and unfair. Though well aware of the cruelty of nature, it is the evil of mankind that really concerns Voltaire. He identifies many of the causes of that evil in his work: the aristocracy, the church, slavery, and greed. Voltaire's writing in Candide is exceptional. Each and every word is measured and a working part of the effort. Few writers before or after him have the facility for storytelling that he does. He incorporates understatement, irony, parody, and satire to engross the reader and hold him.

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