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Candide (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) (Barnes & Noble Classics) [Paperback]

By Voltaire, Gita May (Introduction by), Henry Morley (Translator), Lauren Walsh (Translator), Alan Odle (Illustrator), Gita May & Henry Morley
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Item Specifications...

Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.2" Width: 5.12" Height: 0.47"
Weight:   0.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2003
Publisher   Barnes & Noble Classics
ISBN  159308028X  
EAN  9781593080280  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
"Candide," by Voltaire, is part of the "Barnes & Noble Classics"" "series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of "Barnes & Noble Classics"
  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
  • All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. "Barnes & Noble Classics "pulls together a constellation of influences--biographical, historical, and literary--to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

    One of the finest satires ever written, Voltaire's "Candide" savagely skewers this very "optimistic" approach to life as a shamefully inadequate response to human suffering. The swift and lively tale follows the absurdly melodramatic adventures of the youthful Candide, who is forced into the army, flogged, shipwrecked, betrayed, robbed, separated from his beloved Cunegonde, and tortured by the Inquisition. As Candide experiences and witnesses calamity upon calamity, he begins to discover that--contrary to the teachings of his tutor, Dr. Pangloss--all is perhaps not always for the best. After many trials, travails, and incredible reversals of fortune, Candide and his friends finally retire together to a small farm, where they discover that the secret of happiness is simply "to cultivate one's garden," a philosophy that rejects excessive optimism and metaphysical speculation in favor of the most basic pragmatism.

    Filled with wit, intelligence, and an abundance of dark humor, "Candide" is relentless and unsparing in its attacks upon corruption and hypocrisy--in religion, government, philosophy, science, and even romance. Ultimately, this celebrated work says that it is possible to challenge blind optimism without losing the will to live and pursue a happy life.

    Gita May is Professor of French at Columbia University. She has published extensively on the French Enlightenment, eighteenth-century aesthetics, the novel and autobiography, and women in literature, history, and the arts.

    Buy Candide (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) (Barnes & Noble Classics) by Voltaire, Gita May, Henry Morley, Lauren Walsh, Alan Odle, Gita May & Henry Morley from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781593080280 & 159308028X

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    More About Voltaire, Gita May, Henry Morley, Lauren Walsh, Alan Odle, Gita May & Henry Morley

    Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Daniel Gordon (Ph.D. University of Chicago) is associate professor of history at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and has also taught at Harvard University and Stanford University. He has served on the editorial staff of The Journal of the History of Ideas and Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture. His publications, including Citizens without Sovereignty (1994), deal with the Enlightenment and the history of Enlightenment scholarship in the twentieth century.

    Voltaire was born in 1694 and died in 1778.

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    Reviews - What do our customers think?
    Man creates hell for his fellow man right here on earth  Jul 27, 2008
    This novel is very short, requiring less than 4 to 6 hours to finish, depending on your reading speed. It is a satire that attempts to explore a specific aspect of human existence - why is it that human beings suffer? This may sound simple but the answer to such a question also then evokes questions around the existence of God and whether meaning is created by mankind or given by the Creator.

    The characters a two dimensional and cartoons, as they should be in a satire meant to explore concepts rather than to be a novel with fully developed characters for purposes of character analysis. Candide is the eternal optimist in love. Professor Pangloss is the eternal abstractionist, unable to see reality unless it is framed within some conceptual system. Much is made of associating Pangloss with Leibnitz. Who can say? These two have adventures after adventures experiencing the acquisition of great fortunes and then the loss of these fortunes, both through accident and chance happening.

    Candide travels across Europe, to South America, back to Europe. Along the way he sees vast social injustice created by social and economic inequities that are supported by both the noble and religious castes as the will of God. We see rape used by the military troops of all sides of a conflict. We see man created famine due to unequal distribution of resources and opportunity. We see warfare and torture engaged in for the most idiotic of reasons. We see great plagues and earthquakes that create conditions where man can be wolf to man once again. We see floggings and other forms of punishment that are meant to restore the social order but which are so arbitrary that they in fact undermine the social order they are suppose to support. We see criminal behavior at the highest social levels as well as the lowest. Kings and generals operate under the same principles as thieves, murderers, and pirates in this novel.

    All these wild events go by very fast, each only lasting a page or two before another great calamity hits. We are then introduced to the final message of the novel which is that only those who tend their own gardens and find meaning in work are capable of weathering the vast storms of human suffering that plague all men and women during our lifetimes.

    It is a classic. It is certainly odd by our current standards of literature. I came away from the novel less convinced of the final messages about tending my own garden and more convinced of the ability of man to create hell for other men with little empathy or foresight.
    HILARIOUS if you understand the language!  May 13, 2008
    I read this book forever ago in high school, and fell in love with it! It really is absolutely hilarious, but you have to be able to understand the language and the satire behind it. Great for school reports for your history or French Lit classes!
    A stunning critique of rationalism  Mar 11, 2008
    Voltaire is still recognized as one of history's greatest satirists, and after reading Candide it's not hard to see why. Two and a half centuries later, it still has the power both to amuse and to shock.

    On the surface, as has often been noted, Candide is obviously a critique of the philosophy of Liebniz, and especially of the idea that this is the best of all possible worlds and everything is as it had to be in order for this to be so (in accordance, presumably, with the plans of an omnipotent and omnibenevolent Creator). Voltaire goes quite over the top in showing the misadventures and misfortunes that befall his befuddled hero, who at first whole-heartedly buys into this "optimism."

    Eventually, Candide's tale concludes with his advice that we should all just tend to our gardens--the precise meaning of which has been widely (and wildly) speculated about. Many take it to be a rejection of philosophy as such as being entirely useless, and we should just take a more pragmatic approach to life, though I find this interpretation untenable. More likely, given what we know about Voltaire as an Enlightenment thinker and from the content of Candide itself, it is simply a rejection of one philosophical school, namely that of rationalism. This is wider than just Liebniz, and Voltaire does target the ideas of other major rationalists (e.g., Descartes) as well. The message seems to be that philosophy is useless *when it has nothing to do with, and is in fact contradicted by, our actual experience.* The ending then suggests a much more practical sort of philosophy, like the one represented in America by Voltaire's contemporary Benjamin Franklin, but it is a philosophy nonetheless.

    In the end, this is a highly entertaining and thought-provoking story that is still very relevant in today's world, and should still be required reading for everybody.
    A MARVELOUS WRITER...  Mar 6, 2008
    Voltaire at his most sarcastic  Dec 16, 2006
    This was required reading for a graduate course in the Humanities. A great story and important historical work in literature. Voltaire was a Renaissance Christian humanist who played a role in the development of the Enlightenment.

    On the one hand, the structure of his novel Candide is Homeric, it is the journey narrative, the hero with a thousand faces, but it is a satirical restructuring of that classical motif of the hero on a quest. What is the importance of the quest in Candide? What is the quest about in the classical sense? The quest is about learning. In the classical sense the hero leaves, has to acquire some sort of knowledge, learn a set of skills that is going to help him or her enact the quest surmount the obstacles that they encounter at one point or another, and the finally what does the hero have to accomplish? What is out there the "Holy Grail" The prize, the whole quest is about attaining some sort of ultimate end or some sort of ultimate knowledge. Does it end there? No, you got to go back with that knowledge, because the quest is never just about attaining the goal, it's about bringing it home to make everybody better, to restore the community. The individual quest, the heroic quest in the classical sense always has a larger social corrective end. The purpose of the individual, the function of the individual all depends on his ability to return to the collective, whatever it is that he has found that he has acquired that is going to change the way things are. Now how does that compare to the journey or quest narrative in Candide? Contrary to the notion of what prepares us for the world, OK here is the important structure of the journey or the quest, and the critique of knowledge by Voltaire. It is contrary to the idea of the knowledge that we acquire prepares us for the world. That each new bit of knowledge that we acquire, prepares us for the next step, and prepares us for the next stage. Contrary to the idea that life is somehow to be understood or that human history is somehow to be understood as a journey organized around progress, around betterment advancement acquiring new knowledge more knowledge more science more learning, we're getting better again, Candide tells the story that goes in the opposite direction. So, then you acquire knowledge and then you spend the rest of the journey finding out that the knowledge is useless, bit by bit, and every lesson you've acquired has to be cast aside, everything you learn you have to abandon. Instead of gaining and getting better, it is throwing off, letting go, and getting worse. Where does Voltaire want us in the end to think of the notion and narrative of progress?

    Of course, you know that Candide is steeped in so many of the political and philosophical controversies of the 1750's. One of his big critiques is of the philosopher Leibnitz who said that `this is the best of all possible worlds," the idea championed by Leibnitz was a simple version of the philosophy espoused by enlightenment philosophers that the existence of any evil in the world was a sign that god was not entirely good or very powerful. The idea of an imperfect god would be nonsensical. So if you are a philosopher who takes for granted that god exists, you would have to conclude logically; and here is where humanities and Christianity really start messing with each other in all kinds of obvious ways, that god is perfect if you logically conclude that god exists. Therefore, his creation, the world, and man must also be perfect. According to many enlightenment philosophers, people perceived imperfections of the world only because they do not get the plan. This is a teleological idea of the world. Now obviously Voltaire does not accept this theory, or that god or any god has to exist. Therefore, he makes fun of the idea that the world is completely good. Much of the novel is a satire addressed to the notion that the optimists who witness countless horrors and unbelievable injustice such as floggings, robberies, and earthquakes will always find a way to write it off. They will say, `oh well there must be part of a plan, even though none of these calamities seem to serve any good at all it must point to human cruelty ignorance and barbarism and points to the indifference of the natural world. Pangloss the philosopher in the book throughout the story is always trying to find some justification for the terrible things that he sees and the arguments that he makes seem increasingly to be absurd, like his quote that "Syphilis needed to be transmitted from the new world to Europe so that Europeans could taste new world delicacies. What other things is Voltaire criticizing here that connects to some of the debates that define the enlightenment period of the 1750's Religion? Religion- He criticizes the whole hypocrisy of religion. In the book, Voltaire has a parade of corrupt hypocritical religious leaders who are like the Pope that has a daughter (should have been celibate). Hard line Catholic inquisitors, a Franciscan monk who should have vow of poverty but is a jewel thief. Here Voltaire provides countless examples of the immorality and hypocrisy of religious leaders, he does not really condemn believers per say, he is really out to attack church leadership and church hierarchy. For example Jacques, who is an Anabaptist is arguably one of the most generous and humane characters.

    What else does Voltaire criticize or satirize? Wealth- money corrupts; Candide seems to have more problems when he has lots of money. Things get worse he gets unhappy. An interesting point, Voltaire was deeply involved in a debate with the many deep thinkers of his time, most notably was Rousseau, who lambasted the aristocracy. Voltaire himself really moved very comfortably among aristocratic circles and interestingly the French enlightenment philosophy really took off among the French aristocracy. Since they had the leisure time to contemplate so many of the new ideas in reason, science and rationalism and his notions of progress and advancement were ideas that were principally championed and discussed by members of the French aristocracy. Therefore, it was among some of the idle members of the French aristocrats that these enlightenment philosophers were able to find their most ardent followers. Despite the fact that the church and the state were not more often that not completely allied with each other, kings could be attracted on occasion to arguments that seemed to undermine the authority of the church. The fact that the aristocrats were very much unaware of the precariousness of their position tended to make them overconfident. Dabbling in some new ideas that were part of the enlightenment movement caused them not to take seriously the kind of jeopardy they were in or what the enlightenment would lead to in the championing of the common man and the overthrow of the French aristocracy. Because they found these ideas somewhat new, interesting, and exciting and they did not really see this as at all leading inexorably to the demise of the aristocratic class. Now of course it was thinkers like Rousseau not at all like Voltaire on this particular point that made his chief adversary. Rousseau distrusted the aristocrats out of a hunger to overthrow the class but because he believed that people of wealth betrayed decent traditional values. Rousseau opposed the theatre, which is Voltaire's lifeblood; he shunned the aristocracy, which Voltaire very much courted. He courted their attention he courted their interests. Rousseau argued for something dangerous like democratic revolution, and Voltaire argued that equality was impossible it would never come about. Rousseau argued that inequality was not only natural but that if it were taken too far it would make any decent government a total impossibility. Voltaire was very charming and witty, which led largely to his success in moving about aristocratic and social circles. Rousseau insisted on his own correctness and was not a charming person to be around; he was very intense and very serious about his ideas. Voltaire endlessly repeated the same handful of core enlightenment notions, where as Rousseau was a deeply original thinker. Who was always challenging his own way of thinking contradicting himself, coming up with ideas on the equality of education, the family, the government, and the arts in a matter that was much more radical than Voltaire was ever willing to go along with. They were both skeptics, and Voltaire is nothing if not a skeptic.

    What does Voltaire do with the idea of philosophy in Candide? Philosophy- What is the value of philosophical speculation? It is useless for Voltaire; it is one of Pangloss' biggest flaws. Abstract philosophical argument is not based on any real world evidence. In the chaotic world of this novel, philosophical speculation repeatedly proves to be useless, and at times even dangerous. Time and again it prevents the characters from making any useful assessment of the world around them, it prevents them from bringing about any kind of change, it prevent them from thinking that they might try to bring about some social change. Pangloss is the character most susceptible to this kind of foolishness. Example, while Jacques is drowning, Pangloss stops Candide from saving him by proving that the bay was formed for Jacques to drown in. Therefore, at the end of course at the novels conclusion Candide rejects Pangloss' philosophies. If philosophical speculation is useless, what does Voltaire suggest you put in its place? Hard practical work in general. Therefore, it is somewhat surprising in that sense that this judgment against philosophy that is portrayed in the book becomes very dramatic when we think about Voltaire's own status as a philosopher.

    What about the garden at the end of the novel? At the end of the novel Candide defines happiness in raising vegetables. On the one hand it is indicative of the turning away from the following of philosophy, from the abstract speculative nature of philosophy towards something hands on something pragmatic. Does the garden have a symbolic resonance to it? Is it related to the Garden of Eden? For Adam and Eve the garden is the beginning of their troubles, here it is the end of their troubles. It is the end of the narrative the end of their quest, their journey, and the end of their travails. This is where they wind up this is where they retreat. In the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve do not have to work to have fruits of the garden; this garden requires work, and constant tending. In that I think the garden here represents much, more in a very different way than the biblical garden represents. An embrace of life, but an embrace of life of what? For all the horror, hardships, and nightmares that these characters experience throughout the entire course of the text, at the end, they embrace life; they take it they say yes.

    The status of knowledge in Voltaire, what do we know? The garden is a final retreat from activism, or social engagement in the world. Finally, what Voltaire is saying is look go back to the basics. Do not try to change, analyze the world, or try to speculate about the nature of our existence. Retreat into your own sphere and do not mess with the world around you, because ultimately you are powerless, to do anything in this world. I think Voltaire is commenting on in a sense the Utopian impulse and imagination. Specifically as it influenced enlightenment philosophers of the period with respect to the notion of progress and advancement.

    Recommended reading for anyone interested in history, psychology, philosophy, and literature.


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