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Candide or Optimism

Candide or Optimism

Candide or Optimism

Wood, Michael; Voltaire; Cuffe, Theo;  
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Fiction > Classics
Fiction > Literary
Literary Collections > Continental European
Penguin Group USA
22.86 * 1.91 * 15.24

Product Description

One of Western literature’s most glorious and incisive satires—now in a brilliant new translation with a bold new cover by Chris Ware

With its vibrant new translation, perceptive introduction, and witty packaging, this new edition of Voltaire’s irreverent, tragicomic masterpiece belongs in the hands of every reader pondering our assumptions about human behavior and our place in the world.

Candide tells of the outrageous adventures of the naïve Candide, who doggedly believes that “all is for the best” even when faced with injustice, suffering, and despair. Controversial and entertaining, Candide is a book that is vitally relevant today in our world pervaded by—as Candide would say— “the mania for insisting that all is well when all is by no means well.”

About the Author

François-Marie Arouet (1694–1778), who took the name Voltaire, was the universal genius of the Enlightenment. He was briefly committed to the Bastille for his satires and later exiled to England.

Theo Cuffe translated Voltaire’s Micromégas and Other Short Fictions for Penguin Classics.

Michael Wood is Straut Professor of English at Princeton. His books include The Magician’s Doubt and The Road to Delphi.

Chris Ware, one of many artists whose work has appeared in Raw magazine, has drawn for many publications, including the New York Times Magazine. Ware’s most well- known work includes Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth and his Acme Novelty Library series.


Satirical novel published in 1759 that is the best-known work by Voltaire. It is a savage denunciation of metaphysical optimism--as espoused by the German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz--that reveals a world of horrors and folly. In this philosophical fantasy, naive Candide sees and suffers such misfortune that he ultimately rejects the philosophy of his tutor Doctor Pangloss, who claims that "all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds." Candide and his companions--Pangloss, his beloved Cunegonde, and his servant Cacambo--display an instinct for survival that provides them hope in an otherwise somber setting. When they all retire together to a simple life on a small farm, they discover that the secret of happiness is "to cultivate one's garden," a practical philosophy that excludes excessive idealism and nebulous metaphysics. -- The Merriam-Webster Encylopedia of Literature --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.