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Candide and Other Stories (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 8 Jun 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; New Ed edition (8 Jun. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192807269
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192807267
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 2 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 139,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"When we observe such things as the recrudescence of fundamentalism in the United States, the horrors of religious fanaticism in the Middle East, the appalling danger which the stubbornness of political intolerance presents to the whole world, we must surely conclude that we can still profit by the example of lucidity, the acumen, the intellectual honesty and the moral courage of Voltaire."
--A. J. Ayer

" When we observe such things as the recrudescence of fundamentalism in the United States, the horrors of religious fanaticism in the Middle East, the appalling danger which the stubbornness of political intolerance presents to the whole world, we must surely conclude that we can still profit by the example of lucidity, the acumen, the intellectual honesty and the moral courage of Voltaire."
-- A. J. Ayer

When we observe such things as the recrudescence of fundamentalism in the United States, the horrors of religious fanaticism in the Middle East, the appalling danger which the stubbornness of political intolerance presents to the whole world, we must surely conclude that we can still profit by the example of lucidity, the acumen, the intellectual honesty and the moral courage of Voltaire.
A. J. Ayer" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

"Candide is the story of a gentle man who, though pummeled and slapped in every direction by fate, clings desperately to the belief that he lives in "the best of all possible worlds." On the surface a witty, bantering tale, this eighteenth-century classic is actually a savage, satiric thrust at the philosophical optimism that proclaims that all disaster and human suffering is part of a benevolent cosmic plan. Fast, funny, often outrageous, the French philosopher's immortal narrative takes Candide around the world to discover that -- contrary to the teachings of his distringuished tutor Dr. Pangloss -- all is not always for the best. Alive with wit, brilliance, and graceful storytelling, "Candide has become Voltaire's most celebrated work.

"From the Paperback edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 May 2004
Format: Paperback
Ever since philosophers began thinking about the meaning of life, a favorite question has been "Why do bad things happen to good people?". In Voltaire's day, this issue was primarily pursued either from the perspective of faith (everything that happens is God's will and must be for Divine purpose) or of reason (What do these events mean to you, as you interpret them subjectively?). Infuriated by the reaction by some members of the church to a horrible loss of life from an earthquake in Lisbon, Voltaire wrote this hard-biting satire of the human condition to explore these questions.
Before reading further, let me share a word of caution. This book is filled with human atrocities of the most gruesome sort. Anything that you can imagine could occur in war, an Inquisition, or during piracy happens in this book. If you find such matters distressing (as many will, and more should), this book will be unpleasant reading. You should find another book to read.
The book begins as Candide is raised in the household of a minor noble family in Westphalia, where he is educated by Dr. Pangloss, a student of metaphysical questions. Pangloss believes that this is the best of all possible worlds and deeply ingrains that view into his pupil. Candide is buoyed by that thought as he encounters many setbacks in the course of the book as he travels through many parts of Europe, Turkey, and South America.
All is well for Candide until he falls in love with the Baron's daughter and is caught kissing her hand by the Baron. The Baron immediately kicks Candide out of the castle (literally on the backside), and Candide's wanderings begin. Think of this as being like expulsion from the Garden of Eden for Adam.
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Format: Paperback
Voltaire's works never cease to enlighten and entertain. The ones in Candide and other stories are among his greatest pieces.
Candide itself is a great story that attacks Liebniz' theory that "in the best of all possible worlds, all things are for the best." By showing a man travelling through the world amidst chaos and ruin to find his true love. In Micromegas, he attacks the Geocentric theory and the belief that man is God's finest and greatest creation by a visit from two aliens to Earth. The other stories all display Voltaire's rapier wit, humanist and liberal outlook and his disgust at organised religion and the violent religious wars around him. His works haven't lost their greatness through the centuries since being penned.
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This Oxford publication is very good because it has the usual foreword by a worthy academic which gives a little historical and literary insight into the works contained. The main piece is Candide, and this still manages to make the reader think philisophically about issues raised in the story. This is very much a thesis novel (novella) which rightly questions the dominant theistic notions of the day, which are based on divine decree, providence, and fate. In other words, the line all Christian souls were being forced to live by, was that 'Everything is as it is, by the will of God'. Thinkers of the age were obviously starting to doubt this, although it was still brave to contradict the bible or even question the extent to which God was really in charge of us all. Voltaire was one of the first and one of the bravest writers to challenge the accepted wisdom of the age, that somehow didn't feel quite true, and certainly didn't seem very fair, if it was true.

It is a story that still gets one thinking about deeper matters, while remaining an entertaining tale of one man's unenvious trials in a very harsh and unsympathetic world, where God is supposed to be his saviour! Today we'd be allowed to call this sort of thing respectful atheism, but in Voltaire's day they still had to encouch those sort of beliefs in a less open and direct way, giving themselves a chance to be able to give two differing definitions of the work, if called upon by some outraged prelate or politician to explain theirselves. Voltaire's craft shows a very good example of how passionate and determined thinkers were able to find ways to express their thoughts and beliefs and help shape the great Humanist movement which led eventually to the freedom of thought and beliefs that the West still enjoys today. So yes, an important literary work, in a good package here.
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Despite being written 250 years ago I found the book to be very readable and full of subtle humour that was not lost on my average intellect.Don't be put off by people waffling on about philosophical meaning and rationalism etc and intellectualising the life out of it, these stories are probably the basis of modern fiction and the framework and concepts have been copied many times.
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By A Customer on 2 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
I had heard much about Voltaire, and particularly Candide, but it was many years before I got round to reading it. It didn't disappoint, and I loved the humour and wisdom contained within it. Roger Pearson does an excellent job of translating, and explaining the text.
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