Candide, or Optimism
Brought up in the household of a powerful Baron, Candide finds himself cast out when his love for the Baron’s daughter is made known. So he and his various companions begin a breathless tour of Europe, South America and Asia, as an outrageous series of disasters befalls them.
‘The prince of philosophical novels’ John Updike
In Candide, Voltaire threw down an audacious challenge to the philosophical views of the Enlightenment to create one of the most glorious satires of the eighteenth century. His eponymous hero is an innocent young man whose tutor, Pangloss, has instilled in him the belief that ‘all is for the best’. But when his love for the Baron’s rosy-cheeked daughter is discovered, Candide is cast out to make his own fortune. As he and his various companions roam over the world, an outrageous series of disasters – earthquakes, syphilis, the Inquisition – sorely test the young hero’s optimism, holding a mirror up to all fanatics, zealots and moral reformers of humankind.
Translated and Edited by Theo Cuffe with an Introduction by Michael Wood