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Candide [Audiobook, CD] [MP3 CD]

Voltaire , Tom Whitworth
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Oct. 1 2005 Unabridged Classics in Audio
In this witty political satire, a gentle man plagued by misfortune who clings to the belief that "all is for the best," Voltaire mocks the "eternal optimist" philosophy of his day that proclaimed human and natural disasters are a part of a larger cosmic plan.

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Review

* The brilliant unabridged narration brings out all the ironies, tragedy and exuberant comedy of this 18th-century classic. The Observer * A classic audio in every sense. The Guardian --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Voltaire (Francois-Marie Arouet) (1694--1778) was one of the key thinkers of the European Enlightenment. Of his many works, "Candide" remains the most popular.
Peter Constantine was awarded the 1998 PEN Translation Award for "Six Early Stories "by Thomas Mann and the 1999 National Translation Award for "The Undiscovered Chekhov: Forty-three New Stories." Widely acclaimed for his recent translation of the complete works of Isaac Babel, he also translated Gogol's "Taras Bulba" and Tolstoy's "The Cossacks "for the Modern Library. His translations of fiction and poetry have appeared in many publications, including "The New Yorker, Harper's," and "Paris Review. "He lives in New York City.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
François-Marie Arouet (1694-1788) better known by the pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment historian, philosopher and writer, famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion and free trade. Voltaire was a prolific writer, producing works in almost every literary form including plays, poetry, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works. As a satirical polemicist, Voltaire frequently made use of his works to criticize intolerance, religious dogma and the French institutions of his day. It seems likely that Voltaire was inspired to write' Candide' as a consequence of several deadly historical events (the Seven Years War and the consequences of 1755 Lisbon earthquake). The earthquake in particular had a large effect on the contemporary doctrine of optimism - based on the theodicy of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz - that says that all is for the best because God is a benevolent deity.

`Candide' was first published in 1759, and was almost immediately banned. The story follows the adventures of Candide, a young man raised in the household of Baron Thunder-ten-Tronckh, a member of the minor nobility in Westphalia. Candide is educated by Pangloss:

`Pangloss was professor of metaphysico-theologico-cosmolonigology. He proved admirably that there is no effect without a cause, and that, in this the best of all possible worlds, the Baron's castle was the most magnificent of castles, and his lady the best of all possible Baronesses.'

Alas, Candide falls in love with Cunégonde, the Baron's daughter, and the Baron catches him kissing her hand. As a consequence, Candide is evicted from the castle, and his adventures commence.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a very funny book June 27 2007
By S. Peltz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Besides basic philosophical concepts this is my first introduction to Voltaire. If you like sarcasm and witty humor you should love this book. To summarize you follow an inexperienced and foolishly idealistic "hero" on a journey through layers upon layers of tragedy. Instead of obeying his common sense he persistently tries to force his idealistic philosophies on the barrage of mishaps. He never "gets it" which sets the tone for non-stop laughter. I love this book...good narration as well.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Candide Aug. 30 2012
By Chris Harvey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a text book for my English Comp class. It was required reading but both the cost and the ability to get it on Kindle were the real highligts. This made it extremely affordable and convienent.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easier to read Jan. 23 2013
By Timothy Mulligan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This large print edition of Candide by François Marie Arouet (who called himself "Voltaire"), is easier to read than paperback versions with small print. The cover is durable and shiny and the binding is secure but flexible. The paper appears to be good quality. The type size is large but not too big. The book is thin even in large print because it's not a long book. Note, this version is large, especially its height; it's tall and wide. The opposite of a paperback. It's a large hardcover book, somewhat bulky and wieldy.

This is one of my favourite books of all books I've read. It's an important work in the history of civilization, philosophy and thought. The ironies of plot are delicious. The story is extremely interesting. It is categorized as a "philosophical tale," a genre that this book basically inagurated. In other words it's a story that illustrates philosophical points. A concise criticism of the optimism of Leibnitz. In fact the title of the book is "Candide or Optimism." This short work packs in more ironies than you would have thought possible, and does so more concisely than probably any other work of fiction. I do not think you will regret owning this copy of this great book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Purely from my POV... Feb. 13 2012
By Kimberly Wade - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"Life is suffering." said the Buddha without going into much detail. Voltaire cares to illuminate this idea with Candide, a short satirical novel in which character after character details a life of personal sufferings taken to comic extremes. Like the Buddha, Candide is born into a life of luxury. Tragedy after tragedy befalls the title hero as he chases after his love, Cunegonde. By the end, Candide rejects all philosophy and subscribes to a simple life. (I doubt Voltaire studied the Pali Canon. The comparison is mine.)

The text here is too rich for such a short review, and I feel unqualified for the task, knowing little of the historical context. Voltaire skewers religious folk, philosophers, royalty, and even writers with equal wit. I suspect it's all of Voltaire's contemporary society that is on the spit, and though I'm sure some of the nuance is lost on this naïve 21st century reader, the humor is broad enough to delight.

On a side note, there is sharp evidence here that the immorality of slavery was as clear in the 18th century as it is today, and those of our forefathers who were slave holders can't be absolved by the arguments, "The times were different then," or "They didn't know any better." Yes, times were different then, and they did know better.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars `If this is the best of possible worlds, what then are the others?' Aug. 28 2011
By Jennifer Cameron-Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
François-Marie Arouet (1694-1788) better known by the pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment historian, philosopher and writer, famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion and free trade. Voltaire was a prolific writer, producing works in almost every literary form including plays, poetry, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works. As a satirical polemicist, Voltaire frequently made use of his works to criticize intolerance, religious dogma and the French institutions of his day. It seems likely that Voltaire was inspired to write' Candide' as a consequence of several deadly historical events (the Seven Years War and the consequences of 1755 Lisbon earthquake). The earthquake in particular had a large effect on the contemporary doctrine of optimism - based on the theodicy of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz - that says that all is for the best because God is a benevolent deity.

`Candide' was first published in 1759, and was almost immediately banned. The story follows the adventures of Candide, a young man raised in the household of Baron Thunder-ten-Tronckh, a member of the minor nobility in Westphalia. Candide is educated by Pangloss:

`Pangloss was professor of metaphysico-theologico-cosmolonigology. He proved admirably that there is no effect without a cause, and that, in this the best of all possible worlds, the Baron's castle was the most magnificent of castles, and his lady the best of all possible Baronesses.'

Alas, Candide falls in love with Cunégonde, the Baron's daughter, and the Baron catches him kissing her hand. As a consequence, Candide is evicted from the castle, and his adventures commence. Candide lives through a series of absurdly dreadful events as he seeks to be reunited with Cunégonde. From Candide's time in the Bulgarian army to his visit to El Dorado, the story grows more far-fetched. Each exaggeration has its own purpose in this story and the contrast of great (and frequent) tragedy with comedy is the main satirical method used in `Candide'. Voltaire's wit and his parody of the classic adventure-romance plot challenges any complacency readers might have in their own world view.

`What! Have you no monks who teach, who dispute, who govern, who cabal, and who burn people that are not of their opinion?'

Candide continues to be optimistic as he travels, despite being confronted with frequent horrible events. These events become improbably humorous because they are described in such painstaking detail and because there are so many of them. Over the course of `Candide' all members of the Baron's household experience significant changes (good and bad) in their circumstances. And who, amongst the characters, has the worst luck? This is frequently discussed. But ultimately, the question Voltaire leaves us with is how do we achieve happiness? What matters, and why?

`All that is very well', answered Candide,'but let us cultivate our garden.'

I enjoyed `Candide', and will be rereading it again at some stage. It is possible to read and be amused by the satire, but the chaos and suffering in Candide's world invites reflection about cause and effect, and an exploration (for those inclined) for a deeper meaning.

`All is well, all will be well, all goes as well as possible.'

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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