I try to read books. I am no good reader, so I always end up reading three at the time. A couple of nights ago I finished Voltaire’s Candide (simple minded) a.k.a Candide ou l’optimisme. What an experience! Long have I wandered in dark literature, perverted, soultwisted, and here I stumble over this brutally entertaining book spiced with Voltaire’s arrogant pessimism.
And who is Candide? Well, besides from being the face of Optimism, he’s a young, unlucky man deeply in love with princess Kunigunde. He follows the philosophy of Master Pangloss (pan means everything and gloss means word. He who can speak about/have opinions about everything) who means that everything is at its best, following a churchbased, philosophical movement at the time of writing who believed that God had created and infinite number of Universes, and everything must then be at the best of order, even though not obvious to man. Candide meets a cheerful lot of depressive characters, including philosopher Martin, who makes for a pessimistic opposite of Master Pangloss, and is continually underlining the obvious realities of reality, as Kunigunde being raped by a pack of savages for instance.
All in all it is a little masterpiece. I’ve only read it one time, and it was first when I looked at the appendix at the end of the book, that I realized the historical weight of this monument in the history of thinking. Voltaire has masterly included an entire historybook in names, places, situations that – if you are not aware of it – are hidden for the sleepy reader. I can just begin to imagine the depth this story must have had in Voltaire’s life, in describing it, even though the author himself denied ever having written such a tale to his very death.
If nothing else, I assure you a good laugh at every page at least.
Candide is absolutely one of Sigg3 dot net’s Recommended Readings! Congrats!