Introduction & Overview of Candide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 59 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Candide.
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Candide Summary & Study Guide Description

Candide Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains For Further Study and a Free Quiz on Candide by Voltaire.

François-Marie Arouet, best known under his pen name, Voltaire, is such a historical giant that some scholars, like Ariel and Will Durant, call the eigh- teenth century the "Age of Voltaire." Voltaire was unrivaled in stature as an author. He criticized everyone and signed his works with "Ecrasez l'infame" or "down with infamy." Though he wrote more than eighty volumes of material, his most popular work remains Candide; ou L'optimisme, traduit de l'Allemand, de Mr. le Docteur Ralph, translated in 1759 as Candide; Or All for the Best. The reception of the work was controversial; in fact, the Great Council of Geneva immediately denounced it and ordered all copies to be burned.

Candide parodies the philosophy of optimism put forth by Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibnitz. This philosophy states that since God created the world and God is perfect, everything in the world is ultimately perfect. Voltaire had already attacked this philosophy of optimism in his poem on the 1756 Lisbon earthquake. Rousseau answered the poem with a letter, which was leaked to the press, saying it was Voltaire who was mistaken. Voltaire answered back three years later with the tale of Candide. The tale is a fantastic picaresque journey that takes Candide around the world. After he and his friends are killed, they are brought back to life; first rich, then poor; and finally, they wind up on a farm in Turkey.

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This section contains 232 words
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Novels for Students
Candide from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.