Caustic and hilarious, Candide* has ranked as one of the world's great satires since its first publication in 1759. It concerns the adventures of the youthful Candide, disciple of Dr. Pangloss. In the course of his adventures in Europe and South America, Candide suffers such misfortune that it is difficult for him to believe this is "the best of all possible worlds.” In brilliantly skewering such naïveté, Voltaire mercilessly exposes and satirizes romance, science, philosophy, religion, and government — the ideas and forces that permeate and control the lives of us all. Candide was widely banned immediately after publication, because it contained religious blasphemy, political sedition and intellectual hostility hidden under a thin veil of naiveté. Today, Candide is recognized as Voltaire's magnum opus and is often listed as part of the Western canon; it is arguably taught more than any other work of French literature.
VOLTAIRE (1694-1778) was a French philosopher, historian, and writer, famous for his wit, advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and separation of church and state. He was a prolific writer, producing plays, poems, novels, essays, historical and scientific works. As a satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize intolerance, religious dogma, and French institutions of his day.
“Candide is one of The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written.”