Candide, ou l'Optimisme
January 26, 2010 6:59 AM   Subscribe

Few books written in the 18th Century are better known or more read today than Candide, Voltaire's great satire of optimism. The New York Public Library's Candide exhibition has many delights, including Rockwell Kent's famous illustrations. Many other artists have illustrated Candide, and many of those images can be seen in the University Library of Trier's Candide image database. If your eyes are tired, you can also download an audiobook of Candide for free from LibriVox, or you can listen to a lecture on Candide [iTunes] by Stanford professor Martin Evans. Adam Gopnik explains how Candide fits in Voltaire's life and what it can teach us today. And don't miss this old post about Leonard Bernstein's Candide operetta.
posted by Kattullus (10 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
To view the database images full size you have to open the jpg in a new tab or window (or, if you're using IE, right-click on the image, select properties, and copy the URL and paste into a new tab or window).
posted by Kattullus at 7:03 AM on January 26, 2010

Best of all possible posts!
posted by The Whelk at 7:09 AM on January 26, 2010 [4 favorites]

Do they have Chris Ware's cover for the Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition?
posted by shakespeherian at 7:36 AM on January 26, 2010

Oh this post reminds me of how much I hate those smug Anabaptist jerks!
posted by BobbyDigital at 8:15 AM on January 26, 2010

Oh this post reminds me of how much I hate those smug Anabaptist jerks!

Now, BobbyDigital, don't go all Jan van Leiden on us...

For my part, I liked Candide in 2 Minutes. Maybe I can't resist a "Severed Buttock!" or "War is Divine!" title card....
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:46 AM on January 26, 2010

I was just thinking it was a great day for an auto de fe!
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:06 AM on January 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

I've always, always loved this book. Had to read it in high school and although I was a marginal, lazy student, I just GOT this book. I was scraping by with a C in the class (I don't even remember if it was history or literature) that assigned it and the teacher was always disappointed in everything I wrote cause my effort was so lax...but damn if I didn't write a great paper on Candide. I still remember his comment next to big red A: "You seem to have a solid understanding of the themes in this book".
posted by vito90 at 10:56 AM on January 26, 2010

Metafilter: The best of all possible webs.
posted by empatterson at 4:13 PM on January 26, 2010

The 2nd book I read in my year of reading nothing but classics a couple of years back was Candide. Page 2, with the professor "giving a lesson in experimental natural philosophy" to the maid in the bushes, made me realize I was going to have a lot more fun that year than I first thought. Thanks for this, from a huge Rockwell Kent fan, too.
posted by mediareport at 4:49 PM on January 26, 2010

! Terrific post. Loads to peruse. Thank you!

My copy of Candide/Zadig is so tattered it's almost a shroud instead of a book, but it represents perfectly my grimly amused perceptions of a world gone wrong when I was 13. Ah, Voltaire. *happy sigh*
posted by batmonkey at 9:36 PM on January 26, 2010

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