Mémoires et lettres de Madame de Maintenon: Lettres de Madame de Maintenon

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Publisher
J.E.Dufour et P. Roux
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Published on
Dec 31, 1778
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Pages
320
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Language
French
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This content is DRM free.
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Voltaire Voltaire
Candide is characterised by its sarcastic tone, as well as by its erratic, fantastical and fast-moving plot. A picaresque novel with a story similar to that of a more serious bildungsroman, it parodies many adventure and romance clichés, the struggles of which are caricatured in a tone that is mordantly matter-of-fact. Still, the events discussed are often based on historical happenings, such as the Seven Years' War and the 1755 Lisbon earthquake.

As philosophers of Voltaire's day contended with the problem of evil, so too does Candide in this short novel, albeit more directly and humorously. Voltaire ridicules religion, theologians, governments, armies, philosophies, and philosophers through allegory; most conspicuously, he assaults Leibniz and his optimism.


Voltaire's men and women point his case against optimism by starting high and falling low. A modern could not go about it after this fashion. He would not plunge his people into an unfamiliar misery. He would just keep them in the misery they were born to.


But such an account of Voltaire's procedure is as misleading as the plaster cast of a dance. Look at his procedure again. Mademoiselle Cunégonde, the illustrious Westphalian, sprung from a family that could prove seventy-one quarterings, descends and descends until we find her earning her keep by washing dishes in the Propontis. The aged faithful attendant, victim of a hundred acts of rape by negro pirates, remembers that she is the daughter of a pope, and that in honor of her approaching marriage with a Prince of Massa-Carrara all Italy wrote sonnets of which not one was passable. We do not need to know French literature before Voltaire in order to feel, although the lurking parody may escape us, that he is poking fun at us and at himself. His laughter at his own methods grows more unmistakable at the last, when he caricatures them by casually assembling six fallen monarchs in an inn at Venice.


A modern assailant of optimism would arm himself with social pity. There is no social pity in "Candide." Voltaire, whose light touch on familiar institutions opens them and reveals their absurdity, likes to remind us that the slaughter and pillage and murder which Candide witnessed among the Bulgarians was perfectly regular, having been conducted according to the laws and usages of war.


Had Voltaire lived today he would have done to poverty what he did to war. Pitying the poor, he would have shown us poverty as a ridiculous anachronism, and both the ridicule and the pity would have expressed his indignation.



About Author:


VOLTAIRE
François-Marie Arouet (1694 – 1778), known by his nom de plume Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and separation of church and state. Voltaire was a versatile writer, producing works in almost every literary form, including plays, poems, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works.


He wrote more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. He was an outspoken advocate, despite the risk this placed him in under the strict censorship laws of the time. As a satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize intolerance, religious dogma, and the French institutions of his day.

Voltaire
'If this is the best of all possible worlds, then what must the others be like?' Young Candide is tossed on a hilarious tide of misfortune, experiencing the full horror and injustice of this 'best of all possible worlds' - the Old and the New - before finally accepting that his old philosophy tutor Dr Pangloss has got it all wrong. There are no grounds for his daft theory of Optimism. Yet life goes on. We must cultivate our garden, for there is certainly room for improvement. Candide is the most famous of Voltaire's 'philosophical tales', in which he combined witty improbabilities with the sanest of good sense. First published in 1759, it was an instant bestseller and has come to be regarded as one of the key texts of the Enlightenment. What Candide does for chivalric romance, the other tales in this selection - Micromegas, Zadig, The Ingenu, and The White Bull - do for science fiction, the Oriental tale, the sentimental novel, and the Old Testament. This new edition also includes a verse tale based on Chaucer's The Wife of Bath's Tale, in which we discover that most elusive of secrets: What Pleases the Ladies. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
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