This Broadview Edition follows the text of a 1759 English translation that was released concurrently with Voltaire’s first French edition. Candide is supplemented by Voltaire’s most important poetic and humanistic writings on God and evil, the Poem upon the Destruction of Lisbon and We Must Take Sides. The editor’s introduction situates the novel in its philosophical and intellectual setting; the appendices include other writings by Voltaire, as well as related writings by Bayle, Leibniz, Pope, Rousseau, and others that place the work in its poetic, philosophical, and humanistic contexts.
When he is sent away in disgrace after kissing his cousin, the lady Cunégonde, Candide finds himself first pressed into military service with the Prussians, and then beset by natural disasters in Portugal before being reunited first with his tutor, Pangloss, and then finally with his beloved Cunégonde. As the trio embark on a new life in South America, they find their faith once again challenged by the events that befall them.
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“Do you believe,' said Candide, 'that men have always massacred each other as they do to-day, that they have always been liars, cheats, traitors, ingrates, brigands, idiots, thieves, scoundrels, gluttons, drunkards, misers, envious, ambitious, bloody-minded, calumniators, debauchees, fanatics, hypocrites, and fools?'
Do you believe,' said Martin, 'that hawks have always eaten pigeons when they have found them?” ― Voltaire, Candide
Candide is a young man who is raised in wealth to be an optimist but when he is forced to make his own way in the world, his assumptions and outlook are challenged.