Published in 1759, Candide is considered one of the most important works in Western literary canon. Because of its strong criticism of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the governments of France, Prussia, England, and Portugal, the novel was almost immediately banned in some countries. In the centuries since, Candide has been plagiarized, imitated, and adapted for film, television, and opera many times.
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Voltaire's answer to what he deemed ludicrous philosophy was Candide: a fantastic picaresque tale that follows the ultra naive title character around the world on a hilarious journey. He goes about with his teacher Pangloss, who's bent on proving the tenets of optimism. But through the course of worldly events, pessimism eventually seems to be a more accurate view. When Candide and his friends are killed, they are magically brought back to life. First they're rich, then they're poor... and finally they wind up on a farm in Turkey. This short book is a fast paced, funny, and delightful read.