'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.
A new translation of Voltaire's Treatise on Toleration, one of the most important essays on religious tolerance and freedom of thought
A powerful, impassioned case for the values of freedom of conscience and religious tolerance, Treatise on Toleration was written after the Toulouse merchant Jean Calas was falsely accused of murdering his son and executed on the wheel in 1762. As it became clear that Calas had been persecuted by 'an irrational mob' for being a Protestant, the Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire began a campaign to vindicate him and his family. The resulting work, a screed against fanaticism and a plea for understanding, is as fresh and urgent today as when it was written.
The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom is a novel by Tobias Smollett first published in 1753. It was Smollett's third novel and met with less success than his two previous more picaresque tales. The central character is a villainous dandy who cheats, swindles and philanders his way across Europe and England with little concern for the law or the welfare of others. The son of an equally disreputable mother, Smollett himself comments that "Fathom justifies the proverb, 'What's bred in the bone will never come out of the flesh". Sir Walter Scott commented that the novel paints a "complete picture of human depravity". The main character reappears as a minor character in Smollet's later novel The Expedition of Humphry Clinker. The novel's elements of terror and the supernatural have caused some historians of English literature to describe it as anticipating the themes of the Gothic novel.
Candide is the story of a gentle man who, though pummeled and slapped in every direction by fate, clings desperately to the belief that he lives in "the best of all possible worlds." On the surface a witty, bantering tale, this eighteenth-century classic is actually a savage, satiric thrust at the philosophical optimism that proclaims that all disaster and human suffering is part of a benevolent cosmic plan. Fast, funny, often outrageous, the French philosopher's immortal narrative takes Candide around the world to discover that -- contrary to the teachings of his distringuished tutor Dr. Pangloss -- all is not always for the best. Alive with wit, brilliance, and graceful storytelling, Candide has become Voltaire's most celebrated work.
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