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(English translation)

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Author: Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet)
Published: 1759
Language: English
Wordcount: 36,627 / 104 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 61.8
LoC Category: PQ
Downloads: 33,257
Added to site: 2005.05.15 10165
More Info:

Widely considered to be one of the most significant works of the Western canon, Voltaire's novel tells the tale of its naive protagonist Candide, taught to believe in optimism. Candide undergoes a series of extraordinary hardships, parodying many adventure and romance cliches.

Show Excerpt

as ripped open by the Bulgarian soldiers, after they had subjected her to as much cruelty as a damsel could survive; they knocked the Baron, her father, on the head for attempting to defend her; My Lady, her mother, was cut in pieces; my poor pupil was served just in the same manner as his sister; and as for the castle, they have not left one stone upon another; they have destroyed all the ducks, and sheep, the barns, and the trees; but we have had our revenge, for the Abares have done the very same thing in a neighboring barony, which belonged to a Bulgarian lord."

At hearing this, Candide fainted away a second time, but, not withstanding, having come to himself again, he said all that it became him to say; he inquired into the cause and effect, as well as into the sufficing reason that had reduced Pangloss to so miserable a condition.

"Alas," replied the preceptor, "it was love; love, the comfort of the human species; love, the preserver of the universe; the soul of all sensible beings; love!

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 5 from 6 reviews: *****

Candide is aweseome! However this specific translation is not the best one. The translation takes to much liberty as to trampling with names (original Jacques becomes James for some reason), which destroys the feeling authenticity of the story. Moreover, the translation is uncomfortably archaic, which makes it hard to read.

All in all I advice an alternative translation from French. This one can be downloaded from this very site. It reads flawlessly and the names of characters and places were unchanged.


If you like the film/book Forrest Gump, you'll love this book. Forrest Gump completely borrows from Candide's style. Candide is probably my favorite classic novel I've ever read. It cleverly combines the current events of the day it was written with fantasy and mythology. Candide is probably the most emotional yet funny book written at that time, and I highly recommend this to you.


Shocking. Sobering. Humerous. Ridiculous. Sad. Philosophical.

A different perspective on the Age Of Enlightenment. Like living in America during the reign of George the Dumber.

Read the foot notes for the story behind the story.


Absolutely hilarious, in a strangely remote manner -- matter of fact, dark, cynical, and humanist, all at once; I love how all of the "dead" characters kept popping back into the story :)

Dr. Ralph

Follow the naïve protagonist Candide from his first exposure to the precept that "all is for the best in this, the best of all possible worlds," through a series of adventures that dramatically disprove that precept even as Candide clings to it.



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