Posted: January 26, 2013 in Articles
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I just finished reading Candide and it was pretty good. Candide was written by Voltaire, who was a French philosopher and author. SAM_3869He lived from 1694 to 1778 and he wrote Candide to criticize Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s theory of optimism that stated that everything happens for the best, (Leibniz’s theory is actually a little more complicated than this. Voltaire simplified it so that it would fit into the simplistic and comical style of his novel) . In Candide, this theory of “everything happens for the best” is mocked by Voltaire.

For instance, Voltaire makes one of the characters in his book a man named Pangloss who represents Leibniz. He is optimistic no matter what happens. Even when he is infected with syphilis, survives a hanging, is partly dissected, whipped, and put on board a Turkish galley to row, he still maintains that everything is for the best. Also, Pangloss prevents a man from saving another man from drowning, claiming that “the coast of Lisbon had been made on purpose for the Anabaptist to be drowned there”.

Voltaire mocks Leibniz’s theory by presenting it in such a ridiculous way, and one would have to be pretty unobservant not to realize that he didn’t think too much of it. Candide can be bought here.

by Dink

  1. Jeff says:

    You might enjoy a book called “Clockwork Angels.” It is based on a story and lyrics by Neil Peart, the drummer for Rush. Peart loosely based his story on Candide. In fact, he even has a character named Pangloss. The book is written by Kevin J Anderson. I read it and liked it somewhat, but didn’t love it.

    • Thanks for the suggestion! I think that it is pretty interesting how authors imitate plots of other books, but I’ve never heard of someone using the same character as in another book!

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