Voltaire: Candide

Brought up in the household of a powerful Baron, Candide is an open-minded young man, whose tutor, Pangloss, has instilled in him the belief that ‘all is for the best’. But when his love for the Baron’s rosy-cheeked daughter is discovered, Candide is cast out to make his own way in the world.

And so he and his various companions begin a breathless tour of Europe, South America and Asia, as an outrageous series of disasters befall them – earthquakes, syphilis, a brush with the Inquisition, murder – sorely testing the young hero’s optimism.

WHY THIS BOOK WAS BANNED:

As expected by Voltaire, Candide has enjoyed both great success and great scandal. Immediately after its secretive publication, the book was widely banned because it contained religious blasphemy, political sedition and intellectual hostility hidden under a thin veil of naïveté. (Wiki)

Let me start by saying that I have had this on my list of “study books” since the beginning of my list of “study books” because I thought this was a serious book of philosophy in line with Plato and Aristotle. I was so very very wrong.

From the very first line, this book is ridiculous.

In a castle of Westphalia, belonging to the Baron of Thunder-ten-Tronckh, lived a youth, whom nature had endowed with the most gentle manners.

Who do you picture the moment you read that? Do you rap it, because I rapped it.

 

When you start a book thinking about The Fresh Prince…all thoughts of serious literature pretty much go out the window. From then on, it was all about the satire. Which is what Voltaire intended. He intended to “bring amusement to a small number of men of wit.” Not a man, sorry Voltaire, but I think he would still be pleased by the rapping.

While I did make quite a few FP connections while reading Candidethe satire REALLY reminded me of Monty Python style humor. People dying, but not really. Cutting off butts to feed people. Satire about existential crises. I haven’t watched enough Monty Python to really get into it, but what I have seen, struck me as familiar.

Did I like this? It’s an I don’t know. Parts of it were very amusing, but there was almost TOO much satire. Sort of like Monty Python really. I lose the plot in those kinds of things, because every single joke that possibly can be shoved in does, and I prefer a little more actual development. Does that make me less witty? I don’t think so, I get the wit just fine. I just need substance to go with it.

BY THE WAY–If you aren’t following me on my new Instagram account, you are missing out on things like me rapping along to Voltaire to the tune of Fresh Prince, so you should probably get on that.

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