Or, OptimismBook - 1947
It was the indifferent shrug and callous inertia that this "optimism" concealed which so angered Voltaire, who found the "all for the best" approach a patently inadequate response to suffering, to natural disasters, not to mention the questions of illness and man-made war. Moreover, as the rebel whose satiric genius had earned him not only international acclaim, but two stays in the Bastille, flogging, and exile, Voltaire knew personally what suffering entailed. In Candide he whisks his young hero and friends through a ludicrous variety of tortures, tragedies, and a reversal of fortune, in the company of Pangloss, a "metaphysico-theologo-comolo-nigologist" of unflinching optimism. The result is one of the glories of eighteenth-century satire.
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"Candide" by Voltaire, read by Jack Davenport
Candide is cast out and must make his way in life, having been taught that "All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds," but finds that there is much that is wretched, unjust, and painful; along the way he meets up with a series of coincidences that would be a perfect fit in any Dan Brown novel, but here used for comic effect.
I recently read a book that billed itself as inspired by Candide, so I decided to read the original. (I should have started with this one and not read the other.) This is seriously laugh-out-loud funny. Wish I had read it in high school. The voice the reader used for Candide reminded me of a young Michael Palin, so that's who I imagined throughout, which was perfect.
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