Join us for Voltaire's masterpiece, a classic, playful romp, with the young, naive Candide, who believes that "all is for the best," even when dealing with a hilarious tide of misfortune, injustice, suffering, and despair. Filled with wit, intelligence, and dark humor, this will cause the reader to ponder their assumptions about human behavior and their place in the world, as it attacks corruption, hypocrisy, religion, government, philosophy, science, and romance. "Candide" is ranked as one of the world's greatest satires, as timeless today, as it was in 1759.
About the Author
Voltaire is the penname of Francois-Marie Arouet, who was born on November 21, 1694, in Paris, France. He was the youngest of five children of a lawyer and treasury official and a woman from a noble family. Educated by the Jesuits at the College Louis-le-Grand from 1704 until 1711, he learned Latin, Greek, Italian, Spanish, and English. Though his father wished for him to become a lawyer also, Francois-Marie decided he wanted to become a writer. While working as an assistant to a notary, Arouet spent most of his time writing poetry. His father then forced him to study law in Caen, Normandy, but still he continued to write. Arouet had a quick wit, which made him very popular, and he obtained a job as secretary to the French ambassador in the Netherlands. There, he became engaged to Catherine Olympe Dunoyer, but their marriage was foiled by his father, and he returned once again to France. In 1718, he parted ways with his family and took the Latinized spelling of his surname, and created the name Voltaire. He used at least 178 different pennames during his lifetime. Due to an argument with a French nobleman, Voltaire was exiled to England for three years. Returning to Paris in 1729, he began an attempt to reform the French judicial system, using ideas he had learned from the English, writing plays, and studying the scientific works of Sir Isaac Newton. In 1736, Frederick the Great began to write to Voltaire and in 1742, the French government sent him to spy on Frederick, to discover his plans after the First Silesian War. In 1744, he began a relationship with his niece, which lasted for the rest of his life. He began receiving a salary from the king, but after writing an offensive article, Frederick had him arrested. Voltaire ended up being banned from Paris, so he bought a large estate in Geneva. The law there, banned publication of his works, so in 1758, he moved to Ferney, where he wrote "Candide" in 1759. Beginning in 1762, Voltaire became a champion for unjustly accused people. In 1778, his close friend Benjamin Franklin initiated him as a Freemason. That same year, he returned to Paris, but the five day journey took its toll. He died on May 30, 1778, in Paris, at the age of 83. Because of his criticism of the Church, he was denied a Christian burial, nut some of his friends secretly buried him at the Abbey of Scellieres in Champagne. His heart and brain were embalmed separately. In 1791, his remains were enshrined in Paris.