Book Review: Candide (Voltaire)
Have I read this before: Yes! First time was in Literature of Western Civilization, the class that first got me interested in philosophy. I’ve read it many times since, but it’s been awhile since I last read it.
Review: *dramatic sigh* THIS FREAKING LITTLE NOVELLA. I’m so conflicted. On the one hand, it’s probably the best bit of satire I’ve ever read (and is hilarious and tragic and disturbing all at the same time). On the other hand, one of the major things being parodied is Leibniz’ optimism and Leibniz himself—you can’t tell me there aren’t personal jabs in there, ‘CAUSE THERE ARE! [see the last line of chapter 28], and that makes me sad. Especially since his philosophy is definitely oversimplified and entirely not what he meant “the best of all possible worlds” to be.
But Voltaire is Voltaire, so what can we do?
Favorite part: It’s hard to pick one since it’s so short and everything really flows together. There are some great lines, though:
- Candide, trembling like a philosopher, hid himself as best he could during this heroic carnage.
- Candide said to himself, “If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others like?”
- “What’s optimism?” asked Cacambo.
“Alas,” said Candide, “it’s a mania for insisting that everything is all right when everything is going wrong.”
OH GOD A TWILIGHT BLOG
Random blog about Twilight ‘cause I heard some people talking about it at the rec center.
I admit that I want to read at least the first book (or at most the first book…from what I’ve heard I’d probably shoot myself if I had to read more than one of them), mainly because it’s such an anti-intellectual dumping ground of stupidity, stalking, dependency, and just overall “what the fuck is this?” that reading it would probably be pretty hilarious.
I watched the first movie on Netflix last summer to see what exactly everyone was adoring/hating. I couldn’t catch if there was a plot or not ‘cause it moved at the pace of a semi-paralyzed snail trying to crawl through molasses, so by the time Edward had taken off his shirt and sparkled like a glitter factory I was half asleep. The only “action” came in like the last fifteen minutes, I’m not even kidding. The rest played out like an instructional video of how to properly stalk in teenage relationships.
I’d like to know what makes people go freak-crazy over Twilight. I remember discussing it briefly at one of our little grad school get-togethers and a few of the ladies were like “oh my god, are we talking about Edward?! HE’S SO FREAKING HAWT!” and it was at that time that I realized that Twilight was essentially like some sort of literary plague.
And that’s pretty freaking depressing. What happened to the desire to read good literature? How is Candide, which is FORTY THOUSAND TIMES AS EXCITING as an emo vampire and his dull girlfriend, not going viral?
Today’s song: Cobrastyle by Robyn
Claudia’s Top 5 Sexiest Men of the Enlightenment
Here are five instances where beauty and brains do occur simultaneously. Also, I adore the fashion of this era.
(2-years-later-retrospective-observation: HOLY CRAP, I posted this on Leibniz’ birthday!)
1. This man wears the best of all possible wigs, and he wears it well. Leibniz did everything—mathematics, linguistics, philosophy, logic, engineering, law, natural science—you name a topic, he probably dabbled in it. Polymathy is hot, and so are ostentatious wigs.
Eye candy AND brain candy.
2. Anyone who knows me knows that I think Voltaire is the sexiest man ever to live. I slobbered all over Candide when I first read it, and I see it as a proof of God that such wit could be combined with such good looks.
He can satire his way into my heart any day.
3. It feels fundamentally wrong to me to have Leibniz and Newton inhabiting the same list, but you have to admit—the guy looks badass. Setting aside the calculus issue, there are very few things Newton can’t take at least some credit for in the world of science. Plus, he shoved a darning needle behind his eye and moved it around to see if it distorted his vision. That’s dedication.
“I am the CALCULATOR…I will divide you by zero!”
4. Hume has a very confident look about him. And why shouldn’t he? After all, he did—single-handedly—take down the notions of induction and causation. And he did it while looking good. That jacket looks very sexy on him.
The missing shade of awesome.
5. I don’t know much about this attractive young man named d’Alembert, but he apparently studied vibrating strings, which sounds (no pun intended) really cool. He did argue, incorrectly, that the probability of a coin landing heads increased with each time it landed tails, but since that seems like common sense to most people, I can respect that.
Rousseau, you sneaky, sneaky man!
Jean-Jacques! You surprise me! Have you dared to sneak a jab at my beloved Voltaire in your Confessions?
Ah, I do say it may be so—in reading your book today for the second time I came across within the first fifteen pages a phrase I’d missed the first time—the phrase, “…we ceased to cultivate our little gardens…”
A trifle, my good readers say? Ah! But if you look at the last line in Voltaire’s Candide you will see the (rather famous) phrase, “‘that is well said,’ replied Candide, ‘but we must cultivate our garden,'” expressing Voltaire’s ideas that to have a good life, one must work without philosophizing too greatly.
Considering Rousseau finished his Confessions in 1770 and Voltaire’s Candide was completed in 1762 (the latest date I could find), and taking into consideration the strained relationship between the two men that is evident in their correspondences between each other, this arises suspicion in me as to whether or not this was a deliberate yet subtle jab at Voltaire’s Candide.
Is this a glossed-over quip? Or am I just blathering on in my usual manner?
Who’s to say?
Though I vote on the latter.
Paleontology? Ha! Not a chance!
I have this suspicion that my blogs have been sucky recently. Is it just me, or is it true?
Today’s full of random crap. Bear with.
~Still waiting for Voltaire pins. Excitement is building.
~I also found Candide on audiobook. Win.
~Where I wish to be employed in 10-15 years.
~My Flash god.
~How in the world did my map views on my profile jump to a staggering 1,733?
~Make me a Sartre doll and I shall give you $10.
~Wouldn’t it be awesome if I could make a Podcast of my blogs? Holy crap.
~You know what would be freaking awesome? We all dress in togas and such and go down to those big steps by the old arboretum and have a philosophy party.
Okay, enough of this. You all tell me what kinds of blogs you like, since lately I’m not sure what you all prefer. Do you like my random lists? Do you like me going over my day in an interesting fashion? Do you like my more contemplative (read: “thoughtful,” not depressing) blogs? What about the surveys, can you even stand those?
I’m making an effort to keep you people happy. Feedback! Now! *whip crack*
“Historical Figures I Would Marry: An In-Depth Study”
Finished my studying/homework early. Sitting here watching a PBS documentary on hippopotami. Chatting with Nick. And blaming Nick for what’s to come in this blog.
I was planning on having a nice, quiet, philosophical discussion with him tonight, but that plan backfired faster than a hunting trip with Dick Cheney, so instead I bring you this:
Historical Figures I Would Marry: An In-Depth Study*
Top 3 Reasons
1. He’s witty
2. He criticized the Catholic Church
3. Satire is sexy
-The conversation! Think of it!
-Letters to each other! Letters to each other!
-He seems the type to be difficult to get a straight answer out of
2. Socrates (this is based off of Plato’s interpretation of Socrates in his writings)
Top 3 Reasons
1. He died for his beliefs. That’s dedication, people.
2. He taught Plato!
3. He claimed to have a divine voice in his head.
-We could talk forever.
-He’d probably question everything I’d say. That would get old.
Top 3 Reasons
1. “Penpal” to Voltaire!
2. Basically came up with the autobiography.
3. “The Social Contract!”
-Oh, I think we’d have fun.
-I think the whole “Romanticism” thing would get to me after awhile.
Top 3 Reasons
1. Oh, come on, he’s Plato!
-Oh, the rhetoric!
-Our relationship would probably be strictly platonic.
Top 3 Reasons
1. He’s the father of psychoanalysis. I mean, come on.
2. He analyzed EVERYTHING.
3. Have you read The Interpretation of Dreams? Wow.
-Again, think of the conversation!
-We could collaborate on things.
-Neither one of us would ever shut up. Seriously.
6. Millard Fillmore
Top 3 Reasons
1. Best president ever.
2. Last words = “the nourishment is palatable.”
3. In the election of 1856 he won one of the highest popular vote percentages of any third-party candidate.
-My goodness, everything!
-None, if you don’t mind never being remembered. Ever.
Yeah. I should have gone with Matt, Lindsey, and Gary for movies.
*not nearly as in-depth as it could be, so be thankful for that. And there are only six.