I got my wish. It snowed in London. Actually it snowed off and on all weekend. There wasn’t a lot of accumulation, but I won’t complain. So what did I do? I stayed in, curled up on the couch, and read. Not a bad way to spend a weekend. And the winter scenes from my flat were lovely.
One of the books I read was Candide by Voltaire. This was not my first reading of the novel. Nor was it my second. To be honest, I don’t know how many times I’ve read this short work. I know I had to read it in school at least once. Then, when I was a graduate assistant I read it each year (total of two years) to discuss it with my students. For my 1001 challenge, I have to read or reread all of the books on the list in order to complete the challenge. Rereading this satirical novella was a joy. It’s one of those books that doesn’t get tiresome. In fact, each time I appreciate it more. Maybe that’s because each year I experience a little bit more of life and can relate more.
Candide is simple man who loves Lady Cunegonde. Life is not easy for him. When Cunegonde’s family discovers his relationship he’s banished from Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh’s castle. Cast out into the world, he’s beset with one problem after another. No matter where he travels, he sees the worst of human nature. He’s tortured, ridiculed, and hunted down. Throughout it all he tries to maintain his belief in “the best of all possible worlds.”
Each pages oozes with sarcasm and Voltaire moves the plot along quickly. The fast pace, humor, and outrageous stories make this a memorable story. When it was published, 1759, it was banned in many areas for its religious and political views. Over the years, readers have come to love his wit and commentary about his society and human nature. Today, it’s considered a classic and one of the most read French novels. This work has influenced many modern writers, including Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut, and Thomas Pynchon.
It you have not read it and you like satires I would highly recommend Candide. This novel is on my 1001 list and it’s the first novel I’ve read in 2013 for my challenge to read more novels from around the world. Voltaire was a French Enlightenment writer born in 1694. He died at the age of 83.
Below you will find some photos from this past weekend.