Voltaire is one of the most influential French philosophers and authors of the Enlightenment, renowned for his sizable output of plays, essays, novels, letters, poetry, and historical works. Voltaire and other members of the Enlightenment, some more radical than he, sought to transform the shape of society, banish superstition, injustice, and fanaticism, and—in Voltaire’s words—“crush infamy.” He is perhaps best known for his popular dark satire Candide, which has not gone out of print since its first publication in 1759.
Candide tells the story of a young man named Candide, who embarks on a quest around the world to find his love, Cunégonde, encountering misfortune and adversity along the way. Candide’s teacher and companion, Dr. Pangloss, attempts to persuade him that “this is the best of all possible worlds” despite the hardships and evils they face. Thus, Voltaire wrote Candide not only to satirize the foibles and follies of eighteenth-century society, but also to criticize this naïve philosophy of optimism.
The present edition contains the illustrations of Adrien Moreau, created in the nineteenth century.