This week I'm sharing Candide by Voltaire, which I've been reading for my 100 Classics Club list.
Brought up in the household of a powerful Baron, Candide is an open-minded young man, whose tutor, Pangloss, has instilled in him the belief that 'all is for the best'. But when his love for the Baron's rosy-cheeked daughter is discovered, Candide is cast out to make his own way in the world.
And so he and his various companions begin a breathless tour of Europe, South America and Asia, as an outrageous series of disasters befall them - earthquakes, syphilis, a brush with the Inquisition, murder - sorely testing the young hero's optimism.Book Beginnings and Friday 56 are hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader and Freda at Freda's Voice respectively.
'In the country of Westphalia, in the castle of the most noble Baron of Thunder–ten–tronckh, lived a youth whom Nature had endowed with a most sweet disposition. His face was the true index of his mind. He had a solid judgment joined to the most unaffected simplicity; and hence, I presume, he had his name of Candide. The old servants of the house suspected him to have been the son of the Baron’s sister, by a very good sort of a gentleman of the neighborhood, whom that young lady refused to marry, because he could produce no more than threescore and eleven quarterings in his arms; the rest of the genealogical tree belonging to the family having been lost through the injuries of time.'I loved this beginning because Voltaire is so sharp in his assessments of people throughout the book but the beginning eases into it so simply that you'd never expect it!
'The villainy of mankind presented itself to his mind in all its deformity, and his soul was a prey to the most gloomy ideas.'I have to admit that I love Voltaire's writing style. It's all wit and sarcasm until he gets to his punchline which is delivered with incredibly severity and soberness!
What are you reading at the moment? Does Candide sound like something you'd enjoy?