Julian Barnes at the Guardian writes a compelling article about Voltaire’s Candide. I have soft spot for that book after reading it as an impressionable undergraduate. A history professor (who I happen to owe a lot) assigned it as a means of teaching the period’s history (a function that, as Barnes points out, the book does quite well ). Despite loving the class, I don’t recall much of the historical details that we covered or their representation in the book. I do remember the lectures on Enlightenment thought and Voltaire’s scathing satirical wit though. I’ve carted Candide around for the better part of ten years now. I’ve never gone back to reread it but Barnes makes me wonder if it’s about time I do.

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