Shorter than a typical novel, but longer than a short story.

Candide (or Optimism) by Voltaire

Candide being swindled (in Voltaire's Candide,...

Candide being swindled (in Voltaire’s Candide, or Optimism) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


At least 250 years after its publication in 1759, Candide is still very funny satire. My favorite line from Candide is, “let’s eat some Jesuit“–probably because a good portion of my education is due to the Jesuits. Perhaps it would be even funnier to me if I was a Catholic, or maybe I would just laugh guiltily.The book is simultaneously brutal and humorous. Although you will find it in the literature section as it is considered a novella, some of the “fictional” events are based on historical facts, and it was the failure of the period’s intellectuals (Leibniz in particular) to deal with the harsh realities of the world (a major earthquake in Lisbon, the plague, and the Spanish Inquisition) that prompted Voltaire to write such a scathing rebuttal to some of those individuals. His lampooning of various governments and religions eventually landed him in prison.  (more…)