Thursday, January 30, 2014


My grandma picked up "Candide" while she was visiting and read a few passages out that particularly struck her fancy. We both giggled over them, and then she returned the book to the library before I had a chance to read it.

So, when I stumbled across it a few days ago, I picked it up and read it.

My first thought--why didn't we read Voltaire in high school? Why do we read Nathaniel Hawthorn and Edith Wharton, and all the unfunny Dickens instead? Sure, you get a lot from the serious stuff, but why do they give all us impressionable high school kids the idea that the stuff people used to write is all stuffy and serious?

"Candide" is funny. Our eponymous main character is pretty much an idiot, but a lucky one, and Voltaire throws him from one crappy circumstance to another, using pretty much every scene to skewer someone he doesn't like. It's fantastic. Also, very quick. The copy I picked up is thin, probably less than 200 pages, and more than half of that is commentary (which I didn't bother to read. I might before handing the book back in, but I don't feel it necessary to read the 'educational' bit to further my enjoyment of the book).

Even if this hadn't shown up in an English class, this totally should be included in reading lists for European history classes. Very fun.

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