Sunday, June 10, 2007

Lunchtime read: Candide

The book comes to an end with plenty of lessons for those who are searching for a definition of optimism. It would not be too difficult to update this with a modern version with more humour and a slightly more detailed exploration into the human condition with its varied displays of greed and deceit.

I’ll make a few more comments on that in a review that will follow in a couple of days.

Highlights from chapters

* While Candide and his companion Martin sit in Venice and wait for news he has a meal with six former kings and is reunited with his servant from the Eldorado expedition who tells him that his love is in Constantinople

* Candide heads for the Turkish city with Martin and his servant, who he has paid out of slavery, but is worried that Cunegonde has become very ugly because of her labours washing dishes down by the sea

* On the slave ship they are being rowed across Constantinople in Candide is amazed to come across Pangloss and Cunegonde’s brother both of which he thought were dead but both were brought back to help by kind medical helpers

* Once Candide meets Cunegonde sure enough she is ugly and he wishes in a way he could escape marriage but he sticks to his word and has to send her brother packing back to the slave ship to stop his objections

* In the end the little groups of philosophers and friends of Candide settle on a farm and only become happy when they all share the work in the gardens – an ending that ends more on a socialism note than you might have expected

A review will follow soon…

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