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Candide by Voltaire NOTES. Time Period Enlightenment—18 th century France and England Enlightenment—18 th century France and England A.k.a. the Age of.

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Presentation on theme: "Candide by Voltaire NOTES. Time Period Enlightenment—18 th century France and England Enlightenment—18 th century France and England A.k.a. the Age of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Candide by Voltaire NOTES

2 Time Period Enlightenment—18 th century France and England Enlightenment—18 th century France and England A.k.a. the Age of Reason A.k.a. the Age of Reason Climate of Inquiry Climate of Inquiry

3 Lessoning Control of the Church The Protestant Reformation The Protestant Reformation The Printing Press The Printing Press Scientific Developments Scientific Developments The New World (America!) The New World (America!)

4 Philosophies of the Time Rationalism: Rene Descartes (math)– humans, by reason alone, can discover universal truths Rationalism: Rene Descartes (math)– humans, by reason alone, can discover universal truths Rationalism: Sir Isaac Newton— mechanical science. All truth found in nature; rejection of supernatural religion. Emphasis placed on principles of deduction (1687) Rationalism: Sir Isaac Newton— mechanical science. All truth found in nature; rejection of supernatural religion. Emphasis placed on principles of deduction (1687)

5 Philosophy cont. Deism—the clockmaker God: God made the world, then he let it alone; no divine intervention Deism—the clockmaker God: God made the world, then he let it alone; no divine intervention Optimism Optimism 1) Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz—German mathematician and scientist. Founder of the philosophy of optimism. 1) Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz—German mathematician and scientist. Founder of the philosophy of optimism.

6 Leibnitz cont.—world is organized according to a pre-established harmony. There is a reason for everything that happens. Followed two main assumptions: 1) God is perfect; therefore Leibnitz cont.—world is organized according to a pre-established harmony. There is a reason for everything that happens. Followed two main assumptions: 1) God is perfect; therefore 2) Of all the worlds God could have created, he must have made this one perfect, the best. 2) Of all the worlds God could have created, he must have made this one perfect, the best. Leibnitz believed evil had a beneficial value. Leibnitz believed evil had a beneficial value.

7 2) Alexander Pope ( ) English poet—wrote heavily about belief of optimism English poet—wrote heavily about belief of optimism Voltaire knew Pope in England (during V’s exile) and admired him until V. decided that optimism was a bunch of hooey Voltaire knew Pope in England (during V’s exile) and admired him until V. decided that optimism was a bunch of hooey “A little learning is a dangerous thing” “A little learning is a dangerous thing” “Whatever is, is right” “Whatever is, is right”

8 3) Jean Jacques Rousseau ( ) Humanity is naturally good but is corrupted by the environment, education, and government Humanity is naturally good but is corrupted by the environment, education, and government Since society brings out aggression and egotism, it is better for man to be a “noble savage” Since society brings out aggression and egotism, it is better for man to be a “noble savage” Rousseau sides with Pope and Leibnitz Rousseau sides with Pope and Leibnitz

9 Voltaire ( ) French philosopher and rational skeptic French philosopher and rational skeptic Believed in writing the truth Believed in writing the truth He championed knowledge against ignorance, reason against superstition, skepticism against theology He championed knowledge against ignorance, reason against superstition, skepticism against theology Twice imprisoned in the Bastille b/c of his writing and his big mouth Twice imprisoned in the Bastille b/c of his writing and his big mouth Twice exiled Twice exiled Nearly everything he published was banned, burned or suppressed Nearly everything he published was banned, burned or suppressed

10 Voltaire cont. His famous cry was “Crush the infamous thing (superstition)!” His famous cry was “Crush the infamous thing (superstition)!” He constantly fought against the system that tortured and plundered in the name of religion He constantly fought against the system that tortured and plundered in the name of religion “Men…enriched by your sweat and misery…made you superstitious, not that you might fear God, but that you might fear them.” “Men…enriched by your sweat and misery…made you superstitious, not that you might fear God, but that you might fear them.” He was NOT an atheist He was NOT an atheist

11 Voltaire cont. Considered “the fountainhead of the Enlightenment and the intellectual spearhead of the French Revolution” Considered “the fountainhead of the Enlightenment and the intellectual spearhead of the French Revolution” A conservative in all but religion A conservative in all but religion Believed in a God who was a creator and punisher of evil, but he attacked any religion he felt to be guilty of superstition, intolerance, or persecution Believed in a God who was a creator and punisher of evil, but he attacked any religion he felt to be guilty of superstition, intolerance, or persecution His town—Ferney (teacher will comment on) His town—Ferney (teacher will comment on)

12 Quotes by and about Voltaire Voltaire: “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.” Voltaire: “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.” Victor Hugo: “He was an age. To name Voltaire is to characterize the entire eighteenth century.” Victor Hugo: “He was an age. To name Voltaire is to characterize the entire eighteenth century.” Will Durant: “Italy had a Renaissance, Germany had a Reformation, but France had Voltaire.” Will Durant: “Italy had a Renaissance, Germany had a Reformation, but France had Voltaire.”

13 Influences on Candide Leibnitz, Pope, and Rousseau :Optimism Leibnitz, Pope, and Rousseau :Optimism The Seven Years War: between France and Prussia—very bloody war The Seven Years War: between France and Prussia—very bloody war The Lisbon earthquake: Voltaire wrote Candide as a direct response to this event in 1755; the quake, a tidal wave, and a resulting fire left 30,000-40,000 dead. The Lisbon earthquake: Voltaire wrote Candide as a direct response to this event in 1755; the quake, a tidal wave, and a resulting fire left 30,000-40,000 dead.

14 Influences cont. Followers of optimism explained horrors away with the idea that it was all for the best: the living would inherit from the dead; the city would be rebuilt, providing jobs. If it had not happened there, another place would have suffered. Followers of optimism explained horrors away with the idea that it was all for the best: the living would inherit from the dead; the city would be rebuilt, providing jobs. If it had not happened there, another place would have suffered. Voltaire did not accept this. He wrote Candide to illustrate what he perceived as the stupidity of this type of optimism. He wrote the whole novel in three days at the age of sixty-five. Voltaire did not accept this. He wrote Candide to illustrate what he perceived as the stupidity of this type of optimism. He wrote the whole novel in three days at the age of sixty-five.

15 Technique in Candide Voltaire intends for Candide to be a satirical parody. He makes it a parody on the popular adventure novel, and he attacks nearly everything and everybody. It deals with the problem of evil, both natural and man-made. Voltaire intends for Candide to be a satirical parody. He makes it a parody on the popular adventure novel, and he attacks nearly everything and everybody. It deals with the problem of evil, both natural and man-made. The satire is used to mock Rousseau and those that abuse power. The satire is used to mock Rousseau and those that abuse power. See the Reader’s Guide for more on technique. See the Reader’s Guide for more on technique.

16 CANDIDE (CH 1, 2, 17, 18, 19, 30, and supplements) Background Candide is subtitled “Optimism” and tells a tale of the woes that befall a naïve simpleton who is brought up to believe that this world is the best of all possible worlds. The point of Voltaire’s story is to show how Candide’s optimism is foolish in a world in which people’s lives are shaped for the most part by cruel and incomprehensible forces. Candide is subtitled “Optimism” and tells a tale of the woes that befall a naïve simpleton who is brought up to believe that this world is the best of all possible worlds. The point of Voltaire’s story is to show how Candide’s optimism is foolish in a world in which people’s lives are shaped for the most part by cruel and incomprehensible forces.

17 The plot of Candide takes the form of a quest: the young man’s quest for union with his beloved, Cunegonde. They go through a series of separations and reunions, as Cunegonde is taken as booty by the Bulgarians, held prisoner by the Grand Inquisitor, and forcibly kept as a mistress by the Governor of Buenos Aires—in this, the best of all possible worlds. What happens to Candide himself is no better, but the two lovers somehow survive. The tale is told with great verve and hilarity, and, like all quests of this kind, the journey involves much suffering but ends in wisdom. The plot of Candide takes the form of a quest: the young man’s quest for union with his beloved, Cunegonde. They go through a series of separations and reunions, as Cunegonde is taken as booty by the Bulgarians, held prisoner by the Grand Inquisitor, and forcibly kept as a mistress by the Governor of Buenos Aires—in this, the best of all possible worlds. What happens to Candide himself is no better, but the two lovers somehow survive. The tale is told with great verve and hilarity, and, like all quests of this kind, the journey involves much suffering but ends in wisdom.

18 Voltaire makes fun of both the adventure novels and the pastoral romance novels of his time: shipwrecks, kidnappings by rival suitors, unexpected reunions between long-lost characters, love-sick heroes, far-off (and made-up) settings. This entire book is a parody (mimics another style for the purpose of ridiculing it. Ex: Weird Al Yancovic’s parodies on famous songs). Voltaire makes fun of both the adventure novels and the pastoral romance novels of his time: shipwrecks, kidnappings by rival suitors, unexpected reunions between long-lost characters, love-sick heroes, far-off (and made-up) settings. This entire book is a parody (mimics another style for the purpose of ridiculing it. Ex: Weird Al Yancovic’s parodies on famous songs).

19 Literary Focus Satire is writing that ridicules human weakness, vice, or folly in order to bring about social reform. An expert satirist like Voltaire uses a variety of tools to expose his subject to ridicule—from witty barbs to heavy bludgeons that flatten his opponent’s sacred cows. As Voltaire exposes one absurdity after another, readers become convinced that they would be fools not to agree with his point of view. Satire is writing that ridicules human weakness, vice, or folly in order to bring about social reform. An expert satirist like Voltaire uses a variety of tools to expose his subject to ridicule—from witty barbs to heavy bludgeons that flatten his opponent’s sacred cows. As Voltaire exposes one absurdity after another, readers become convinced that they would be fools not to agree with his point of view.


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