Voltaire’s Candide

Study Guide: Voltaire’s (1694-1778) Candide (1759) Voltaire’s Candide: After 1755 Lisbon earthquake, Voltaire wrote Candide (1758-9) as an attack on “philosophical optimism.” See Introduction in our textbook 1. What is “metaphysico-theologo-cosmolo-boobology” ? 2. Why is Candide evicted from the estate of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh? What do the early chapters tell you about the social, political and religious environment of 18th C. Europe? What are “quarterings”? 3. What viewpoints are represented by the major characters in the story? Besides Candide, Cunegonde and Pangloss, consider Martin, “the old woman” Pococurante and others who strike you as significant. What is the difference between Pangloss and Martin as philosophers? 4. Which parts of this story would be most disturbing to a European monarch? To Catholics? To Protestants? To Aristocrats? To Military leaders? 5. What is Voltaire attitude’s to religion? Cite specific passages that illustrate the behavior of religious figures and institutions. – pose this in class 6. What is the role of sex in the story? 7. How does Voltaire portray El Dorado (Ch. 17-18)? How does it differ from 18th C. Europe, and what are the religious beliefs of the people? Why does Candide decide to leave? 8. What is the significance of the “six kings” (Chap. 26) 9. By the end of the story, is there any source of hope? What message (if any) does Voltaire leave the reader with? 10. What are Voltaire’s views on the following: war, anti-Semitism, racism, organized religions, Jesuits, women, politics censorship, custom, tradition, classical studies, colonialism, slavery, monarchy, science, medicine… Topics for Secondary Sources Research Assignment: Find two secondary sources based on information given in each of the questions below. Provide an annotated bibliography of each source according the MLA style. Use the verbs guide when summarizing each source in the annotated bibliography. 1. What are the sources of evil and human misfortune in Voltaire’s Candide? Is reason an adequate instrument against evil? Is nature a force for good or evil? 2. Voltaire is a keen observer of human experience, with a sharp eye for the “follies of human history.” Which aspects of European history and institutions does he find particularly good targets for his weapons of irony, satire and indignation? What is it about his critique that qualifies it as “enlightened”? 3. Your annotated bibliography should include the following: a. Annotated entry of Candide (This is the only Primary Source in the bibliography) b. Two annotated entries as a result of your research on Question #2 above. i. List the annotated bibliography of each secondary source (two entries) ii. Prepare one paragraph to compare or contrast the two articles below the two entries. c. Two annotated entries as a result of your research on Question #3 above. i. List the annotated bibliography of each secondary source (two entries) ii. Prepare one paragraph to compare or contrast the two articles below the two entries.

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