Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Candide by Voltaire (4/5) [re-read]

The back says (I downloaded this from ManyBooks.net and they say): Widely considered to be one of the most significant works of the Western canon, Voltaire's novel tells the tale of its naive protagonist Candide, taught to believe in optimism. Candide undergoes a series of extraordinary hardships, parodying many adventure and romance cliches.

I say: It’s a little over a year ago I read Candide for the first time (review found here) and if it was up to me I’d have waited a while to return to it. But alas, uni once again dictated my reading and I had to dive back into the world of satire and folly.

Not that there’s much to complain about, really.

I didn’t laugh as much, or as hard, this time around since it was all pretty fresh in my mind (and also because I had to analyse it and was paying closer attention to detail). One thing that was better this time around is that I was more familiar with the people and events being satirised, and so those references were easier understood – which was a huge relief as it brought forth another and deeper dimension to the work. It also helped that I read up on my Voltaire history, but it’s not a requisite, really.

As always with my uni-reads I’m wracking my brain to find something non-analytical to say (since I doubt that anyone is really that interested in the German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz, whose work Voltaire was deriding, or what insight on existential conditions Voltaire wanted to give us).

It so much easier reviewing books I haven’t read or analysed before.

Having said all that, I still think that this is an excellent piece of literary work and I would urge everyone to read it. Even if you don’t want to go too deep into the entire thing, it’s still funny, absurd and just a pleasant short detour from everyday life.


No comments:

Post a Comment