Sunday 16 January 2011

Voltaire Candide Complete Study Notes

During my teaching career, I put together many pages of notes on Candide by Voltaire. Now that I am retired I am putting them on the Internet so that fellow teachers and also students of French Literature can use them.

(Please click on one of the 18 numbered titles below  to access 
the topic of your choice)               


Right - In this old edition, Voltaire conceals his identity

2) The life and character of Voltaire (Pictured below)

3) Identifying the literary genre to which the book belongs.


The BBC Jonathan Swift webpage to which reference is
made can be reached with this link:
"Gulliver's Travels": How it Comments on Society

(Voltaire’s aim in the book was to attack Philosophical Optimism and there are four sections, 4-7 below, to cover this topic :)

4) Optimistic Philosophy in the eighteenth century              

5) Direct references to Philosophical Optimism in the book

6) Voltaire's hostility to Philosophical Optimism

7) Voltaire's evidence against Philosophical Optimism

Right a picture of one piece of evidence - The disastrous Lisbon earthquake

(If Voltaire is attacking optimism, we ask the question whether this makes for a gloomy, pessimistic book? Topics 8- 10 below are relevant to this question)

8) Is "Candide" a totally pessimistic book?

9) What is Candide's final philosophy of life?

10) Voltaire's literary style (This topic is relevant to the question of pessimism also because the style serves to dispel any gloomy tone)

(Finally we discuss the characters in topics 11- 18)                  

11) Are the characters merely puppets?

12) The Character of Candide

13) The character of Pangloss

14) The character of Cunegonde

Picture right - Cunegonde and Candide are caught behind the screen, after she had invited him to join in a biological experiment.

15) The character of the German Jesuit Baron

16) The character of the old woman

17) The character of Cacambo

18)The character of Martin


The Auto-da-fe at which Candide had a starring role, burnt over a slow fire as a heretic, at a religious service, in front of a huge congregation, which included Cunegonde.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thank you Mr. David school in the 70s I misbehaved through most of my french lessons and scraped through at CSE grade 2. Now that I have french grandchildren, from La Fontaine to George Brassens, I cannot get enough... merci beaucoups!