Candide: Or Optimism (Paperback)
In this new translation of Voltaire's "Candide, "distinguished translator Burton Raffel captures the French novel's irreverent spirit and offers a vivid, contemporary version of the 250-year-old text. Raffel casts the novel in an English idiom that--had Voltaire been a twenty-first-century American--he might himself have employed. The translation is immediate and unencumbered, and for the first time makes Voltaire the "satirist a "wicked pleasure for English-speaking readers.
"Candide" recounts the fantastically improbable travels, adventures, and misfortunes of the young Candide, his beloved Cunegonde, and his devoutly optimistic tutor, Pangloss. Endowed at the start with good fortune and every prospect for happiness and success, the characters nevertheless encounter every conceivable misfortune. Voltaire's philosophical tale, in part an ironic attack on the optimistic thinking of such figures as G. W. Leibniz and Alexander Pope, has proved enormously influential over the years. In a general introduction to this volume, historian Johnson Kent Wright places "Candide in "the contexts of Voltaire's life and work and the Age of Enlightenment.
About the Author
Voltaire (Francois-Marie Arouet) (1694--1778) was one of the key thinkers of the European Enlightenment. Of his many works, "Candide" remains the most popular.
Peter Constantine was awarded the 1998 PEN Translation Award for "Six Early Stories "by Thomas Mann and the 1999 National Translation Award for "The Undiscovered Chekhov: Forty-three New Stories." Widely acclaimed for his recent translation of the complete works of Isaac Babel, he also translated Gogol's "Taras Bulba" and Tolstoy's "The Cossacks "for the Modern Library. His translations of fiction and poetry have appeared in many publications, including "The New Yorker, Harper's," and "Paris Review. "He lives in New York City.
Burton Raffel is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southwestern Louisiana and author of many books, including Artists All (Penn State, 1991) and The Art of Translating Poetry (Penn State, 1988). He is the translator of Rabelais's Gargantua and Pantagruel (1990), winner of the 1991 French-American Foundation Translation Prize; Balzac's Pere Goriot (1994), and a forthcoming new version of Cervantes's Don Quijote.