Candide (1759) by Voltaire is a short, entertaining satire that attacks Leibniz’s view that we live in the best of all possible worlds. The word Panglossian comes from the book.

The rhythm of the book is relentless, each chapter has new and stranger incidents. But it’s still all fun and the book is impressively short. I kept wondering if I needed to read a Cliff’s Notes type book to find out who all the characters represented and what the situations and places were meant to  mean. The wikipedia entry on the book has quite a bit more.


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