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Candide, Or The Optimist

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Portrait of Candide
by Voltaire
A satirical novel first published in 1759.
Introduced to the folly and depravity of human society through worldly adventures, Candide retires with his friends to a small farm, concluding that it is best to cultivate one's own garden.

How Candide was brought up in a magnificent castle; and how he was driven from thence.  

In the country of Westphalia, in the castle of the most noble baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh, lived a youth, whom nature had endowed with a most sweet disposition. His face was the true index of his mind. He had a solid judgment joined to the most unaffected simplicity; and hence, I presume, he had his name of Candide. The old servants of the house suspected him to have been the son of the baron's sister by a mighty good sort of a gentleman of the neighbourhood, whom that young lady refused to marry, because he could produce no more than threescore and eleven quarterings in his arms, the rest of the genealogical tree belonging to the family having been lost through the injuries of time.  

The baron was one of the most powerful lords in Westphalia, for his castle had not only a gate, but even windows, and his great hall was hung with tapestry. He used to hunt with his mastiffs and spaniels instead of greyhounds; his groom served him for huntsman, and the parson of the parish officiated as his grand almoner. He was called “My Lord" by all his people, and he never told a story but every one laughed at it.  

My Lady Baroness weighed three hundred and fifty pounds, consequently was a person of no small consideration; and then she did the honours of the house with a dignity that commanded universal respect. Her daughter was about seventeen years of age, fresh-coloured, comely, plump, and amiable. The baron's son seemed to be a youth in every respect worthy of the father he sprung from. Pangloss, the preceptor, was the oracle of the family, and little Candide listened to his instructions with all the simplicity natural to his age and disposition.

PORTRAIT: Voltaire by Catherine Lusurier (1718).
CITATION INFORMATION (in MLA format): Voltaire. Candide, or The Optimist. Translated by Henry Morely. Gleeditions, 17 Apr. 2011, published in Voltaire's Candide or the Optimist and Rasselas Prince of Abyssinia, by Voltaire, 3rd ed., George Routledge and Sons, 1888, pp. 9-172.
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