François-Marie Arouet, also known as Voltaire 1694 - 1778
Voltaire, the pen name for François-Marie Arouet, was born in Paris on November 21, 1694. He was educated at the Jesuit College in Paris and wished to become a writer. His father, however, wanted him to study the law. After a scandal and a threat by his father to disinherit him, the young man acquiesced to his father's demands. Nonetheless, he continued in his writing. He used wit and satire in his oblique attacks on intolerance and fanaticism during the French Enlightenment. He spent a year in the Bastille in 1717, accused of penning two poems critical of the Regent of France. When his father died in 1722, Voltaire was able to control his own actions. His works continued to make him enemies, and he was exiled to England from 1726 to 1729. He spent several years in the 1750's at the court of Frederick the Great, during which time he wrote Candide. In his lifetime he produced some 80 volumes of writings. His influence on the thought of the 18th century lead some historians to refer to that century as the "Age of Voltaire."
The eighteenth century was a time of new ideas and perspectives. The European intellectual movement known as the Enlightenment changed the way man viewed his world. Reason, not spirituality or intuition, was the road to understanding the world in which he lived. Isaac Newton introduced the notion that the universe was governed by set and discoverable laws. This concept undermined the faith in a personal God. Tolerance of varying religious beliefs was advocated by philosophers such as Voltaire. Churches should not interfere with scientific research. In politics the authoritarian state as exemplified by such absolute monarchs as Louis IV of France came into disrepute. By the end of the 1700's, the idea of self-government had resulted in reform in England and revolution in France and America. Europe moved from an agrarian economy to an industrial one. At the close of this century, the world had changed dramatically as the advances in science, political democracy, and religious freedom swept away the last vestiges of the Middle Ages. Now, the belief that human history was a record of general progress and that the condition of mankind would only get better with each succeeding generation fostered a halo of optimism.
The plot of Candide is complex and ever changing. Candide, the illegitimate nephew of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh, learns from the tutor Pangloss that this world is "the best of all possible worlds." Soon afterward, he is expelled from the baron's home because of his love for the baron's daughter, Cunégonde. Through war, earthquakes, heartbreak, and the Spanish Inquisition, Candide continues to pursue true love and happiness.
THEMES TO CONSIDER: Comic invention; loyalty; utopia; satire; war as play; treatment of garden; evil; religion; optimism.
Librarian Talk . . .About Books!
Books offer helpful information about historical background, settings, and authors. Literary criticism may be compiled in a book which can be located in the LSCS Library Catalog. If you want criticism of the novel itself, try the search words, Candide and criticism.
Librarian Talk . . . About Finding Journal Articles!Electronic databases are purchased by the libraries for your research use. To find articles in newspapers and journals, letters, reference books, illustrations, photographs and more, use your updated library card to login to the databases. Contact the librarian if you need help getting an article.
Librarian Talk . . . About the Internet!
The internet can be a wonderful source of original documents. Browse the sites we have suggested below. Remember to find reputable sites. Look at:
|Librarian Talk about getting help!
Support for a successful paper is more than finding the right resources. Putting it all together takes time and effort. Sometimes it takes additional help from the librarians or tutors. Please consider the following resources if you need additional help. Remember, the expert on the assignment is your professor; use your LSC Online in-class email to contact her.
Citing Sources Using the Library MLA Style Guide | Examples of both paper and electronic citations.
Avoiding Plagiarism | LSC-Kingwood Guide
University of Texas Copyright Crash Course | This helpful guide on copyright is suggested by Lone Star College-Kingwood Teaching and Learning Center.
The Learning Center | Check the TLC hours for in-house tutoring.
Page by Claire Gunnels and Bettye Sutton, Librarians, 1999; Revised 8/2012 JNC