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Extended Audio Sample Candide and Zadig Audiobook, by Voltaire Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (727 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Voltaire Narrator: Clive Chafer Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2011 ISBN: 9781470803223
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These two classic coming-of-age stories by Voltaire parody the romanticism of his day with the ruthless wit that has made him the undisputed master of social commentary.

Candide, which is alternately titled Optimism, is a merciless satire and exposé of the ideas and institutions men live by. In this philosophical fantasy, the naïve Candide comes to witness and to suffer such misfortune that he rejects the philosophy of his tutor, Dr. Pangloss, who claims that “all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds.”

Zadig is the story of another optimist—young, rich, beautiful, and engaged to a woman he loves. When his early hopes and assets are destroyed, he embarks on a journey that will systematically explore science, religion, and the military, contributing to each, betrayed by all. Through these trials, he will eventually win the kingdom of Babylon.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This most popular of Voltaire’s works is a masterful satire on the follies and vices of men, particularly the belief embodied by Pangloss that ‘all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds.’ The author, through the outrageous misadventures of his hero, disproves this theory utterly, taking to task all of man’s most prized institutions: science, philosophy, religion, government, and romance.”

    Masterpieces of World Literature on Candide

  • “The wittiest and best-loved book of a genius who is still unequaled in his ability to spin art out of philosophy…Candide is considered one of the most important texts of the enlightenment.”

    Amazon.com Editorial Review

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ben | 2/18/2014

    " Just read Candide and Micromegas (Enlightenment sci-fi!). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rusty | 2/18/2014

    " Like reading a Saturday Night Live skit from the 18th Century--great satire of war, exile, and the horrible acts humans do to other humans. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 2/14/2014

    " Candide and Zadig were great. Didn't really make it through many of the other stories, as they were along very similar lines. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Levie Galapon | 2/13/2014

    " A very fast paced story that will keep you hooked. I actually wouldn't have read this book if it wasn't a class reading. But I actually enjoyed this read. Essentially its about a guy named Candide and he goes through a lot of insane trials and adventures to meet his lady love. Although this book is fairly dated by a couple of centuries I'm sure the story will be of interest to today's readers. This book is just a lot of fun while having philosophical undertones. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Madisyn | 2/13/2014

    " Well, once again I am back on the track of having to read books for school, so this was a book that I definitely didn't choose to read. Maybe thats why I gave this book 2 stars, but really, I just didn't think that book was all that great. Possibly because it is wayyyy out of my time, but to me I found it just rather dull. These types of stories are definitely not in my favorites. Candide is supposed to be humorous, but I didn't find anything funny haha so I'm really not the best person to be writing a review about this book, so I guess what I am trying to say is that, to read this book, look up information about this book and its history so you can understand what its about and then maybe you can find the humor that I did not. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 nathank | 2/7/2014

    " "A riot. A Simple, funny story that is just a great satire on so many things." "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Susie | 2/1/2014

    " I really dislike satires and this just further proved that to me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dave Sommer | 1/30/2014

    " It's a catfight with words. Is there anything better? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ladysw (Sara) | 1/17/2014

    " I liked reading it, but I do not entirely agree with the philosophy behind the story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amynona | 1/10/2014

    " Does anyone really love Candide? It was an academic pursuit but I did understand more about the world after reading it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christopher Pierce | 1/10/2014

    " Were it not for the title character's amusingly foolish and unfailing optimism, the events of the story would be far less amusing. A much-appreciated satire of optimism and the belief that ours is "the best of all possible worlds", Candide is not and should never be taken seriously; Candide's somewhat childish manner and dialog lends itself well to the childish outlook he maintains, and the situations in which he finds himself are well-described and conveniently centered around him at all times. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kirby Mason | 1/10/2014

    " No one ever thought philosophy could be funny. And then there was Voltaire! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jorge | 1/9/2014

    " Probably the oldest book I've read but it flows much better than other old books I've read. The Lisbon earthquake parts spooked me a bit since I was in Lisbon reading it on the anniversary of the earthquake. Didn't know that was in the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brett Van Valkenburg | 1/8/2014

    " interesting satire by one of the greatest minds of, um... one of those "teen" centuries. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeremy Sabol | 1/8/2014

    " Donald Frame's translation - not as great as his Montaigne, but conservatively nice. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sherri | 12/30/2013

    " Candide was very funny--can't believe I hadn't read this earlier. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Matt | 12/23/2013

    " Pretty good journey. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nick Walker | 12/22/2013

    " Wonderfully humorous. The treachery of optimism, exploited. I loved it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patrice | 12/18/2013

    " This book manages to be both lightly amusing and morbidly depressing at the same time. It is a bitter, witty commentary on 18th century society, literature, philosophy and politics. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 James | 12/10/2013

    " "Zadig" and "Plato's Dream" earn five stars, but sadly, the other stories included in this collection do not measure up, granted we do have "Candide," "The Jesuit Berthier," "The One-Eyed Porter," and Memory's Adventure," but the other stories are downright tedious and annoying to read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Haythem Bastawy | 10/3/2013

    " The story is not as interesting as I thought it would be, and the philosophy is quite naive. May be I'm judging it by today's standards, but hey I was not born yesterday. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joseph | 9/7/2013

    " This was a great collection. Voltaire is such an intelligent author, his humor and wit remarkable. Cudos! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cindy | 8/16/2013

    " VIOLENT. I'm afraid the point was lost on me. Perhaps a little more exposure to books of this time period will help. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alex | 8/7/2013

    " Voltaire is one of the greatest minds of all time. Most of his short stories are absolutely wonderful. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 7/23/2013

    " a great influence on my writing "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Briana | 6/13/2013

    " I realized that in the whirlwind that was the Honors Humanities Sequence, I didn't give a lot of books a fair chance. Let's see how I like them when I have more than a week to read them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea Delesdernier | 5/14/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book. It has been a few summers since I read it. A fast read and a classic satire with intelligent humor. I studied theatre and philosphy so these topics interest me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Natalie-aston | 4/9/2013

    " I don't think my french is quite up for reading this and I think I missed out on what was good about this book. Will reread when my french is better. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Noelle Chaban | 12/29/2012

    " The writing alone makes this classic worth sticking through. It's interesting to see a classic book teach a lesson so applicable to today. Charming and funny! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Dani | 11/28/2012

    " The worst book I have ever read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James Koppen | 10/24/2012

    " That is well said, but we must cultivate our garden. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vanessa | 9/8/2012

    " I was just exposing myself to classic literature and was surprised at how easy this was to read. Recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caps | 8/8/2012

    " Great book, changed my life! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eva | 7/10/2012

    " True, inspiring. Clairvoyant about globalization. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristy | 7/4/2012

    " I'm saving Candide for later, but I read Zadig and the 14 other stories in this lovely volume packed full of Voltaire at his satirical, philosophical, humorous, bureaucracy-hating, freedom-loving best. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shawn | 5/1/2012

    " How is it possible that this book has an average of 3.78 stars? It's one of the most classic books of Western literature. I guess there are a lot of blockheads out there. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Danielle B. | 4/13/2012

    " This was my sister Mary's book, a little piece of academic/family history! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jared | 4/7/2012

    " Interesting at times; I could see how it would have been riotously uncouth when it was written. Forced me to hit the footnotes (and then WikiP) alot to understand the context, which was cool. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephen Hren | 1/13/2012

    " Candide is one of the cornerstones of satire. Along with Swift and Rabelais, these guys have been keeping me chuckling pointing out the depths of human follies, so evident in our current times. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Siyuan | 11/24/2011

    " even though the philosophy is simpler than in Candide, for some reason I've always liked Zadig more, maybe because it had more of a conventional story and plot structure to hold it up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rena Willemin | 10/14/2011

    " Voltaire at his best. Funny, sometimes saddening short stories. Satire of religion, politics and social events of the late 18th century. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Trish | 4/24/2011

    " I really enjoyed this book.I listened to the audio verion and it was great. Candide is a guy everyone knows. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ahf | 4/16/2011

    " Satire that wore thin, but entertaining. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 4/14/2011

    " Voltaire was a great writer with a great mind. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jamila Jam | 3/22/2011

    " I already read this a long time ago but am coming back to it again..knowing that I have forgotten most of it I find some stories enchanting :)surreal & real at the same time..different stories but all linked by a strange bond called life..the pursuit of happiness is the way to the way.. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mohammed | 11/14/2010

    " A smart book where Voltaire made fun of anything and everything including philosophers, writers, kings, religious people, countries and even of the main characters themselves. The conclusion was nice. I enjoyed it efen though it was too classic for my taste. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andreas Larsen | 9/14/2010

    " Dejlig sarkasme "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Coy | 6/30/2010

    " Read many of the stories up to Memnon (p208). The rating mainly for Candide and Zadig. Those stories are timeless in their lessons and also quite funny. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 robert | 5/21/2010

    " a section in the middle of candide gets a bit boring, but voltaire quickly recovers. overall, hilarious and brilliant. if you want evidence that humanity has always been idiotic, voltaire provides it. (i only read candide.) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ben | 8/29/2009

    " Oh, Voltaire. Such wit, such sarcasm. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nina | 9/16/2008

    " One of my favorites! I love Candide! "

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About the Author
Author Voltaire

Voltaire (1694–1778), born François-Marie Arouet, was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher known for his wit, philosophical sport, and defense of civil liberties. He produced works in almost every literary form, including poetry, novels, essays, plays, historical and scientific works, and over two thousand books and pamphlets.

About the Narrator

Clive Chafer is a professional actor, director, producer, and theater instructor. Originally from England and educated at Leeds and Exeter universities, he has performed and directed at many theaters in the San Francisco area, where he makes his home, and elsewhere in the US. In 1993 he founded TheatreFIRST, Oakland’s professional theater company, where he served as artistic director until 2008.