Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Author
ConnieAnnKirk
Posts: 5,472
Registered: ‎06-14-2007
0 Kudos

Satire and CANDIDE

CANDIDE is often described as "one of the finest satires ever written."  How does the novel succeed or fail as a satire, in your view?  What is Voltaire's subject?  Does the satire remain fresh, relevant to today?
 
~ConnieK
~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
New User
grayelf
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎03-01-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Satire and CANDIDE

I think this can be better answered after finishing the satire.
Author
ConnieAnnKirk
Posts: 5,472
Registered: ‎06-14-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Satire and CANDIDE

Hi, grayelf--that's why this thread is "below the line" on our book clubs page.  For discussion of chapters, see threads "above the line."  If it's confusing, let me know!
 
~ConnieK

grayelf wrote:
I think this can be better answered after finishing the satire.



~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
New User
grayelf
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎03-01-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Satire and CANDIDE

Sorry, I didn't know what that line signified.
Author
ConnieAnnKirk
Posts: 5,472
Registered: ‎06-14-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Satire and CANDIDE

Hi, grayelf--No problem!  You'll find it in "Greetings & Guidelines from your Moderator!"
 
~ConnieK

grayelf wrote:
Sorry, I didn't know what that line signified.



~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
Frequent Contributor
historybuff234
Posts: 536
Registered: ‎02-08-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Satire and CANDIDE



ConnieK wrote:
CANDIDE is often described as "one of the finest satires ever written."  How does the novel succeed or fail as a satire, in your view?  What is Voltaire's subject?  Does the satire remain fresh, relevant to today?
 
~ConnieK


 

I have to admit I haven't read many satires. I think that the novel succeeds in ridiculing the notions that Voltaire opposed. I found it funny how in the book the characters survive such horrible injuries and still be alive in the end of the book. In that sense Voltaire and roadrunner cartoons have quite a bit in common!:smileyvery-happy:

The important thing, is to keep the important thing the important thing.
-Albert Einstein
Author
ConnieAnnKirk
Posts: 5,472
Registered: ‎06-14-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Satire and CANDIDE

Would anyone in the group like to summarize how s/he sees Voltaire satirizing religion, government, or other subjects in the novel?
 
~ConnieK
~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
Author
ConnieAnnKirk
Posts: 5,472
Registered: ‎06-14-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Satire and CANDIDE

I like your comparison to Roadrunner, historybuff!  We see lots of satire on television these days, so that might be more familiar:  Saturday Night Live; The Daily Show, Colbert Report, etc.  Cartoons in the newspaper, too.
 
~ConnieK
 


historybuff234 wrote:

I have to admit I haven't read many satires. I think that the novel succeeds in ridiculing the notions that Voltaire opposed. I found it funny how in the book the characters survive such horrible injuries and still be alive in the end of the book. In that sense Voltaire and roadrunner cartoons have quite a bit in common!:smileyvery-happy:



~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Satire and CANDIDE

[ Edited ]
"In Voltaire's fingers, as Anatole France has said, the pen runs and laughs."

From Philip Littell's "Introduction".

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19942/19942-h/19942-h.htm

Finished Chapter 10 this morning. The satire gets easier to read and appreciate the older I become -- credos to my son for enjoying it at a much younger age!

I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 4 and, actually, the entire book.

http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=Ecclesiastes+4

Postscript -- just noted, in the introduction to my Penguin edition: Voltaire was 64 years old when he wrote Candide in 1758.

Message Edited by Peppermill on 03-13-2008 08:48 AM
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Author
ConnieAnnKirk
Posts: 5,472
Registered: ‎06-14-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Satire and CANDIDE

Pepper--
 
Do you think there is an advantage to a satirist being a bit older?  ; )  While the young seem to find it fairly easy to lampoon "the establishment," your note here makes me wonder if it's those who've lived longer who actually have the needed perspective to write good satire.  What do you think?
 
 ~ConnieK
 


Peppermill wrote, in part:

Postscript -- just noted, in the introduction to my Penguin edition: Voltaire was 64 years old when he wrote Candide in 1758.

~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Satire and CANDIDE

Bah, humbug.  Signed into Explorer (my alternative browser) to try the new text editor.  Just lost a post I had been working on for some minutes, so my impression has been biased, although I still think I would like it -- maybe.
 
Anyway, I hope others will respond to your question about age and satirists.  Certainly the young may be iconoclasts -- they may have less vested interest in the status quo than their elders.  Was the humor in Mad heavily satirical?  That is what I recall, and that it had young contributors, but I didn't read enough to know.  Satire has never been a favorite genre for me -- I tend to view it as cynicism rather than as humor.  But, I have always enjoyed Punch, with its inimitable British satire.
 
Who are the great satirists?  How old were they at the peak of their powers?  Are some female writers becoming particularly adept at satire?  (I interpreted parts of Poppy Adams' The Sister, the debut novel we have been reading for First Look, as wickedly satirical.)
 
Some say to understand Voltaire's Candide, one needs to read his life.  Certainly, age can provide perspectives not available to the young. :smileyvery-happy:

ConnieK wrote:
Pepper--
 
Do you think there is an advantage to a satirist being a bit older?  ; )  While the young seem to find it fairly easy to lampoon "the establishment," your note here makes me wonder if it's those who've lived longer who actually have the needed perspective to write good satire.  What do you think?
 
 ~ConnieK

Peppermill wrote, in part:

Postscript -- just noted, in the introduction to my Penguin edition: Voltaire was 64 years old when he wrote Candide in 1758.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Author
ConnieAnnKirk
Posts: 5,472
Registered: ‎06-14-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Satire and CANDIDE

[ Edited ]
Pepper's point about the difference between satire and sarcasm is interesting.  Does anyone have any other thoughts on the differences or similarities between the two?   Are the goals of satire and sarcasm, for instance, the same? 
 
There seems to be more effort and intelligence behind satire.  Is there an element, perhaps, of a desire for reform present in satire that does not exist in sarcasm? 
 
~ConnieK


Message Edited by ConnieK on 03-15-2008 11:24 AM
~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Satire and CANDIDE

[ Edited ]
I think the goals of satire and sarcasm are quite different. It is sometimes said in the UK that Americans do not understand satire and misinterpret it as sarcasm.  Satire forms a large part of a British comedian's stock in trade and has been present in a lot of our literature for centuries.  There is a 'tongue in cheek' quality to satire, a desire to moralise etc., which is not found in the use of sarcasm which inclines towards cruelty, not instruction.  One of the definitions of sarcasm is the 'intention to wound' but this is not generally true of satire which seeks to 'expose folly by wit'.  In Candide Voltaire invites us to laugh at folly and it is largely a work of humour.  And in laughing at the folly exposed we are often laughing at ourselves.  Sarcasm rarely makes us laugh wholeheartedly because it also hurts.
 
Tied up with British satire is the tendency towards deprecation of achievement, a teasing way of taking a person down a peg or two rather than building them up which, I think, is more the American way.  Compliments are rare in British society - you are much more likely to be teased about, say, your appearance,  than to be complimented upon it.  A typical male comment to a girl dressed up to go out might be 'You look like a dog's dinner!' or 'Have you won the pools?'   This use of irony - saying something quite the opposite to what you mean - is well understood by British people whereas other nationalities may feel insulted.  The British are very wary of compliments and euphemistic speech (over-praising, exaggerating, 'bigging up') in general.  Voltaire made great use of euphemism in Candide, in the absurd descriptions of war and the Inquisition for instance. Voltaire is still  appreciated and Candide is  a play frequently performed in good theatres.  Perhaps this Anglo-French appreciation of satire is part of our Norman inheritance?
 
To answer Pepper's question I think that Jonathan Swift is the greatest British satirist.  The irony in Gulliver's Travels is so cleverly subtle that it is more often read as a fantasy than as trenchant criticism of British politics.  Amongst women, look no further than Jane Austen whose gentle irony pervades all her novels, especially Northanger Abbey and Emma Read in the right vein, and putting romance aside, her satire upon the manners of her day is second to none.  Even the famous first line of Pride and Prejudice - 'It is a truth universally acknowledged.....' is an ironic quip about the assumptions of women like Mrs Bennett.
 
 

ConnieK wrote:
Pepper's point about the difference between satire and sarcasm is interesting.  Does anyone have any other thoughts on the differences or similarities between the two?   Are the goals of satire and sarcasm, for instance, the same? 
 
There seems to be more effort and intelligence behind satire.  Is there an element, perhaps, of a desire for reform present in satire that does not exist in sarcasm? 
 
~ConnieK




Message Edited by Choisya on 03-16-2008 02:00 PM
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Satire and CANDIDE


Choisya wrote:...To answer Pepper's question I think that Jonathan Swift is the greatest British satirist. The irony in Gulliver's Travels is so cleverly subtle that it is more often read as a fantasy than as trenchant criticism of British politics....


Choisya -- I have subsequently come across this:


"Historical background for Candide and Voltaire's work generally can be found in Peter Gay's Voltaire's Politics: The Poet as Realist."

"One of Voltaire's models for Candide was a work first published in 1726, while he was exiled in Britain, by his new friend, Jonathan Swift. At first titled Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, the work is known today as Gulliver's Travels. It is a satire of Europe in the 1720s told through the story of Gulliver's travels to many strange and wonderful lands."

http://www.bookrags.com/studyguide-candide/what.html
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Users Online
Currently online: 36 members 314 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: