an independent academic publisher since 1985

book details

Bookmark and Share


and Other Poetic and Philosophical Writings

Written by: Voltaire
Edited by: Eric Palmer

Series: Broadview Editions

Publication Date: July 30, 2009
256pp • Paperback / PDF / ePub
ISBN: 9781551117461 / 1551117460

Broadview's ebooks run on the industry-standard Adobe Digital Editions platform. Learn more about ebooks here. If you don't already have Adobe, we caution you that it may take some time to set up. Please note that most Broadview books are also available through other platforms—such as Google Play—that do not rely on the same software.

Buy Now

View Table of Contents

The philosophical problem of evil—that a supposedly good God could allow terrible human suffering—troubled the minds of eighteenth-century thinkers as it troubles us today. Voltaire’s classic novel Candide relates the misadventures of a young optimist who leaves his sheltered childhood to find his way in a cruel and irrational world. Fast-paced and full of dark humor, the novel mocks the suggestion that “all is well” and challenges us to create a better world.

This Broadview Edition follows the text of a 1759 English translation that was released concurrently with Voltaire's first French edition. Candide is supplemented by Voltaire's most important poetic and humanistic writings on God and evil, the Poem upon the Destruction of Lisbon and We Must Take Sides. The editor's introduction situates the novel in its philosophical and intellectual setting; the appendices include other writings by Voltaire, as well as related writings by Bayle, Leibniz, Pope, Rousseau, and others that place the work in its poetic, philosophical, and humanistic contexts.


"Eric Palmer's new edition brings us the 'authentic' English voice of Candide by presenting the text of one of the very earliest translations. In addition to useful footnotes and a bibliography, the volume contains a substantial introduction and extensive appendices that include translated extracts from a number of key philosophical and literary texts by Voltaire and others. This edition situates Candide firmly in the context of philosophy and the history of ideas, allowing the reader to engage fully with the debates it raised. This important new edition will interest students and scholars at all levels." - Nicholas Cronk, Professor of French Literature, University of Oxford and Director, Voltaire Foundation

Eric Palmer is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents: [Back to Top]



Voltaire: A Brief Chronology

A Note on the Text


Appendix A: Poetry

  1. Alexander Pope, from An Essay on Man
  2. Voltaire, Poem on the Destruction of Lisbon
  3. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Letter to Voltaire on Optimism, 18 August 1756

Appendix B: Philosophy

  1. Pierre Bayle, "Manicheans," "Pauliciens," "An Explanation of Skepticism"
  2. Voltaire, from Philosophical dictionary, "Of good and evil"
  3. Gottfried Leibniz, from Essays of Theodicy
  4. Voltaire, from Philosophical dictionary, "Theist"
  5. Abbé Noël Antoine Pluche, from Spectacle of Nature
  6. Voltaire, from Philosophical dictionary, "End, Final Causes"

Appendix C: Humanism

  1. Voltaire, We Must Take Sides
  2. James Boswell, On Voltaire

Select Bibliography

Academics teaching relevant courses may request examination copies of titles to consider for text adoption. We ask that you limit your examination copy requests to three or fewer at a time; if you are not confident that you will adopt the book, please help us keep costs down by ordering it instead. If in the future you do decide to assign as a course text a book you have previously ordered personally, Broadview Press will be happy to refund your money.


2009 • 256pp • Paperback • 9781551117461 / 1551117460

Instructors – Planning your syllabi? Consider this book for course use.

Request Exam Copy


Broadview Press acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund, and also acknowledges the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. Freehand Books, an imprint of Broadview, acknowledges the support of the Canadian Council of the Arts.