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April 2021

Voltaire: Candide

800px-Voltaire_-_Candide_-_Dambrun_-_MoreauCandide (French: Candide, ou l'optimisme) is a 1759 satirical novella by Voltaire. It's eponymous hero is a young man who lives a sheltered existence on his uncle's estate under the tutelage of Doctor Pangloss, a philosopher who subscribes to Leibniz's dictum that 'all is for the best, in the best of all possible worlds.'

When Candide is forced out into the wider world, he is confronted with a series of episodes which illustrate the bankruptcy of this optimistic worldview, most famously the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.

Candide at online book stores
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Free online texts
English translations
Gutenberg: Candide, EPUB, HTML, MOBI and TXT formats.
Internet Archive: Candide, or All for the Best, translated by Walter Jerrold (1898). EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.
Standard Ebooks: Candide. AZW3, EPUB, KEPUB and Advanced EPUB formats.
University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): Candide, translated by William F. Fleming. EPUB, MOBI and HTML formats.
Wikisource: Candide, translated by Tobias Smollett. HTML and other formats.
French texts
Gutenberg: Candide, ou, l'optimisme. EPUB, HTML, MOBI and TXT formats.
Wikisource: Candide, multiple editions. HTML and other formats.

Other Resources
BBC Radio 4 In Our Time: Voltaire's Candide. Melvyn Bragg with David Wootton, Nicholas Cronk, Caroline Warman.
Librivox: Candide (multiple versions). Free public domain audiobooks.
Wikipedia: Voltaire - Candide

Further reading
Bloom's Western Canon: Candide is listed.
Leibniz: The Monadology and The Theodicy.
Swift: Gulliver's Travels - a satirical influence whose author Voltaire had met.
Voltaire: Philosophical Letters - discusses the execution of Admiral Byng, an event later worked into the plot of Candide.
French Language resources 


Voltaire: Philosophical Letters on the English

D'après_Maurice_Quentin_de_La_Tour _Portrait_de_Voltaire_(c._1737 _musée_Antoine_Lécuyer)The Philosophical Letters or Letters on the English (French: Lettres philosophiques) is a 1733 work by Voltaire, revised  in 1778, composed as a series of letters reflecting on his sojourn in England from 1726 to 1728.

Voltaire's thoughts on English literature include a number of leading writers of the day who he met while in London, such as Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift. His account of English political and religious institutions, Newtonian science, and the empiricism of Bacon and Locke, quickly became a formative influence on continental liberalism.

Letters on England at online book stores
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Free online texts
English translations
Gutenberg: Letters on England. EPUB, HTML, MOBI and TXT formats.
Internet Archive: French and English Philosophers, Descartes, Voltaire, Rousseau, Hobbes (includes Letters on England). Harvard Classics Vol. 34. EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.
Internet History Sourcebooks: Letters on the English or Lettres Philosophiques. HTML format.
Liberty Fund: The Works of Voltaire, Vol. XIX (Philosophical Letters). EPUB, HTML, MOBI and PDF formats.
Wikisource: Letters Concerning the English Nation. English translation. HTML and other formats.
French texts
Wikisource: Lettres Philosophiques. HTML and other formats.

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Montesquieu: The Persian Letters

Persianische_BriefeThe Persian Letters (French: Lettres persanes) is a 1721 epistolary novel by Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesqueieu.

The work contains the correspondence of Usbek and Rica two fictional Turkish travellers on a visit to Europe from 1711 onwards, a form which provides a vehicle for much satire of contemporary Western society. The travellers' penetrating observations on the people they encounter contrast with Usbek's disastrous relations with his own harem, to provide a sombre commentary on the difficulty of achieving self-knowledge.

The Persian Letters at online book stores
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Free online texts

English translations
Internet Archive: Persian Letters, Vol I | Vol II. Translated by John Davidson.EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.
Wikisource: Persian Letters, translated by by John Davidson (1899). HTML and other formats.
French texts
Gutenberg: Lettres Persanes - Tome I | Tome II. EPUB, MOBI, HTML and TXT formats.
Wikisource: Lettres Persanes. HTML and other formats.

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Montesquieu: The Spirit of the Laws

Charles_MontesquieuThe Spirit of the Laws (French: De l'esprit des lois) is a 1748 political treatise by Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu. Setting out to explain the principles underlying the laws of different nations, Montesquieu was innovative in the breadth of his comparative approach, and in considering natural factors such as climate. This nevertheless sometimes led him to pernicious conclusions, such as his belief that slavery, though wrong, was more tolerable in tropical regions.

Montesquieu's political recommendations were strongly influenced by his experiences in England, although it has often been insisted that he misunderstood English arrangements - generations of British schoolchildren have been taught that he missed the role of the Lord Chancellor as a member of the executive, legislature and judiciary. Nevertheless, his doctrine of the separation of powers was a decisive influence on the constitution of the United States.

The Spirit of the Laws at online book stores
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Free online texts
English texts
Internet Archive: Montesquieu - The Spirit of the Laws, Rousseau - On the Origin of Inequality, On Political Economy, The Social Contract. Britannica Great Books of the Western World edition. EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.
Liberty Fund: The Spirit of the Laws. EPUB, HTML, MOBI and PDF formats.
Wikisource: The Spirit of the Laws, translated by Thomas Nugent (1758). HTML and other formats.
French texts
Gutenberg: Esprit des Lois. EPUB, HTML, MOBI and TXT formats.
Wikisource: De L'Esprit des Lois. Multiple editions. HTML and other formats.

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