Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Born in 1759. Alive in 2010

Candide, he's a splendid character. And a character he is. That picture to the left is his creator, Voltaire, the French writer, poet, philosopher of the 18th century. Candide moves through his life of abandonment, treachery and brutality with a sense of wonder and optimism. He's searching for his one and only love Cunegonde as wars ravish Europe and pirates roam the high seas. As he suffers, he keeps repeating the mantra his teacher Pangloss professed "all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds."

Recommending a classic does not come easy to me, but Candide has it all: adventure, romance and great sardonic wit.

After reading the many reviews of the current Goodman Theater production, I approached Candide from various fronts. Printed book, audiobook, and Leonard Bernstein's music from the Broadway production. A multi-media event with items found at the library. Delightful and accessible. I invite you to find Candide the next time you are in the mood for something new (old) to read.

PS - Speaking of the classics, Barbara Brotman of the Chicago Tribune recently wrote an article providing tips to enjoy a Chicago Symphony Concert titled "Advice on etiquette at the orchestra." Turns out the atmospheric gallery seats are the best for the acoustics.


Fiona Dinwiddie said...

A big of synchronicity here. Banned Books week just passed and Candide was on the list. The book was banned in France when it was first published and again in the USA in the 1930s and 1940s. Apparently there's nothing like social satire to enrage the censors!

Joel said...

Cathy, I read that same article in Monday's Tribune and it rekindled a desire to appreciate and learn about classical music. Reading classic authors through different eras is also on my to-do list. My initial target is Graham Greene but maybe I'll take your suggestion and add Voltaire. Thanks!

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