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Candide, published simultaneously in five European capitals in 1759, became an instant bestseller and is now regarded as one of the key texts of the Enlightenment. Voltaire’s preoccupations with evil and with various kinds of human folly and intolerance found a perfect vehicle in the philosophical tale. A master storyteller, he combined often wildly entertaining action with profoundly serious sense, parodying the traditional chivalric and oriental tales with which his public was more familiar to create a witty allegory of a young man whose optimism gives way to disillusionment after a series of terrible misfortunes.
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