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One of Max Beerbohm's cartoons shows us the young Twentieth Century going at top speed, and watched by two of his predecessors. Underneath is this legend: "The Grave Misgivings of the Nineteenth Century, and the Wicked Amusement of the Eighteenth, in Watching the Progress (or whatever it is) of the Twentieth." This Eighteenth Century snuff-taking and malicious, is like Voltaire, who nevertheless must know, if he happens to think of it, that not yet in the Twentieth Century, not for all its speed mania, has any one come near to equalling the speed of a prose tale by Voltaire. "Candide" is a full book. It is filled with mockery, with inventiveness, with things as concrete as things to eat and coins, it has time for the neatest intellectual clickings, it is never hurried, and it moves with the most amazing rapidity. It has the rapidity of high spirits playing a game. The dry high spirits of this destroyer of optimism make most optimists look damp and depressed. Contemplation of the stupidity which deems happiness possible almost made Voltaire happy. His attack on optimism is one of the gayest books in the world. Gaiety has been scattered everywhere up and down its pages by Voltaire's lavish hand, by his thin fingers.
Many propagandist satirical books have been written with "Candide" in mind, but not too many. To-day, especially, when new faiths are changing the structure of the world, faiths which are still plastic enough to be deformed by every disciple, each disciple for himself, and which have not yet received the final deformation known as universal acceptance, to-day "Candide" is an inspiration to every narrative satirist who hates one of these new faiths, or hates every interpretation of it but his own. Either hatred will serve as a motive to satire.
That is why the present is one of the right moments to republish "Candide." I hope it will inspire younger men and women, the only ones who can be inspired, to have a try at Theodore, or Militarism; Jane, or Pacifism; at So-and-So, the Pragmatist or the Freudian. And I hope, too, that they will without trying hold their pens with an eighteenth century lightness, not inappropriate to a philosophic tale. In Voltaire's fingers, as Anatole France has said, the pen runs and laughs. PHILIP LITTELL.
I. How Candide was brought up in a Magnificent Castle, and how he was expelled thence 1
II. What became of Candide among the Bulgarians 5
III. How Candide made his escape from the Bulgarians, and what afterwards became of him 9
IV. How Candide found his old Master Pangloss, and what happened to them 13
V. Tempest, Shipwreck, Earthquake, and what became of Doctor Pangloss, Candide, and James the Anabaptist 18
VI. How the Portuguese made a Beautiful Auto-da-fe, to prevent any further Earthquakes: and how Candide was publicly whipped 23
VII. How the Old Woman took care of Candide, and how he found the Object he loved 26
VIII. The History of Cunegonde 30
IX. What became of Cunegonde, Candide, the Grand Inquisitor, and the Jew 35
X. In what distress Candide, Cunegonde, and the Old Woman arrived at Cadiz; and of their Embarkation 38
XI. History of the Old Woman 42