Candide is a French satire first published in 1759.
The tale begins with young Candide, who lives a sheltered existence in a virtual Eden, full of optimism for the life ahead of him. But this his existence is abruptly cut short, when he suddenly experiences poverty. Candide concludes, “we must all plough our own garden,” for “everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.”
The tone is sarcastic indeed and the book pokes holes in many a cliché. Voltaire ridicules religion, theology, political constitutions, military and philosophy.
The book was both enthusiastically welcomed but caused also a major scandal.
Immediately upon being printed in secret, it was banned far and wide, for barely hidden beneath a thin veneer, it mocked God, enticed political turmoil and opposed accepted intellectual norms.