Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Banning Candide

I don't know if Candide has ever been banned in Britain but apparently in 1930 the United States customs seized a consignment of copies bound for Harvard. In 1944 it was the United States Post Office that insisted that this obscene book be omitted from a catalogue.

Candide was probably written in 1758, when Voltaire was over 60 years old. The book was published anonymously the following year. In 1759 it was banned by the Roman Catholic authorities in Paris and burned under the authority of the Calvinist Great Council in Geneva. Three years later it was placed on the Index of the Roman Catholic church. Both Catholic and Protestant authorities were concerned with the book's anti-religious views.

So are we reading a classic, an anti-religious tract or a dirty book?

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