What Do I Read Next?
In reaction to the controversy surrounding the Lisbon earthquake and who was at fault Voltaire penned "On the Lisbon Disaster" in 1756. The poem attempted to reconcile disaster with Leibnitzian optimism.
Historical background for Candide and Voltaire's work generally can be found in Peter Gay's Voltaire's Politics: The Poet as Realist.
One of Voltaire's models for Candide was a work first published in 1726, while he was exiled in Britain, by his new friend, Jonathan Swift. At first titled Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, the work is known today as Gulliver's Travels. It is a satire of Europe in the 1720s told through the story of Gulliver's travels to many strange and wonderful lands.
An English satire of clergymen by Laurence Sterne, entitled A Political Romance (and later titled The History of a Good Warm Watch-Coat) was published in 1759. Sterne, a clergyman himself, is also the author of the stories about Tristram Shandy.
A marked contrast to Voltaire can be found in the works and the person of Samuel Johnson. Johnson's The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia was published in 1759. It tells how the Prince gathered scientists and philosophers from near and far to discover for him the secrets of a happy life, only to realize he had wasted time he could have spent living.
The brilliant anti-utopian satire by George Orwell is Animal Farm. In this 1945 tale, revolutionary efforts are lampooned when the barn animals revolt against their human masters and establish a commune. The pigs, however, usurp power and impose a dictatorship.