For Thanksgiving I give you two jewels until next week.
Candide by Voltaire
French Literature's No 1 greatest Hit,"Candide", recently celebrated its 250th anniversary. The New York Public Library had an exhibition, now ended, but the web site is still up and very enjoyable. Voltaire, through allegory, tells all - reading his book he wanted the readers to be "world-wise" and "cautious" of: theologians & things done in the name of religion; politicians & governments; armies & generals who are not on the front lines; philosophies & philosophers - but mostly, he reminds us of the dangers of being overly optimistic or overly pessimistic about any situation.
A synopsis of Candide:
A young man, Candide, is living a sheltered life and being indoctrinated by his mentor, Pangloss, an incurable optimist. Young Candide leaves home and travels the world, with the abrupt loss of this sheltered lifestyle. Candide begins a slow, painful disillusionment as he witnesses and experiences the great hardships of our world and he tries to come to grips with mankind's oldest dilemma, contending with evil and deceit. Voltaire concludes with Candide advocating the precept, "we must cultivate our own garden" (remove the weeds before they take over, water, nurture and protect what we have planted, then reap what we have sowed) in lieu of Candide's original view of the world: to simply expect "the best of all possible worlds".
In the video below you will hear that the first book Random House published was Candide and the beautiful line illustrations were by one of my favorite illustrators, Rockwell Kent. On the last page of the R.H. book is a drawing of a house. This small illustration then became the famous Random House logo.
Enjoy the NYPL website and video on Candide:
I DID NOT KNOW THAT
The New York area's most famous food is its PIZZA. The classic Margherita Pizza carries the banner as the classic N Y Slice. Some do not know that the Margherita pizza was invented over 100 years ago and usually has a thin crust, but always has RED tomato sauce, WHITE Mozzarella cheese and GREEN torn up fresh basil leaves which combine to represent the red, white and green Italian flag. This pizza was created for Italy's Queen Margherita and presented to her in honor of her visit to Naples in 1889 by a baker named Esposito. Naples is still the Italian city most associated with pizza. More on Napoli style pizza another day.
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