Logically the prose tales should have been discussed after the plays and the poems, but it is desirable to conclude this introduction with a discussion of them, since Candide is the best known philosophic tale, one that has been called "the most remarkable fruit of Voltaire's genius." The author, who believed that all literature should teach, used the tale as a vehicle for his profoundest views on politics, religion, and philosophy. Besides Candide, memorable among them are Zadig (1747), first published under the title of Memnon, in which the young hero, like Candide, travels far and wide, and experiences great dangers. The special interest of this tale is that Voltaire concluded it on a completely optimistic note. L'Homme aux quarante écus (1768) attacks certain political and social practices of eighteenth-century France. A few are out-and-out lampoons on the Bible.
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