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Invitation to World Literature

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Candide (30:00)

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This video introduces a question: is everything that happens, good or bad, part of a larger cosmic plan that justifies it? Or is life a game of chance, with no greater good or larger aim? Follow Candide through all of his hellish but hilarious adventures and see what conclusions people who love this book have come to.

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Speakers in the video

Kristin Chenoweth
Kristin Chenoweth
Actress
A Tony-winning actress and singer, Ms. Chenoweth has appeared on television, stage, and film. She sang the role of Cunégonde in the Candide in Concert program televised on PBS' Great Performances.
Catherine Cusset
Catherine Cusset
Novelist
Dr. Cusset is an eighteenth-century French literature scholar. She taught at Yale University from 1991-2002. Since leaving academia, she has become a successful novelist in her native France; her books include En Toute Innocence, La Haine de la Famille and most recently, Un Brillant Avenir, which won the prestigious Prix de Goncourt in literature.
David Damrosch
David Damrosch
Professor of Comparative Literature, Harvard University
Dr. Damrosch is professor of comparative literature at Harvard University and the author of several books, including What Is World Literature?
Madeleine Dobie
Madeleine Dobie
Professor of French and Comparative Literature, Columbia University
Dr. Dobie is associate professor of French literature at Columbia University. Her teaching and research areas include French colonialism and orientalism, francophone literature of the Maghreb and Caribbean, Islam and/in Europe, and eighteenth-century French literature and culture. She has written about Candide in relation to colonization and slavery.
Paul LeClerc
Paul LeClerc
President, New York Public Library and Voltaire Scholar
Dr. LeClerc is president of the New York Public Library and a French literature scholar specializing in the work of Voltaire. LeClerc also serves as director of the National Book Foundation and the Maison Française at Columbia University.
Harold Ramis
Harold Ramis
Actor, Producer, and Writer
Mr. Ramis is an actor, director, and writer whose movie credits include Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, and Analyze This. Ramis was the original head writer of the television series SCTV (in which he also performed), and one of three screenwriters for National Lampoon's Animal House.
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Professor of Humanities, Columbia University
Dr. Spivak is an Indian literary critic, theorist, and self-described "practical Marxist-feminist-deconstructionist." She is best known for her article "Can the Subaltern Speak?" and her 1990 book The Post-Colonial Critic: Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues. She is university professor and a founding member of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University.
Aisha Tyler
Aisha Tyler
Actress
Ms. Tyler is best known for her role on the television program Friends. She is also a stand-up comedienne, writer, and television host. She attended Dartmouth College where she majored in French literature.
Chris Ware
Chris Ware
Cartoonist
Mr. Ware is a Chicago-based comic book artist and cartoonist, best-known for his Acme Novelty Library series and his graphic novel, Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker. Mr. Ware created a cartoon cover for the Penguin Classics 2005 edition of Candide.
Stanton Wood
Stanton Wood
Playwright, Candide Americana
Mr. Wood is a resident artist at the Offworld Theatre Company and the Urban Stages Rabbit Hole Ensemble, where he adapted Candide for the twenty-first century—Candide Americana. He also writes for film and television.