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New York Public Library Unveils Provocative Approach to Experiencing Voltaire's Candide
The site solicits the involvement of diverse communities of readers, including students, visual artists, and scholars.
NEW YORK, NY.- The New York Public Library is fashioning a new way to wrestle with Voltaire’s scandalous satirical novella at On the Road with Candide –NYPL’s latest digital exhibition – showcases pioneering digital content, using the on-site exhibition Candide at 250: Scandal and Success (on view at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Fifth Avenue and 42nd street, through April 25) as an embarkation point for a unique online journey. The site solicits the involvement of diverse communities of readers, including students, visual artists, and scholars. This unconventional presentation of Candide befits the book’s whimsical and rebellious reputation while aspiring to enthuse a whole new generation of readers.

Highlights of the site include:

· Rockwell Kent illustrations
This feature takes the viewer through the great American artist Rockwell Kent's illustrations for a 1928 edition of Candide, a landmark of the American illustrated book (the first book published under the Random House imprint). His nearly four-score inset illustrations and numerous illustrated capitals, all exquisitely integrated, serve as an unexpectedly elegant journey through Voltaire's nefarious world of "liars, cheats, traitors, ingrates, brigands, idiots, thieves, scoundrels, gluttons, drunkards, misers, envious, ambitious, bloody-minded, calumniators, debauchees, fanatics, hypocrites, and fools." Galleries of work by other notable artists will follow shortly.

· 2-Minute Candide
This playful two-minute animated digest of Candide using Rockwell Kent’s illustrations spotlight the characters’ trials and tribulations as they voyage half way around the world (and back).

· “Candide Journey” created in Google Earth
Through a partnership between NYPL’s Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division and Google Earth, 10th-grade students from Brooklyn’s Edward R. Murrow High School chart their favorite locales along Candide’s madcap journey, devising personal maps augmented by resources from the Library’s digital collections, or by uploading videos, images, or audio of their own creation or uploaded from the Internet. For example, students may employ the work of illustrators featured on the site, or prized historical maps and prints from the vast collection of images in the NYPL Digital Gallery. Student Anna Sherman, 15, remarks “I’ve never used technology like this…this is the direction in which education is heading. This is a new way to learn.”

· Do-It-Yourself Candide
This feature solicits any reader’s modern-day riffs – drawings, photographs, videos, poetic reimaginings, and textual commentaries – for inclusion on the site. Any and all brainy, cheeky, quirky, and witty interpretations are now being accepted and will be posted as they arrive.

For as long as Candide has existed in the world innumerable readers have commandeered the tale for their own artistic and scholarly exploits. Now, The New York Public Library advances the tradition by handing over the reins on this classic via Web 2.0, the best of all possible worlds indeed. Visit to partake in transforming this 18th century swashbuckling saga into a 21st century experience! And follow @newyorkpubliclibrary on Twitter to receive special Quotable Candide updates.

The New York Public Library | Voltaire | Candide |

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