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Candide at 250: Scandal and Success, which opened at the New York Public Library last October and runs until April 25, 2010, traces how readers have transformed Candide over two and a half centuries through its many translations, commentaries, and adaptations in art, theater, music, and other media. The exhibit is also the hub for a constellation of innovative digital projects that take this history of readings and orient it toward the future, plugging Candide into the intellectual networks of the new millennium: a kind of Enlightenment 2.0.
This blog, All Possible Worlds, is one of them. Each week, we will publish 2-3 new posts authored by Alice Boone, curator of the Candide exhibit, along with an all-star roster of guest contributors including NYPL president Paul LeClerc, NYPL librarians and curators, invited professors and authors, and other interested readers.
In the spirit of Candide's famous closing line, "cultivate your garden," we have commissioned readers from a wide variety of backgrounds (professors, novelists, playwrights, translators) to annotate chapters of the story in an innovative web-based edition of the book, posting comments about historical information, literary style, connections to current events, thoughts on the problems of translation, links out to other websites, digressions, and questions for discussion.
These "gardeners" will sow seeds of discussion, "cultivating" the text, and then open it up to a wider audience. The All Possible Worlds blog will track the conversation and frequently link back to specific passages of the book and their corresponding commentary.
On the Road with Candide uses The New York Public Library’s on-site exhibition, Candide at 250: Scandal and Success, as a jumping-off point for a unique online journey … inviting the involvement of students, scholars, artists, and more.
Check out a new kind of pick-and-choose visual storytelling, plus a "Candide Journey" project created in Google Maps by Brooklyn 10th graders. One of the first journeys you can choose takes you through the great American illustrator Rockwell Kent's edition of Candide from 1928 (the first book published under the Random House imprint). See how the Internet helps bring to life this 250-year-old text, with all its raciness, for today’s audiences.
Alice Boone is the curator of Candide at 250: Scandal and Success. She is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.
Ben Vershbow is a Digital Producer in the New York Public Library’s Office of Strategic Planning working on e-publishing, social media and spearheading NYPL’s new staff blogging initiative. Prior to coming to NYPL, Ben was Editorial Director of the Institute for the Future of the Book, a Brooklyn-based think tank exploring the future of reading, writing and publishing in the digital age. There, Ben led a series of “networked book” experiments working with authors to develop texts in communal, web-based environments, which, in part, gave birth to the digress.it software used in Candide 2.0.
Eddie A. Tejeda is an independent technologist working closely with non-profits, educators, universities, libraries, think-tanks, start-ups, programmers, writers, and designers. He has helped create various web applications and online communities, including grassroots transparency site littlesis.org, the Cornell e-Rulemaking Initiative (CeRI), and digress.it, the annotation tool that powers Candide 2.0. Previously Eddie worked with Ben Vershbow at the Institute for the Future of the Book on a variety of e-publishing experiments.
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