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Voltaire's CANDIDE: A Bibliographic Laboratory

April 15, 2010

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Almost immediately upon its publication in 1759, Voltaire's Candide was translated, pirated, and responded to in pamphlets, unauthorized sequels, and adaptations for stage. Since its first explosive appearance, Candide has traveled widely: to 1960s counterculture, to Broadway, to a science fiction future, and most recently, to The New York Public Library’s landmark exhibition, Candide at 250: Scandal and Success (closing April 25, 2010).

LIVE from the NYPL invites you to step into a bibliographic laboratory where Voltaire’s text will shape shift before your eyes and ears. Just as Voltaire and his peers played around with the possibilities of print technology, the Library has been experimenting with new digital tools, creating an interactive web edition of Candide — Candide 2.0 — which allows readers to post digital marginalia alongside Voltaire's text.

In this public performance of reading, exhibition curator Alice Boone and NYPL digital producer Ben Vershbow will tour through the Library’s experiments with the book in cyberspace, where its digital pages pulse with the energy of social networks and blog commentaries. Actors from New York-based theater collective Group Theory will read selections of the text, inserting fragments of web critique, parrying footnotes like ping pong balls.
New Yorker  writer Adam Gopnik, playwright Stanton Wood, and author James Morrow, all of whom have been annotating and commenting remotely in the Candide 2.0 experiment, join together for a live conversation on the traditions of adaptation, transformation and remixology inspired by this little powder keg of a tome.


Adam Gopnik has been writing for The New Yorker since 1986. In 2000, he began writing the New York Journal. Gopnik's work has been awarded three National Magazine Awards and the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting. Gopnik is the author of Paris to the Moon, The King in the Window, Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York and Angels and Ages about the lives of Lincoln and Darwin.





Stanton Wood is a playwright and narrative game designer. His plays include The Night of Nosferatu (which was nominated for a New York Innovative Theatre Award), and Candide Americana, a modern adaptation produced by Rabbit Hole Ensemble.  







James Morrow’s recent novels include The Last Witchfinder, an historical extravaganza about the birth of the Enlightenment, and The Philosopher’s Apprentice. He is currently working on a period epic tentatively titled Galápagos Regained.