Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Voltaire Foundation and a new, enhanced digital version of Candide

In the best of all possible worlds, more publishing houses would look to the example of the Orange, the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Voltaire Foundation with their new, digitally enhanced version of Voltaire's Candide.

This new digital version may be better named an "experience" rather than simple digital book. A new critical version of the text is accompanied by the original, handwritten manuscript written by Voltaire--provided by the BnF--which can be read alongside the text or accessed with a tap of the finger. An additional enhanced reading mode, again accessed with just the tap of your finger, features definitions, variations of the critical edition's text, and a wealth of other media such as character sheets and concepts and contemporary engravings from 18th century publications of Candide. But there is even more to this new Candide experience: A world map easily allows the reader to keep track of Candide's journey and provides ample exploration of the themes and issues in Voltaire's work, such as the role of women in the 18th century and the concept of cultivating one's own garden.

The critical digitally enhanced edition of Voltaire's Candide is currently available as a free iPad application, which can be downloaded here. A video demonstration of the app can be viewed on Youtube.

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