Voltaire and the Land of Snow


On this snowy day, our thoughts turn to this mention of snow in North America, on page 58 of Wooton’s translation ofCandide:

‘You know England; are they as mad there as in France?’ ‘It’s a different type of madness,’ said Martin. ‘You know that these two nations are at war over some acres of snow at the Canadian border; and that they are spending much more than the whole of Canada is worth on this fine war. To tell you precisely if there are more people who ought to be locked up in one country or in the other, that’s something of which my limited intellect isn’t capable. All I know is that the people we are going to see are very splenetic.’

(Emphasis added.) In this translation the one which we we are reading in CC 202 this spring — Martin and Candide reach the coast of England and immediately show a peculiar and particular dismissiveness toward the snow-covered land of Canada. What’s with all this animosity with Canada?

Here in the Core office we suppose it is worth noting that our director Kyna Hamill is from Canada… What is this “different type of madness” Voltaire mentions? Perhaps our gooddirector will enlighten us on the nature these”splenetic” people…

(Photo above from The Boston Globe.)

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