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Once settled into his chosen vocation he spent much of his life swinging back and forth with regards to popularity.
He spent his first term in prison in 1717-18 for writing a satire against the Regent, but found favour again in 1725 when three of his plays were chosen to be performed at the wedding of King Louis XV.
The following year he fled to England, where he met King George I as well as many others in the literary and scientific elite. He was in disfavour in his home country and lived in exile through much of the 1730s.
The 1740s saw him rise in popularity again as he became a major figure on the European stage, but by 1754 he'd quarreled with his former friend Frederick of Prussia and was refused entry into France.
Finally he settled in Switzerland and his publishing began to take off from there.
In 1759, Candide was published, with three simultaneous editions in Paris, Geneva and Amsterdam. The idea behind this was to sell as many copies as possible before it became pirated or censored. The authorities tried their best to suppress it and it went through many editions in its life.
The story centres on Candide, whose philosophy teacher has always taught him that whatever happens 'all is for the best'. After being cast out from his home, he embarks on a journey that will take him all over the world to encounter all manner of things - earthquakes, syphilis, murder. All of these test him to the limits when trying to stick to his old teachers philosophy.
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