How Long Is Candide?

Candide is a long novella or a short novel that has about 36,000 words. You can read it in two hours or listen to an audio version in four hours. The book’s uncommon length caused many-year scholarly debates on its genre. Still, most people agree that it is a novella.

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Barnes & Noble Classics Series published Candide on 176 pages. The publication by Dover Thrift Editions has only 129 pages. It is more convenient to measure the length of the book in chapters or words. There are 30 chapters in Candide. Depending on the translated version, it has approximately 36 thousand words. Thus, it will take you about two hours to read it silently. Audiobook versions last for almost four hours.  

The length of the book gave grounding for debates concerning its genre. It is too short for a novel and too long for a short story. Although it is also longer than a typical novella, most scholars agree that it is Candide’s genre. The following arguments confirm this statement:

  1. A novella is 20,000 to 50,000 words long. 
  2. It has intermediate complexity between a short story and a novel. 
  3. It gives a detailed exploration of the topic in question. 
  4. It provides the absolute focus of a short story and a broad vision of a novel. 
  5. It follows the storyline of one main character and has a mostly linear plot. 
  6. It has an unexpected turn that brings the characters to a new understanding of life. (Cunégonde lost her beauty and the world turned out to be not as good as Candide used to think.) 

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