Best known as the author of the satirical novel Candide, Voltaire also wrote other highly regarded works of philosophical fiction. With the title tale of this original collection of short stories, the author addresses the social and political problems of his own day in an ancient Babylonian setting. First published in 1747, "Zadig" makes no attempt at historical accuracy. Instead, its thinly veiled references to contemporary issues challenge eighteenth-century religious orthodoxy by portraying life's vicissitudes as the product of destiny rather than individual choices.
Additional selections of Voltaire's short fiction include "Microm gas," "The World Is Like That," "Jeannot and Colin," "The Story of a Good Brahams," and "Memmon, the Philosopher." Taken as a whole, this compilation offers a splendid reflection of the Enlightenment-era writer's masterful gifts for social commentary and his witty critiques of love, vanity, science, and religion.