Candide Goes Digital at The New York Public Library

Ever wanted to read Candide, Voltaire’s immortal satire, but didn’t want to do it without the help of a carefully planned, multimedia online platform? Well, now you can, thanks to the New York Public Library, which has just launched On the Road with Candide, an online exhibition celebrating the 250th birthday of Voltaire’s classic book.

On the Road with Candide is an online companion to the Library’s in-house exhibition, Candide at 250, though the NYPL also seems to view it as very much its own thing, intended to reach a wider audience than could actually make it to the library on 42nd street.

Here’s how the Library introduces the exhibition: “On the Road with Candide showcases groundbreaking new kinds of digital content. NYPL’s latest digital exhibition uses the on-site exhibition Candide at 250: Scandal and Success as a jumping-off point for a unique online journey … inviting the involvement of various communities, including students, scholars, artists, and more. Check out a new kind of pick-and-choose visual storytelling, plus a ‘Candide Journey’ project created in Google Maps by Brooklyn 10th graders. One of the first journeys you can choose takes you through the great American illustrator Rockwell Kent’s edition of Candide from 1928 (the first book published under the Random House imprint). Galleries of work by other notable artists will follow shortly.”

It’s actually pretty cool–especially the Kent drawings, which are used in various ways throughout the site.