With regard to Voltaire
, see letter 568, n. 3.
Here Van Gogh quotes from Voltaire’s Zadig, ou la destinée
, ‘L’Ermite’ (The hermit) (chapter 18). See ed. Loïc Marcou. Paris 1996, p. 141. The protagonist, Zadig, has an experience similar to that of Candide: he, too, is forced to flee and subsequently experiences the outside world. While Candide
comments on optimism, however, Zadig
treats the connection between fate and chance. Voltaire’s view is moderately optimistic: evil and the absurdity of chance only seem to prevail.