Online exhibition commemorates 'Candide' at 250

The New York Public Library (NYPL) has just launched the online exhibition On the Road with Candide, commemorating the 250th birthday of Voltaire's famous satire. Intended as a companion to the library's in-house exhibition, which runs through April, the digital component includes several stand-alone interactive features for readers.

A highlight of the material on display is an extensive series of drawings by Rockwell Kent, whom Random House commissioned to illustrate its 1928 edition of the book. Galleries of work by other artists are expected to follow as the online exhibit unfolds.

As for interactive features, the NYPL proposes a variety of ways for readers to have a hand in adding content to the exhibition. Adult readers and scholars can head to "All Possible Worlds," a sort of online salon where people can post blog-style essays or help to create a "living work" by contributing comments and annotations to a Candide text.

For students, a section called "Candide Journey" invites younger readers to take part in a visual storytelling project using Google Maps and the NYPL Digital Gallery.

On "Do-It-Yourself Candide," a feature coming in the near future, visual artists and others wil be able to upload materials - whether drawings or written commentary - to add to the evolving exhibition.