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Rare first edition of Voltaire's Candide

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Rare first edition of Voltaire's Candide

Lot 0233 Details

Description
Heading:
Author: [Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet]
Title: Candide, ou l'Optimisme, Traduit de l'Allemand de Mr. le Docteur Ralp
Place Published: [Geneva]
Publisher:[Printed by Gabriel Cramer]
Date Published: 1759
Description:


299, [3 blank] pp. A-M12, N8 [-N8]. With woodcut fleurons on title page and occasionally within. (12mo) 16x9.5 cm (6¼x3½"), period mottled calf, spine tooled in gilt, morocco lettering piece. First Edition.



The earliest known printing of one of the most famous clandestine works of the 18th century, with a complex bibliography. As a means of avoiding the opposition of the authorities throughout Europe, Voltaire used multiple printers and sought the most widespread distribution of his work. Because the work contained religious blasphemy and political sedition it was banned and copies seized by the authorities as they appeared. But printers, booksellers, and a public ready for some plain speaking and truth won the day and the work became the modern equivalent of a best-seller, with estimates that the book sold 20,000 to 30,000 copies that first year, and made Voltaire quite wealthy. Within weeks of its appearance, editions had appeared in Paris, London, Amsterdam and Brussels. The number of editions appearing in 1759 have variously been estimated as between 16 and 20. The group of four editions that are a duodecimo and that contain 299 pages are considered the earliest, having been printed from sheets distributed by Cramer. The present example has the following attributes which bibliographers concur reflect the earliest known printing: 299 numbered pages, followed by a blank leaf [the leaf with "Avis au Relieur" on recto, N8, which was usually not retained by the binder, is not present here]; the title ornament repeated at pages 193 and 266; page 103, line 4 with the uncorrected "que ce ce fut" (corrected in later editions to "que ce fut"); page 125, line 4 reads "precisement" (corrected in later editions to "precipitamment"); on page 41, several short sentences about the Lisbon earthquake were rewritten; Voltaire's revisions on page 31 eliminated an unnecessary paragraph break; page 242, without the paragraph critical of the German poets that begins "Candide etait afflige."

Condition
Modest wear to covers, joints cracked with front cover coming loose, otherwise very good, a nice copy in an early binding.
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Rare first edition of Voltaire's Candide

Estimate $20,000 - $30,000
Jun 15, 2017
Starting Price $15,000
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0233: Rare first edition of Voltaire's Candide

Sold for $15,000
1 Bid
Est. $20,000 - $30,000Starting Price $15,000
Rare Books & Manuscripts
Thu, Jun 15, 2017 2:00 PM EDT
Buyer's Premium 25%

Lot 0233 Details

Description
...
Heading:
Author: [Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet]
Title: Candide, ou l'Optimisme, Traduit de l'Allemand de Mr. le Docteur Ralp
Place Published: [Geneva]
Publisher:[Printed by Gabriel Cramer]
Date Published: 1759
Description:


299, [3 blank] pp. A-M12, N8 [-N8]. With woodcut fleurons on title page and occasionally within. (12mo) 16x9.5 cm (6¼x3½"), period mottled calf, spine tooled in gilt, morocco lettering piece. First Edition.



The earliest known printing of one of the most famous clandestine works of the 18th century, with a complex bibliography. As a means of avoiding the opposition of the authorities throughout Europe, Voltaire used multiple printers and sought the most widespread distribution of his work. Because the work contained religious blasphemy and political sedition it was banned and copies seized by the authorities as they appeared. But printers, booksellers, and a public ready for some plain speaking and truth won the day and the work became the modern equivalent of a best-seller, with estimates that the book sold 20,000 to 30,000 copies that first year, and made Voltaire quite wealthy. Within weeks of its appearance, editions had appeared in Paris, London, Amsterdam and Brussels. The number of editions appearing in 1759 have variously been estimated as between 16 and 20. The group of four editions that are a duodecimo and that contain 299 pages are considered the earliest, having been printed from sheets distributed by Cramer. The present example has the following attributes which bibliographers concur reflect the earliest known printing: 299 numbered pages, followed by a blank leaf [the leaf with "Avis au Relieur" on recto, N8, which was usually not retained by the binder, is not present here]; the title ornament repeated at pages 193 and 266; page 103, line 4 with the uncorrected "que ce ce fut" (corrected in later editions to "que ce fut"); page 125, line 4 reads "precisement" (corrected in later editions to "precipitamment"); on page 41, several short sentences about the Lisbon earthquake were rewritten; Voltaire's revisions on page 31 eliminated an unnecessary paragraph break; page 242, without the paragraph critical of the German poets that begins "Candide etait afflige."

Condition
...
Modest wear to covers, joints cracked with front cover coming loose, otherwise very good, a nice copy in an early binding.

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