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Candide, ou l'optimisme, traduit de l'allemand de Mr. le Docteur Ralph.

[Geneva : 1759 Stock Code: 135295
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First edition, one of only a dozen or so recorded copies of the true first edition of this celebrated philosophical conte, one of the genuine rarities in major 18th-century literature. There were 18 editions of Candide in 1759 alone, all of them superficially alike, though only four of them, like this, have 299 pages. Recent research, following Ira Wade, Giles Barber, and Stephen Weissman, has identified this as the true first edition, with the following points: the title ornament of spray, fruit and flowers is repeated at pp. 193 and 266; p. 103, line 4, has the misprint "que ce ce fut" (corrected to "que ce fut" in later editions); p. 125, line 4, has "précisément" (corrected to "précipitamment" in later editions); with Voltaire's revisions on p. 31 eliminating an unnecessary paragraph break, and on p. 41, where several short sentences about the Lisbon earthquake were rewritten. The first edition does not preserve the cancelled paragraph on p. 242 critical of German poets (beginning "Candide était affligé") which survives unintentionally in the London edition. As in all but three known surviving copies of this edition, this copy is bound without the two terminal leaves, blank N7 and N8 containing instructions to the binder.

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Duodecimo (161 x 93 mm), pp. 299. Contemporary French mottled calf, gilt-ruled spine compartments with centre flower tools between raised bands, red morocco label, marbled endpapers, red sprinkled edges. Housed in a dark brown quarter morocco solander box by the Chelsea Bindery.


Neat contemporary ownership inscription on title. A little very skilful repair to tips, occasional faint marking, an excellent copy.


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