Candide ou l'Optimisme

VOLTAIRE   |   Robert POLACK

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“ONE OF THE MOST BRILLIANT AND READABLE SATIRES EVER WRITTEN”: CANDIDE, ILLUSTRATED BY ROBERT POLACK, IN ART DECO BINDING

VOLTAIRE, Jean Francois Marie Arouet de. Candide ou l’Optimisme. Paris: Nilsson (Ramlot), (1928). Small quarto, contemporary full green morocco blind-tooled Art Deco binding, raised bands, patterned endpapers, uncut.

Later illustrated edition of Voltaire’s Candide, together with Zadig and Jeannot et Colin, with six wonderful full-page pochoir-colored etchings on Japanese tissue by Robert Polack, bound in the Art Deco style.

Written in Geneva and published anonymously in 1759, Candide remains “the most perfect of the light-weight parables which were Voltaire’s especial and peculiar forte” (See PMM 204). Zadig (1747), the story of an ancient Babylonian philosopher, is one of Voltaire’s earliest tales, told in the same comic spirit as Candide. Some of the problems Zadig faces are thinly disguised references to the social and political ails of Voltaire’s own time. Jeannot et Colin (1764) captures Voltaire’s irony, characterizing a society that no longer believes in knowledge, but only with money and the power of appearances. “Science,” says Voltaire’s foil, “stifles the spirit of children under a pile of useless knowledge— but of all the sciences, the most absurd, in my opinion, the one most able to stifle any kind of thought, is the geometry.” This fine Nilsson edition is illustrated by flapper-era fashion artist Robert Polack and handsomely bound in an elegant Art Deco style, once described tongue-in-cheek as “decorative art made with a set square, compass and pen” (Pierre Legrain). Text in French.

Text and illustrations fine, spine of handsome Art Deco binding toned to mellow brown.

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