The writer of the preface to this little selection of writings by this classic French author is insistent that works such as these are preferable to any of the more substantial works (such as 'Candide' for example), even though Voltaire himself described these pieces as 'rogatons' or 'petits pates', i.e. of little value. Included here are 'Zadig - ou La Destinee', 'Micromegas', 'Histoire d'un Bon Bramin', 'Jeannot et Colin', 'Memnon - ou La Sagesse Humaine', and 'Le Blanc et Le Noir', together with a bibliography.
François-Marie Arouet (1694–1778), better-known as Voltaire was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and separation of church and state. His output covers every literary form (plays, poems, novels, essays, and historical & scientific works), as well as more than 20,000 letters and over 2,000 books and pamphlets. His advocacy of personal liberties was risky under the strict censorship laws of the time, but as a satirical polemicist, he frequently used his works to criticise intolerance, religious dogma, and the French institutions of his day. He is perhaps best-known for the character 'Candide', from the play of the same name.
Our book is a pleasure to handle, being bound in olive-green leather, copiously decorated on the front with a gilt design of fleurs de lys and curlicues (sadly, marked with one dark line near the bottom (see photo)). The spine is similarly decorated, but has lost the original surface colour of the leather (the gilt remaining quite bright and readable). There is considerable shelf wear and general wear - and the spine has a long crack extending about 4/5 of its length. The edges and corners of (particularly) the front cover are worn with some loss, and the back cover is somewhat scratched, and faded round the edges. Inside, however, the stitched binding is intact, though with weakness between some of the gatherings. Top page edges are gilt. The endpapers are clean and intact (faded ink-written letters 'N R C' at top L/H corner of front inside cover). There is a little foxing to the frontispiece portrait of Voltaire, its tissue guard and the title page, and one spot on pp 63-5, but none elsewhere. The pages are clean and bright throughout, and the silk page marker is present.