17 Editions of Candide in 1759

[Source: Translated from Histoire de l'édition française, t. II, Le livre triomphant (1660-1830), eds. Henri-Jean Martin and Roger Chartier, (Paris: Promodis, 1984), pp. 11116-117.]

After his breakup with Frederick II (1754), Voltaire set up house near Geneva where the Cramer brother became his primary printers. Hoping to make a profit on their first edition of each new work, these booksellers sent copies throughout Europe; counterfeiters their began their work.

The research of Giles Barber on the 17 editions of Candide bearing the date 1759 show that the typographers took care to imitate as closely as possible the style of the original edition. Same page layout, same spelling. They retain, however, their regional characteristics on certain technical points, which helps specialists in material bibliography identify the provenance of the reprintings. It is also true that most of the printers copy the ornements used by the Cramers or are inspired by a common model. Thus a common decorative style arose from one of Europe to the other. The following examples show how small details can sometimes lead researchers to correctly assess the role of each printer.

H.-J. M.

Bibliography: G Barber, "Modèle genevois et modèle européen. Le cas de Candide et de ses contrefaçons", Cinq siècles d'imprlmerie genevoise, Genève, 1981, pp. 49-67.

In each of the following examples, the Cramer edition appears on the left, a pirated edition on the right. (If the images are not displaped side-by-side, you may want to make the window of your browser wider!)

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