Vie de Voltaire par le marquis de Condorcet

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Voltaire; Nicolas de Condorcet

Vie de Voltaire par le marquis de Condorcet. Choix de pieces justificatives pour la vie de Voltaire. Memoires pour servir à la vie de M. de Voltaire, ecrits par lui-meme. Table generale alphabetique. Table chronologique. Oeuvres Completes de Voltaire. Tome Soixante-dixieme.

[Kehl] : De L'Imprimerie de la Société Littéraire-Typographique, 1789.

8°: [6], 516 pp. Original paper wrappers with manuscript title on the spine, all edges untrimmed. First edition, first appearance of Vie de Voltaire par…Condorcet, vol. 70, Oeuvres Completes de Voltaire, octavo edition.

Description: Vie de Voltaire.pdf

Did Voltaire confess his sins? Non, says our annotator.

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With a contemporary Geneva bookseller’s ticket (below left) pasted to the inside front wrapper from J.E. Didier, Libraire, who was active in the rue de la Cité (1790-1795) where he also hosted a Cabinet Littéraire (1790-1792), cf. Kleinschmidt, Les Imprimeurs et Libraires de la République De Genève, 1700-1798.

Annotated by a contemporary insider: [François Tronchin (1704-1798)?]

Annotated by one of Voltaire’s contemporaries who had precise knowledge of events and intimate details of Voltaire’s life. That a contemporary reader could suggest the precise remarks and corrections we find here places the annotator especially close to Voltaire, making this copy of remarkable value to scholars. There are 40 individual notes, mostly indicating vrai or faux (true or false) on various statements made in the text. In some cases, the annotator adds very specific precisions on particular events or statements in the text, which in 1789 would have been known to only those with an intimate connection to Voltaire. That the volume is in its original state as it came from Didier’s Geneva bookshop insists that the annotator came from that city, Voltaire’s home for many years. Further, the copy was once in the Tronchin library, strongly suggesting the annotations should be linked to them: one of the most important Genevan families, among whom Théodore Tronchin (1709-1781), and his cousins Jean Robert I Tronchin (1702-1788) and brother François Tronchin (1704-1798), were, respectively, Voltaire’s physician, banker, and close friend. François, who was the sole survivor at the time of the book’s publication, also inhabited Les Délices (after V. departed his Geneva residence in 1765), was the family archivist, and whose hand in the archives in Geneva very strongly resembles the hand here.

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