Voltaire’s Book of Fate

Voltaire’s Book of Fate

Vive Voltaire!

This handsome design once housed the legendary writer Voltaire’s Zadig, or The Book of Fate, first published in 1747. The Book of Fate tells the story of Zadig, an ancient Babylonian philosopher. It is a philosophical treatise that makes startlingly effective use of contradiction and juxtaposition. In it one finds the seeds of the modern detective story, including a likely source of inspiration for Edgar Allan Poe’s master of “ratiocination,” C. Auguste Dupin. Today the original binding can be found in the Rare Book and Special Collections archive at the Princeton University Library in New Jersey, USA.

There are few authors more influential and admired than Voltaire (1684–1778). His work especially appealed to late 19th-century France, which was recovering from an 1870 defeat by Prussia. The French people responded by focusing on objects of profound beauty and intellectual depth in order to showcase their ideals and dreams for the future. These ideals were exemplified by the work of Voltaire, one of France’s most celebrated sons. It is no small wonder that his Zadig was chosen to be reprinted in this marvellous golden binding, crafted in 1893 by Chamerot et Renouard in Paris.

For fans of: Voltaire, philosophy, antique bindings, Fire Flowers, Gold Inlay, Fall Filigree, Nova Stella