Saturday, January 26, 2013

Candide by Voltaire (1759) Illu. Rockwell Kent

Completely unaware of what I was getting into I picked up a vintage 1929 copy of Candide with of course cool renderings through-out. Having not followed a lot of satire in my recent readings I was unprepared for Voltaire's brutal truism's about life; it is very good, humorous in a macabre way.  

Unfortunately as with all of the publications like this one the cover is badly faded, cheap dye I guess.
But its the illustrations by Kent that I am so pleased with, how ever disturbing some of them are, and there are plenty, every page has something on it.

Death and destruction, betrayal and cruelty, what appears to be one thing is something else entirely.

Here is Candide leaving the only place that where he was happy with the treasures that ultimately carry him along in relative comfort but due to his lack of shrewdness and the unrelenting evil imposed on him by others he is regularly relieved of its burden.

Each chapter is it's own little episode that leads with the previous and ends heading towards the next.

I don't know why Voltaire wrote this book; it has a peculiar feel about it. I guess he may have been at the the forefront of the period of questioning religion and believing in science. By the time we get to Madame Bovary the questioning is in full swing!