12mo [156 x 91mm] of (1) leaf of title and 257 pp. Bound in full light-brown calf, spine ribbed and decorated with gilt fleurons, light-brown morocco lettering piece, red edges. Contemporary binding.
Rare second edition of “Micromegas”, published only a few weeks after the first one which you can’t get hold of anywhere these days. Bengesco 1429; Catalogue général des livres imprimés de la B.n.F., Voltaire, n°2908.
In this philosophical novel, Voltaire imagines that Micromégas, an inhabitant from the planet Sirius, with gigantic proportions, has been condemned not to show up at Court during many years after the publication of one of his books – the allusion to the Theatine Boyer, who had attacked Voltaire after his Lettres philosophiques, is obvious. He goes on a journey to the planet Saturn and meets one of his inhabitants, a dwarf compared to the ones living on Sirius, who can be seen as a distorted personification of Fontenelle, the author of the famous Entretiens sur la pluralité des mondes, who had allied with Voltaire’s enemies.
“In ‘Micromégas’, Voltaire’s biting spirit, which is incomparable in the art of dissociating an entire system with a single anecdote, this sly and mischievous spirit, who knows how to disguise under a mask of naivety and innocence, expresses itself as always in a perfectly pure style. We observe here, the expression of the writer, friend of the Enlightened and of progress, his sorrowful vision of an ignorant and dumb society, infinitely small and excessively arrogant”. (Laffont-Bompiani).
The true first edition of Micromégas is extremely rare. The few copies of this text listed on the French public market for 20 years and described as “First edition” were usually from the second edition.
A precious copy preserved in its full contemporary binding with its finely decorated spine.