Voltaire LS

Lot Number 747
Author Voltaire
Title Voltaire LS
Year Published
Place Printed
Printed By
Description LS in French, signed “V,” one page both sides, 6.25 x 7.75, December 18, 1772. Letter to the Count and Countess (Jeanne Louise Pavée de Provenchéres de Rochefort d’Ally) de Rochefort. In full (translated): “The Count de Rochefort, and the old woman Madame dix neuf ans, having left Macon, according to the letter written by the trio, the old sick man of Ferney using said letter as evidence, expects that our travelers will soon be either in Paris or Vandoeuvre, and here is what he tells them. Kind travelers, you will not see ‘The Laws of Minos’ because you will be in your quarters when they will be presented after the Kings. But once again I beg you graciously not to show those ‘Laws’ to anyone other than D’Alembert [French mathemetician and philosopher, with whom Voltaire frequently corresponded]. I don’t think it necessary to make even the slightest reasonable allusion; but one must always expect the worst from frivolous, troubled and mean spirits. What’s more, the copy that you have is very incorrect and it will be necessary to redo two pages. I know very well that such bagatelles don’t deserve much attention, but since there are people in the world who take advantage of everything to do harm, we ask you graciously not to give them the wherewithal to do so in this small matter. Madame Denis [Voltaire’s niece, with whom he lived as a married couple] very respectfully thanks Madame dix neuf ans. I do the same for the third person to whom I have the honor to address my letter,” with Voltaire adding the closing in his own hand, “and I throw myself at the feet of my old lady.” In fine condition, with light show-through from writing on opposite sides. After a lifetime of moving from city to city, Voltaire finally settled in the little French village of Fernay, near the Swiss border, in 1758. While he continued to write for the next twenty years, he also focused a great deal of attention on becoming the patriarch of his new community—setting up potteries, a watch-making industry, and theaters, where rich Genevese from across the border could come to watch his plays. Written in 1772 but not performed until 1774, The Laws of Minos was one of Voltaire’s nearly 60 minor plays. Working tirelessly throughout his career to rebut his critics, distributing pamphlets and defending himself in countless periodicals, he became increasingly concerned with keeping early editions of his work away from prying eyes, as seen by his urging the Count and Countess to keep their copy to themselves. Highlighting his fixation with correcting all editions of his work—whether with an errata, or by hand, for his ‘elite’ readers—this is a fascinating letter to two of his noble friends, written in the final years of the renowned author’s life.
Comments
References
Provenance
Estimated Price USD 3,500.00 - 4,000.00
Actual Price USD 4,974.00

Search

AUCTION DETAILS

Auction House RR Auction
Website http://www.rrauction.com
Auction Name Rare Manuscript, Document & Autograph - bidstart 12/19
Sale Number #421
Auction Date January 15, 2014 - January 15, 2014
Sale Name Rare Manuscript, Document & Autograph - bidstart 12/19
Total Lots 1773
Description of Sale

Post Sale Description

Book Images Ad6223b4-4033-4730-a0a9-25ccd1c46304 486449e9-aa96-4c11-9eda-385d35ff879b