Candide or Optimism

Candide by Voltaire, artist Art Hazelwood
Published in 1759, Candide was denounced by both church and state. In its first year the Great Council of Geneva and the administrators of Paris had banned it and the book succeeded in selling 20,000–30,000 copies. In 1762, Candide was listed in the Catholic Church's list of prohibited books.

Art Hazelwood created this book for the exhibition Banned and Recovered at the San Francisco Center for the Book, 2008.

The book opens to reveal Candide and Cunegonde kissing behind a screen of roses in the castle where they both grew up – “The Best of All Possible Worlds.” Thus begins the story of all the tragedies of their lives. When the accordion folds are pulled out a trail of rape, murder, inquisition, thievery, slavery and sea battles is presented. In the very center a peaceful scene of Candide in Eldorado: a place where people live in peace, a momentary respite from the insanity of European expansion and colonization. Along the bottom of the imagery is text from the book with the final bit of wisdom discovered after all the disasters, “We must cultivate our own gardens.”

Candide or Optimism, 2008, edition of 15, screenprint, closed size: 7 3/8” x 12 1/2” x 1/2”, open size 7 1/4” x 72”, binding: gate fold hardcover, cover paper: various, marbled endpapers, thirteen pages, book body paper: Lana Cover White. edition is sold out.

The book acquired by the following collections: Louisiana State University, Hill Memorial Library, Special Collections, UCLA Young Research Library, Special Collections, Stanford Library Special Collections, Plymouth State University, New Hampshire, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Staatsbibliothek, Berlin, Baylor University, Crouch Music and Art Library, Artist Book Collection, Carleton College Library, New York Public Library, University of Wisconsin, Golda Meir Library, Special Collections,

For a database of illustrated books of Voltaire take a look at this site put together at Trier University in Germany by librarian Hans-Ulrich Seifert

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