(Geneva: Cramer), 1759. First edition, in its earliest surviving state, of Voltaire's masterpiece, the epitome of the French Enlightenment and one of the enduring classics of Western Civilization. The rare first edition, printed and published clandestinely by Cramer in Geneva, under the pseudonym of "Dr. Ralph". This edition, one of four editions dated 1759 with 299 pages, preceded the other sixteen different editions of Voltaire's novel published throughout Europe in 1759. The bibliographical history of this book has been exasperatingly complex and confused, and, until recently, virtually insoluble. The cumulative analyses of Ira Wade, Giles Barber, and Stephen Weissman, however, finally succeeded in resolving the matter conclusively. The 1759 Cramer edition containing 299-pages, with the points detailed below, has been given priority: the misprint "que ce ce fut" on p. 103, line 4 (corrected in later editions to "que ce fut"); the incorrect adjective "precisement" on p. 125, line 4 (corrected in later editions to "precipitamment"); with Voltaire's revisions on p. 31, where an unnecessary paragraph break was eliminated, and p. 41, where several short sentences about the Lisbon earthquake were rewritten. Finally, as in all of the few known copies of the Geneva printing, Chapter XXV (signature L) does not contain the paragraph critical of contemporary German poets, which Voltaire decided to drop while the book was being printed. As in seven of the ten known copies, this copy has been bound without the final leaves N7, a blank, and N8, instructions to the binder concerning the cancellation of two pairs of leaves (B4 and B9 and D6 and D7). Barber 299G. Bengesco 1434. Morize 59a. Wade 1. Printing and the Mind of Man 204. A satire on religious and political optimism (or gullibility; or hypocrisy depending on one's perspective), in the form of a picaresque novel, Candide finally recommends that mantra of sanity and common-sense, "Il faut cultiver notre jardin." "Candide, and his equally guileless if more worldly-wise mentor, Dr. Pangloss, and their delicious adventures, still command our attention. The folly of philosophic and religious optimism is displayed with a vigour and wit that carries the reader away. Irony without exaggeration, a perfect restraint in its admirable humour, a gift for the 'throw-away line' ...; all these show Voltaire's style and originality at their incomparable best." PMM 204. Spine expertly repaired at foot, tear to lower blank corner of A3 (pp. 5/6) and lower blank corner of A4 (pp. 7/8) expertly repaired; tear to D7, just touching the catchword, also repaired; these minor blemishes notwithstanding, a remarkably fine copy, in contemporary binding, of the correct first edition. Only a small handful of copies of the true first edition of Candide are known to exist. 12mo, full contemporary mottled French calf.