Candide. Jean Francois Marie Arouet de Voltaire.
Candide.
Candide.
Candide.
Candide.
Candide.
Candide.
Candide.
Candide.
Candide.

Candide.

New York: Random House, 1928. Imperial octavo, oatmeal publisher’s cloth, gilt relief title on spine, gilt relief title and illustration on upper cover, deckled edges, endpapers with a Random House emblem designed by Rockwell Kent. 112 pp., illus. throughout. Lacking the publisher’s slip-case.

First edition of the first book published by Random House, designed and illustrated by Rockwell Kent. One of 1470 copies printed on French rag paper with hand set type, signed by Kent in the colophon.

Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer, publishers of the Modern Library series, chose Voltaire’s Candide as the first “random” book to publish under their new imprint, Random House, and commissioned Kent to illustrate it. Kent had designed the trademark for Modern Library, and also designed the Random House trademark, which has been used by the publisher ever since.

“The Candide illustrations occupied Kent off and on for many months. The book, produced by the Pynson Printers under the direction of Elmer Adler, was published by Random House in an edition of 1,470 numbered and signed copies in April, 1928. Its flawless format ,with complete harmony between type, paper, and illustrations—almost silvery in tone—brought instant recognition as a masterpiece. The edition was sold out before publication date...The following year, Kent’s Candide illustrations were published in trade editions—one for the Literary Guild, whose wide distribution brought his work to the attention of many who had perhaps never before seen a fine book. Grateful for the success, Random House threw a spectacular cocktail party in the artist’s honor” (Johnson).

The original order slip for the present copy is tipped-in, filled out by one Gregg Anderson of Pasadena, California, with a curious note at the bottom complaining about the “rules along side of the page numbers.”

An attractive copy of one of Kent’s masterpieces, and an auspicious inaugural book for what would become a major publishing house.

CONDITION: Very good, gilt somewhat rubbed, small loss at foot of spine, two scratches on lower cover.

REFERENCE: Johnson, Fridolf. Rockwell Kent: An Anthology of his Works (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1982), pp. 42-46.

Item #3641

Price: $275.00

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