London: Printed for S. Bladon, 1768. First London edition. Three English language translations were printed in 1768, one in London, one in Dublin, and one in Glasglow. No priority has been established for any of the three. All have different collations and none name a translator. Binding extremities lightly rubbed. Front hinge slightly cracked, but sound. Engraved armorial bookplate on front pastedown. A fine copy. Contemporary brown calf with a gilt-lettered brown morocco spine label. Edges sprinkled red. Octavo. ., 169 pp. Item #16358
Voltaire’s (1694-1778) L’Ingénu is a satricial novella first published in 1767. It tells the story of a Huron, a Native American of the Wyandot people, who, after having crossed the Atlantic to England, travels to Brittany, France in the 1690s. Having lived his life outside of European culture, he perceives the world in a different way, which often leads to comic misinterpretations. The novella also criticizes the contemporary corruption of the French government. L’Ingénu blends several different genres; it shares characteristics with the “conte philosophique” and the novel. Thematically, Volatire’s novella advocates deism and lambasts intolerance, fanaticism, superstition, sects, and the Catholic clergy.