Francois-Marie Arouet, writing under the pseudonym Voltaire, was born in 1694 into a Parisian bourgeois family. Educated by Jesuits, he was an excellent pupil but one quickly enraged by dogma. An early rift with his father--who wished him to study law--led to his choice of letters as a career. Insinuating himself into court circles, he became notorious for lampoons on leading notables and was twice imprisoned in the Bastille. By his mid-thirties his literary activities precipitated a four-year exile in England where he won the praise of Swift and Pope for his political tracts. His publication, three years later in France, of Lettres philosophiques sur les Anglais (1733)--an attack on French Church and State--forced him to flee again. For twenty years Voltaire lived chiefly away from Paris. In this, his most prolific period, he wrote such satirical tales as "Zadig" (1747) and "Candide" (1759). His old age at Ferney, outside Geneva, was made bright by his adopted daughter, "Belle et Bonne," and marked by his intercessions in behalf of victims of political injustice. Sharp-witted and lean in his white wig, impatient with all appropriate rituals, he died in Paris in 1778--the foremost French author of his day.Theo Cuffe is the transator of the Penguin Classics edition of Voltaire's "Micromegas""and Other Short Fictions." Jessica Hische is a letterer, illustrator, typographer, and web designer. She currently serves on the Type Directors Club board of directors, has been named a "Forbes Magazine" "30 under 30" in art and design as well as an ADC Young Gun and one of "Print Magazine"'s "New Visual Artists." She has designed for Wes Anderson, "McSweeney's," Tiffany & Co, Penguin Books and many others. She resides primarily in San Francisco, occasionally in Brooklyn.
Winner of the 2012 Fifty Books/Fifty Covers show, organized by Design Observer in association with AIGA and Designers & Books Praise for Penguin Drop Caps: "Vibrant, minimalist new typographic covers.... Bonus points for the heartening gender balance of the initial selections." --Maria Popova, "Brain Pickings" "The Penguin Drop Caps series is a great example of the power of design. Why buy these particular classics when there are less expensive, even free editions of "Great Expectations"? Because they're beautiful objects. Paul Buckley and Jessica Hische's fresh approach to the literary classics reduces the design down to typography and color. Each cover is foil-stamped with a cleverly illustrated letterform that reveals an element of the story. Jane Austen's A ("Pride and Prejudice") is formed by opulent peacock feathers and Charlotte Bronte's B ("Jane Eyre") is surrounded by flames. The complete set forms a rainbow spectrum prettier than anything else on your bookshelf." --Rex Bonomelli, "The New York Times" "Drool-inducing." --"Flavorwire" "Classic reads in stunning covers--your book club will be dying." --"Redbook"