The Making of a Man of Letters: The Backstage and Afterlife of Paul Rapin Thoyras’ Histoire d’Angleterre

In: Erudition and the Republic of Letters
Miriam Franchina University of Halle,

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The significance of Paul Rapin Thoyras’s Histoire d’Angleterre (1724–1727) has been widely recognized, and yet little is known about the circumstances which brought it about. This article looks behind the scenes of its production, revealing the Histoire to be the culmination of Rapin’s self-presentation as an homme de lettres. It presents Rapin’s interaction and ensuing dispute with his intended publisher (Thomas Johnson), his contributions to Jean Le Clerc’s journals and his management of anonymity and publicity as strategies to gain acceptance and advancement within the Republic of Letters. The case study sheds light on the discourses of self-description of the scholarly community, highlighting the controversial relationship it entertained with the world of print.

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