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Licensing Loyalty

Printers, Patrons, and the State in Early Modern France

Jane McLeod

Publication Year: 2011

Published by: Penn State University Press

Front Cover

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Series Page

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Title Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. ix-x

All the people who helped make this book possible are too numerous to name. I would like to thank all the archivists and librarians in Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon, Rouen, Dijon, and Rennes who assisted me—and to give special mention to those at the Archives départementales de la Gironde, whose generous support went beyond all reasonable expectations. Special thanks are also due to ...

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pp. 1-9

On an October afternoon in 1780, three Dijon notables met at the printers’ and booksellers’ guildhall to preside over a competition to fill a vacant position for a printer in their town.1 The competition had been ordered from Versaillesby Armand Thomas Hüe de Miromesnil, the keeper of the seals, who had instructed the intendant of Dijon to publicize it widely by putting up posters ...

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Chapter One: The Early History of Printers in Provincial France, 1470-1660

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pp. 10-36

Many stories have been told about the origins of printing in French provincial towns. Some of the first storytellers were members of prominent eighteenth-century printing dynasties who sought to link their ancestors to the glories associated with the early history of printing.1 The printing history of Rouen presents one of these stories: the first members of the noble Lallemant family, ...

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Chapter Two: The Vicissitudes of a Royal Decree / Enforcing the October 1667 Order in Council Regulating Printers in the Provinces

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pp. 37-67

In the early 1640s, various proposals were made to Chancellor Séguier to control printing and bookselling in Paris.1 The first—probably drafted by the major Parisian printer Sébastien Cramoisy—raised the idea of putting all printers in a factory-like arrangement in rooms of the colleges of the University of Paris. Of the 183 known presses in Paris, he said, only 80 had regular ...

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Chapter Three: The Royal Council Takes Control / The 1701 Inquiry and the Bureau de la Librairie

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pp. 68-96

In 1700, Louis XIV was informed of the misuse and abuse of printing presses in the realm, which arose “principally from the large number of booksellers and printers who—without the required abilities—were setting up daily in several towns in the realm and were printing all sorts of books that undermined good order.”1 All possible means were to be utilized to eliminate this pernicious ...

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Chapter Four: The Purges / The Enforcement of Printer Quotas in the Provinces After 1704

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pp. 97-124

Printer licensing was introduced unevenly into the provincial towns; by 1700, it was respected in some and unknown in others. As dire reports of abuses poured into the Bureau de la librairie, officials intensified their efforts to increase compliance and, in 1704, Pontchartrain decided to take licensing one step further by setting into law printer quotas for every town in France. Ear- ...

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Chapter Five: Arguments Offered by Printers in Petitions for Licenses, 1667-1789

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pp. 125-146

The objective of the 1667 order banning all new printers was to raise the level of education and training of French printers, permitting them to produce high-quality books rivaling those of other European countries, especially the Netherlands. By 1704 this line of thinking had undergone considerable development: well-trained, well-educated, and wealthy printers would be loyal to ...

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Chapter Six: Patronage and Bureaucracy Intersect / Five Case Studies in the Reign of Louis XVI

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pp. 147-178

In August 1788 the Lyon publisher Jean-Marie Bruyset sent a letter to the director of the book trade in France asking him to transfer his printer’s license to his second son. He began his letter: ...

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Chapter Seven: Behind the Rhetoric / The Social Position and Politics of Provincial Printers, 1750-1789

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pp. 179-210

By the late eighteenth century, lobbying was second nature to provincial printers, who had relied on patrons for centuries and, in more recent decades, appealed to officials in the royal administration on a wide range of issues. What connection was there between the rhetoric in their lobbying and the social reality it purported to describe—printers’ wealth, their families, their work, ...

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pp. 211-216

The men and women who ran the increasingly large and prosperous printing houses of provincial France were not among the voices demanding freedom of the press at the time of the French Revolution.1 Despite the undoubted liberalism of many printers, there were good reasons for their silence on the issue. They had advocated a regulated industry for more than a century, and the ...

Appendix A: Printers wealth in the Eighteenth Century

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pp. 217-226

Appendix B: Some Licensed Provincial Printers Involved in the Illegal Book trade, 1750-89, by Town

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pp. 227-232


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pp. 233-274


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pp. 275-292


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pp. 293-302

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780271053639
E-ISBN-10: 0271053631
Print-ISBN-13: 9780271037868
Print-ISBN-10: 0271037865

Page Count: 312
Illustrations: 16 tables
Publication Year: 2011