History of Political Economy 33.2 (2001) 377-378
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Bibliographie Cournotienne. By Thierry Martin, with the collaboration of Jean-Philippe Massonie. Besançon: Annales littéraires de l'Univeristé de Franche-Comté, 1998. 264 pp. and one 3.5 inch computer disk. Fr 130.
Economists generally know Augustin Cournot for his Mathematical Principles of the Theory of Wealth (1838), but his contributions were much broader, encompassing economics, epistemology, the history of ideas, mathematics, probability, and public instruction. Bibliographie Cournotienne provides a comprehensive guide to the diverse works of Cournot, and the even more diverse works of his commentators, by assembling 1,478 references from multiple languages in book and machine-readable form (Macintosh only). In this way Thierry Martin has provided a valuable service to the student of Cournot.
The book has four parts, including a brief introduction, followed by references to the works of and on Cournot, and ending with software instructions (in French); a complete name index is also included. The introduction sets out the principles of inclusion and the organization of the bibliography, rather than providing an overview of Cournot's work. For an excellent, complementary survey of the entirety of Cournot's oeuvre, one would do well to read François Vatin's Economie politique et économie naturelle chez Antoine-Augustin Cournot (1998).
The references to the works of and on Cournot are clearly set out and complete. One should have little or no difficulty obtaining these works, given the information provided. The works of Cournot are organized under books, complete works, edited works, articles, reviews, administrative presentations, and correspondence, as well as selected writings, translations, and foreign editions. The works on Cournot are classified under topical headings, such as general philosophy, general epistemology and the history of science, economics, history and the philosophy of history, pedagogy, sociology, political philosophy, psychology, geography, and aesthetics and the history of art. Biographies and obituaries are also included.
Bibliographies of influential writers typically are out of date before they are published. Not so, however, with Thierry Martin's. He has a Web site where his bibliography is kept up to date, a practice that future bibliographers should adopt. His [End Page 377] site, where updated references can be found, is http://slhs.univ-fcomte.fr/serveur-ufr/recherches/philolab/perso/tmartin.html.
One of the benefits of a machine-readable bibliography is that it can be readily searched, and Thierry Martin provides multiple search criteria. Thus if you want to find all of the articles written by “François Vatin” on Cournot, that is easily done. It is just as easy to search for works by Cournot that contain the word équilibre. It is unfortunate that this dimension of the bibliography is limited to Macintosh users.
Bibliographie Cournotienne is a valuable addition to the literature on Cournot, for it facilitates access to Cournot's work while clearly showing its breadth and influence. Furthermore, by providing for continuous updating, it provides an example of how bibliographies of influential writers should be written and maintained. No student of Cournot should be without access to it.
Bruce Larson, University of North Carolina at Asheville
Vatin, François. 1998. Economie politique et économie naturelle chez Antoine-Augustin Cournot. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.