Publishing in the Republic of Letters
Richard G. Maber
This book prints for the first time two remarkable interlocking sequences of letters between Paris and the Netherlands: 40 letters from Gilles Ménage in Paris to Johann-Georg Grævius in Utrecht, and 30 from the printer Henrik Wetstein, in Amsterdam, to Ménage. Their principal focus is the publication of a considerable number of Ménage’s works outside France, above all his monumental edition of Diogenes Laertius’s Lives of the Philosophers.
The letters give an engaging picture of mutual help within the community of scholars, Dutch, German, English, and French, including Huguenot exiles like Le Clerc and Bayle.
Ménage’s are full of information from Paris; while Wetstein’s, forthright and humorous, concentrate on publishing details in a sometimes stormy relationship. The great Diogenes edition encountered an extraordinary range of problems: difficulties at every stage of publication, hazardous wartime communications, and, not least, a bizarrely eccentric collaborator in Marcus Meibomius. The two correspondences provide a fascinating case-study of the practical working of international scholarly publishing in time of war, and the European network of learned correspondence in the later seventeenth century.
Each letter is printed in full, accompanied by a summary, detailed commentary, and extensive annotations.