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Radical Translations

François-Xavier Lanthenas

Contributions

  1. Décadence et chute du système des finances de l'Angleterre par Th. Paine […] traduit de l'anglais par F. Lanthenas paratext author
  2. Décadence et chute du système des finances de l'Angleterre par Th. Paine […] traduit de l'anglais par F. Lanthenas translation translator
  3. La Feuille villageoise contributor
  4. Le siècle de la raison, ou le Sens commun des droits de l'homme, par F. Lanthenas [...]. Suivi d'un Tableau frappant du despotisme & fanatisme ancien & moderne dédié à tous les sans-culottes de la République française & à nos descendants par le citoyen Néez, propagateur de l'esprit révolutionnaire translation translator
  5. Le siècle de la raison, seconde partie. Ou Recherches sur la vraie théologie et sur la théologie fabuleuse. Traduit de l'anglais de Thomas Payne,... par F. Lanthenas paratext author
  6. Le siècle de la raison, seconde partie. Ou Recherches sur la vraie théologie et sur la théologie fabuleuse. Traduit de l'anglais de Thomas Payne,... par F. Lanthenas translation translator
  7. Patriote français journalist
  8. Religion civile proposée aux républiques pour lien des gouvernemens représentatifs author
  9. Théorie et pratique des droits de l'homme, par Th. Paine, secrétaire du Congrès au département des affaires étrangères, pendant la guerre d'Amérique, auteur du Sens commun, et des Réponses à Burke. Traduit en François par F. Lanthenas et par le traducteur du Sens commun paratext author
  10. Théorie et pratique des droits de l'homme, par Th. Paine, secrétaire du Congrès au département des affaires étrangères, pendant la guerre d'Amérique, auteur du Sens commun, et des Réponses à Burke. Traduit en François par F. Lanthenas et par le traducteur du Sens commun translation translator
  11. Théorie et pratique des droits de l'homme, par Th. Payne, secrétaire du Congrès au département des affaires étrangères, pendant la guerre d'Amérique, auteur du Sens commun, oeuvre adressé aux américains, et dans lequel on traite de l'origine & de l'objet du gouvernement, de la Constitution anglaise, de la monarchie héréditaire & de la situation de l'Amérique septentrionale. Traduit en Français, par F. Lanthenas, D. M. translation translator

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Biography

François-Xavier Lanthenas (Puy-en-Velay, 1754 – Paris, 1799) was a doctor, translator and French representative of the people.

Through the business of his father, Lanthenas became acquainted with the later minister Jean-Marie Roland de La Platière, of whom he became a protégé. Thanks to Roland’s support, Lanthenas was able to obtain a degree in medicine. He arrived in Paris in 1789 and soon became politically active. Het was a member of the Jacobin Club and collaborated to the newspaper Patriote français. He became active in the abolitionist movement, hosting meetings of the Société des Amis de Noirs at his home. Moving within Roland’s circle, he joined the Girondins. As a member of the Cercle Social, he was acquainted with Nicolas de Bonneville, Thomas Paine, Antoine Griffet de Labaume and others.

In September 1792 he was elected to the National Convention for the Rhône-et-Loire and for the Haute-Loire. He sided with the moderates. He voted for the death of Louis XVI, but under conditions. As a Girondin he became a suspect under the Terror. He was saved by Marat’s intervention, who said about him: ‘It is common knowledge that doctor Lanthernas (sic) is a simple spirit’. He later became secretary to the Convention. In the year IV he was elected to the Council of Five Hundred for Ille-et-Vilaine and seated until the year VI. After his retirement he made an unsuccessful attempt at reviving his doctor’s practice in the province. He finished his life in poverty, working as an under-commissioner in the municipal administration in Paris.

During his political career he spoke and published on various subjects, including suffrage, elections, primogeniture, education, public health care and the freedom of the press. His tract on the importance of civil religion in republics was translated anonymously into Italian as Religione civile proposta alle repubbliche, ossia Dichiarazione dei doveri dell'uomo e del cittadino (1797). Lanthenas also acted as a translator for the works of Thomas Paine, mainly within the context of the Cercle social. It is not known where Lanthenas obtained his knowledge of English.

He first collaborated with Griffet de Labaume, the translator of Common Sense, on the translation of Rights of Man. It came out in 1792 as Théorie et pratique des droits de l’homme. In a short preface the translators explained that they had omitted Paine’s reply to Burke and his dedication of the work to Lafayette, considering it ‘an insult to the free Frenchmen’ to translate these parts. In the second edition (1793) Théorie et pratique was published together with Labaume’s Sens-Commun. The book was subsequently banned in the Kingdom of Naples.

Lanthenas also authored two translations of Paine’s The Age of Reason. The first, Le Siècle de la raison, ou Le Sens commun des droits de l'homme (1793), was based on an unpublished draft of that work. It was published in Lanthenas’ own name, without mention of Paine. This incomplete version is an attack on Catholicism and religion and does not include the overt promotion of deism of the first published edition in the original English (1794). To it is added a revolutionary tract by citizen Néez, entitled Tableau frappant du despotisme & fanatisme ancien & moderne. The second translation, published in 1794, is entitled Le siècle de la raison, seconde partie. Ou Recherches sur la vraie théologie et sur la théologie fabuleuse. This time Paine is mentioned as the author and Lanthenas’ name is omitted. Lanthenas merely dedicates the translation to Paine (‘the founder and supporter of liberty in the ancient and new world’), calling himself Paine’s ‘true friend and sincere admirer’.

Lastly, Lanthenas translated Paine’s The decline and fall of the English system of finance. It appeared in 1796 as Décadence et chute du système des finances de l'Angleterre. Lanthenas’ text was translated the same year into Italian by the Jacobin physician and academic Giovanni Rasori (1766-1837).

As a translator, Lanthenas is scarcely visible. He did not write elaborate prefaces or footnotes. He did not seem to have any ambitions as a translator beyond the works of his friend and political ally Paine. His translations were nevertheless important in making Paine’s work accessible to French and Italian readers.

References

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%C3%A7ois_Xavier_Lanthenas

‘François Xavier Lanthenas’, in : Adolphe ROBERT and Gaston COUGNY, Dictionnaire des parlementaires français, Edgar Bourloton, vol. 3 (Paris: Bourloton, 1891), 584-585.

Jean-Luc CHAPPEY, ‘La traduction comme pratique politique chez Antoine-Gilbert Griffet de Labaume (1756-1805)’, in: G. BERTRAND and Pierre SERNA (eds.), La République en voyage, 1770-1830 (Rennes, 2013) p. 233-243).

J.C.D. CLARK, Thomas Paine: Britain, America, and France in the Age of Enlightenment and Revolution (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018).

David HOFFMAN and Claudia CARLOS, ‘Thomas Paine’s Le Siecle de la raison, ou Le Sens commun des droits de l’homme: Notes on a Curious Edition of the Age of Reason’, in: Scott CLEARY and Ivy LINTON STABELL (eds.), New Directions in Thomas Paine Studies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), pp. 133-156.

Carine LOUNISSI, Thomas Paine and the French Revolution (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).

Anna Maria RAO, ‘La stampa francese a Napoli negli anni della Rivoluzione’, Mélanges de l'école française de Rome 102 (1990/2), 469-520.