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Honoré-Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau

Contributions

  1. Avis paratext author
  2. Collection complète des travaux de M. Mirabeau l'aîné à l'Assemblée Nationale. Précédée de tous les discours et ouvrages du même auteur, prononcés et publiés en Provence, pendant le cours des élections. Par E. Méjan has translation author
  3. Considérations sur l'ordre de Cincinnatus, ou imitation d'un pamphlet anglo-américain. Par le comte de Mirabeau. Suivies de plusieurs pièces relatives à cette institution, d'une Lettre de feu M. Turgot, Ministre d’Etat en France, au Docteur Price, sur les législations américaines & de la traduction d’un pamphlet du Docteur Price, intitulé Observations on the importance of the American Revolution and the means of making it a benefit to the world, accompagnée de réflexions & de notes du traducteur translation has translation has paratext translator
  4. Courrier de Provence journalist
  5. Défense du peuple anglais sur le jugement et la condamnation de Charles Premier, roi d'Angleterre, par Milton. Ouvrage propre à éclairer sur la circonstance actuelle où se trouve la France. Réimprimé aux frais des administrateurs du département de la Drôme translation has paratext translator
  6. Des lettres de cachet et des prisons d’état has translation author
  7. Histoire d’Angleterre depuis l’avènement de Jacques Ier jusqu’à la revolution. Traduite en français et augmentée d'un discours préliminaire [...] et enrichie de notes. Par Mirabeau translation has paratext translator
  8. Histoire d’Angleterre depuis l’avènement de Jacques Ier jusqu’à la revolution. Traduite en français et augmentée d'un discours préliminaire [...] et enrichie de notes. Par Mirabeau (vol. 1, translator's preface) paratext author
  9. Histoire de la révolution d'Amérique par rapport à la Caroline Méridionale, par M. David Ramsay, membre du Congrès américain. Ornée de cartes et de plans, divisée en cinq volumes, le cinquième est d'augumentation & contient des observations sur le commerce des États-Unis d'Amerique par Jean Lord Sheffield. Traduites de l'anglais par Mirabeau translation False (logic) translator
  10. Histoire du règne de Philippe II, roi d’Espagne. Ouvrage traduit de l'anglois par le comte de Mirabeau et J.-B. Durival translation translator
  11. Histoire secrète de la Cour de Berlin: ou Correspondance d'un voyageur françois, depuis le 5 Juillet 1776 jusqu'au 19 Janvier 1787. Ouvrage posthume has translation author
  12. LETTRE CIRCULAIRE addressée au Sociétés d'Etat par l'ordre des CINCINNATI par l'Assemblée Générale convoquée à Philadelphie le 3 Mai 1784, signée du Général Washington en sa qualité de Président translation has paratext translator
  13. LETTRE CIRCULAIRE addressée au Sociétés d'Etat par l'ordre des CINCINNATI par l'Assemblée Générale convoquée à Philadelphie le 3 Mai 1784, signée du Général Washington en sa qualité de Président paratext author
  14. Notes détachées sur l'ouvrage de M. le Docteur Price author
  15. Observations d'un voyageur anglais, sur la maison de force appellée Bicêtre, suivies de reflexions sur les effets de la sévérité des peines, & sur la législation criminelle de la Grande Bretagne. Imité de l'anglais par le comte de Mirabeau. Avec une lettre de M.B. Franklin translation has paratext translator
  16. Observations d'un voyageur anglais, sur la maison de force appellée Bicêtre, suivies de reflexions sur les effets de la sévérité des peines, & sur la législation criminelle de la Grande Bretagne. Imité de l'anglais par le comte de Mirabeau. Avec une lettre de M.B. Franklin paratext author
  17. Observations sur l'importance de la révolution de l'Amérique, et sur les moyens de la rendre utile au monde translation has paratext translator
  18. Observations sur l'importance de la révolution de l'Amérique, et sur les moyens de la rendre utile au monde paratext author
  19. Postscriptum paratext author
  20. Réflexions sur l'ouvrage précédent author
  21. Règlemens observés dans la Chambre des Communes pour débattre les matières & pour voter. Traduit de l'Anglois. Mis au jour par le Comte de Mirabeau translation has paratext translator
  22. Règlemens observés dans la Chambre des Communes pour débattre les matières & pour voter. Traduit de l'Anglois. Mis au jour par le Comte de Mirabeau paratext author
  23. Sur la liberté civile & sur la guerre de l'Amérique translation translator
  24. Sur la liberté de la presse, imité de l'Anglois de Milton. Par le Comte de Mirabeau translation has paratext has other edition translator
  25. Sur la liberté de la presse, imité de l'Anglois de Milton. Par le Comte de Mirabeau paratext author
  26. Sur la liberté de la presse, imité de l'Anglois, de Milton. Par Mirabeau l’aîné translation translator
  27. Sur Milton et ses ouvrages translation translator
  28. Théorie de la royauté, d’après la doctrine de Milton translation has paratext has other edition translator
  29. Théorie de la royauté, d’après la doctrine de Milton translation translator
  30. Théorie de la royauté, d’après la doctrine de Milton translation translator
  31. Théorie de la royauté, d’après la doctrine de Milton paratext author
  32. Unknown 30 has translation uncertainty author

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Member of

Biography

Honoré Gabriel de Riqueti, count of Mirabeau (Le Bignon, 1749 - Paris, 1791) was a nobleman, politician and journalist.

Mirabeau’s turbulent life, political role in the Revolution, untimely death and posthumous disgrace are well known. In the running-up to the Revolution he was an influential publicist. Ever since the publication of his Essai sur le despotisme (1776) and Des lettres de cachet et des prisons d’état (1782) he voiced a reformist and anti-despotic agenda. He called for reform in a series of pamphlets which were often collective efforts made under his guidance. Mirabeau’s so-called ‘atelier’ consisted of four Genevan exiles: the financier Étienne Clavière and the journalists Etienne Dumont, Jacques-Antoine Du Roveray and Etienne-Salomon Reybaz. They filled the columns of Mirabeau’s newspaper Courier de Provence and wrote many of his political speeches. Their collaboration allowed him to keep up his publishing activities while being an active politician. Apart from the atelier, other members over Mirabeau’s circle also contributed to his publications. Among his clients and associates were Jean-Baptiste Salaville, Sébastien-Roch Chamfort, Guy-Jean-Baptiste Target, Pierre Cabanis and Charles-Philippe-Toussaint Giraudet. The resulting texts would either be published anonymously or under Mirabeau’s name. Despite the loose notions of authorship prevailing in that period, Mirabeau clearly stretched the norms of his time. After the work of the atelier was discovered he was scorned for publishing the works of others in his name.

Given this knowledge, we can consider Mirabeau as a translator as well as an entrepreneur of translations. He was responsible for a number of translations, most of which have a rather complex genesis and composition. Among these are Histoire du règne de Philippe II, roi d’Espagne (1777-1778); Considérations sur l'ordre de Cincinnatus, ou imitation d'un pamphlet anglo-americain (December 1784); Sur la liberté de la Presse, imité de l'Anglois de Milton (December 1788); Théorie de la royauté, d’après la doctrine de Milton (1789) and Histoire d’Angleterre depuis l’avènement de Jacques Ier jusqu’à la révolution (1791-1792, appeared posthumously). His choice for these texts was clearly inspired by their political relevance to contemporary French society. Sometimes they were suggested to him by kindred spirits. Benjamin Franklin provided him with a copy of the Considerations on the Society or Order of Cincinnati and convinced him to translate it. Jacques-Pierre Brissot had been on the lookout for someone to translate Catherine Macaulay’s History of England until he finally found Mirabeau to take on the job.

The precise authorship of the translations is often hard to establish. Usually most of the translation work was done by collaborators while Mirabeau wrote comments and prefaces. Chamfort and Target did the translation for the Considérations sur l'ordre de Cincinnatus, Salaville for Théorie de la royauté, Giraudet for Histoire d’Angleterre (despite the claim in the editor’s preface that Mirabeau translated the first two volumes himself). In the case of Sur la liberté de la presse it is unknown whether or not Mirabeau received assistance.

Literal translation was never Mirabeau’s goal. He freely admitted to changing and expanding the original text in order to enhance its message. In his preface to Considérations sur l'ordre de Cincinnatus he commented: ‘I have taken the liberty to change the order of ideas, to shorten wordy parts, to delete some details’. He explained that, since every language and every nation had a different way of expressing ideas, the best way of ‘transporting foreign writings into our language’ was to make them as easy to read as possible. In return of his translation work he had, moreover, allowed himself to make a few additions. Benjamin Franklin commented that Mirabeau not so much translated the Considerations on the Society or Order of Cincinnati as turned it into ‘a satire directed against the nobility’. Similarly, his versions of Milton are adaptations rather than translations. In the introduction to Théorie de la royauté he wrote that he ‘extracted the political principles from the details of circumstances and verbose erudition in which they were drowned’ and that he had ‘mainly’ based himself on Milton’s A defence of the people of England.

Mirabeau clearly intended these translations as contributions to the political debate on issues such as censorship, hereditary nobility or royal absolutism. The connotation of each individual translation strongly depended on the exact political constellation. Even within one work considerable political evolution could take place, as his posthumously published Histoire d’Angleterre illustrates. In his own preface to vol. 1, Mirabeau drew on the history of the English Civil War to take a clear stance against French royal absolutism (in line with his two Milton translations, written around the same time). Giraudet’s preface to vol. 3 is very different in tone, using Macaulay’s account of the Commonwealth as a warning against the dangers of republicanism and containing high-strung praise for Louis XVI and monarchy in general. The political circumstances account for the very different political outlooks of both prefaces: whereas Mirabeau wrote before the revolution (1788), Guiraudet intervened in the crisis after the flight to Varennes (1791). Giraudet’s opinion was nevertheless in line with Mirabeau’s own support for constitutional monarchy.

Extending the original with comments, notes and additional documents was another way for Mirabeau to ‘activate’ these text. The editor’s preface to Histoire d’Angleterre (vol. 1) cites Mirabeau on the subject: ‘In these circumstances, this is no ordinary translation. There are so many parallels between those events, those people and us, that to simply indicate them in the notes is to write the history of both revolutions’. In Sur la liberté de la presse, the translation of Milton's text (p. 8-51) is at first sight indistinguishable from Mirabeau's own plea for liberty of the press in France (p. 1-8; 51-62). In Théorie de la royauté and Histoire d’Angleterre, translation and comments are clearly separated. The preface to Théorie de la royauté, entitled 'Sur Milton et ses ouvrages', take up no less than half the book. In it, Mirabeau recycled a long fragment of his earlier Sur la liberté de la presse. The main body of the text additionally contains fragments from Milton’s The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce. In the Considérations sur l'ordre de Cincinnatus, the original text was even more overshadowed by the extra material. The resulting mix between translation, comments and additional documents resembles a real collage. Among the added documents were Mirabeau’s translation of a letter by George Washington and Richard Price's Observations on the importance of the American Revolution, to which Mirabeau added his own comments. The latter take the form of footnotes, 'Réflexions sur l'Ouvrage précédent' and 'Notes détachées sur l'ouvrage de M. le Docteur Price'. To complicate matters, Price’s original was itself enriched with several other documents, including a letter by Turgot. Finally, Samuel Romilly translated the whole eclectic work into English.

References

Joseph Bénétruy, L'Atelier de Mirabeau: quatre proscrits genevois dans la tourmente révolutionnaire (Genève: Picard, 1962).

Robert Darnton, The Devil in Holy Water or the Art of Slander from Louis XIV to Napoleon (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011).

Tony Davies, ‘Borrowed Language: Milton, Jefferson, Mirabeau’, in: David Armitage (ed.), Milton and Republicanism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).

Francesco Dendena, ‘Histoire républicaine et conscience révolutionnaire’, La Révolution française [Online], 5 (2013).

Rachel Hammersley, The English republican tradition and eighteenth-century France : between the ancients and the moderns (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013), p. 174-184.

Raymonde Monnier, ‘Les enjeux de la traduction sous la Révolution française. La transmission des textes du républicanisme anglais’, The Historical Review 12 (2015), p. 13-46.

Michael Sonnenscher, Sans-Culottes: An Eighteenth-Century Emblem in the French Revolution (Princeton University Press, 2008).

Christophe Tournu, Milton et Mirabeau - Rencontre révolutionnaire (EDIMAF, 2002).