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André Morellet


  1. L'Italien, ou Le confessional des pénitens noirs. Par Anne Radcliffe, auteur de La forêt, ou L'abbaye de Saint-Clair, et des Mystères d'Udolpho. Traduit par André Morellet translation has translation translator
  2. Observations sur la Virginie, par M. J***, Traduites de l'Anglois paratext uncertainty author
  3. Observations sur la Virginie, par M. J***. Traduites de l'Anglois translation has paratext translator
  4. Traité des délits et des peines translation translator


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The youngest of fourteen children of a paper merchant from Lyon. Sent to the Sorbonne from his local Jesuit college to complete his studies, he placed fifteenth out of 120 candidates making him an outstanding student but lacking social prestige and also failed to secure a lucrative ecclesiastical post. Instead he was appointed tutor to the younger son of the marquis de Galaisiere at Plessis.

Began his writing career contributing articles to the 'Encyclopédie' criticizing the Church's "theological absurdities". Following a visit to Rome with his employer, he became noticed by the philosophes after publishing a critical translation of Nicolas Eymerich's handbook for the Inquisition (1375), a fashionable topic of the time, and gaining an entry into the leading Parisian salons. He made a living through his works on economics, the Priory of Thimert and his strenuous lobbying for pensions, including one from the Earl of Shelburne. During the Revolution, he lost all his sources of income apart from an annuity left by the salon hostess, Mme de Geoffrin, so he turned to paid work as a translator. His first commission came from his friend Lallemant, then working in the Ministry for Marine and the Colonies, who procured him a copy of Radcliffe's "The Italian', whose translation Morellet sold to Denné le jeune for 2000 livres.

For more on Morellet, see his 'Mémoires de l'abbé Morellet' (1821) and 'Mélanges de littérature et de philosophie' (1818, Lepetit). For more on his career as translator, see Dorothy Medlin, "André Morellet, Translator of Liberal Thought", in Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, vol.174 (1978).