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Lettres philosophiques et politiques sur l'histoire d'Angleterre. Depuis son origine jusqu'à nos jours: Traduites de l'Anglois, & enrichies de notes sur l'original, par M. Brissot de Warville

Authors of source text

Oliver Goldsmith


uncertainty Félicité Brissot de Warville
Jacques-Pierre Brissot de Warville

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is translation of
An history of England, in a series of letters from a nobleman to his son has translation
has paratext
Lettres philosophiques et politiques sur l'histoire d'Angleterre. Depuis son origine jusqu'à nos jours: Traduites de l'Anglois, & enrichies de notes sur l'original, par M. Brissot de Warville paratext

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A second edition was published in 1789 and favourably reviewed in the Chronique de Paris. See Brissot, 'Memoirs' , Vol.1, ed. Cl. Perroud (1911), p.22 (which also affirms the translation as his). Brissot added a preface and six more letters to the original collection to bring it up to date, inspired by Catherine Macaulay's 'History of England', and the most recent histories (see letter to the STN, from 23 June 1784 (BRS144, taken from www.robertdarnton.org.). In an extract from 'The Life of J.P. Brissot… translated from the French' (1794, J. Stockdale), reviewed in the Analytical Review, Brissot explained that this history was, "one continued apology for the aristocracy of the privileged classes, and a satire upon the people. I borrowed this very frame to set within it a contrary picture, there to exhibit the aristocracy of the Nobles, and to avenge the cause of the people. The notes which accompanied this work were sentences for the use of the French". In other words, Brissot was claiming the sense of the original work had been reversed by his additional paratext (preface and footnotes). However, this extract from Brissot's 'Life', which does not appear in his posthumous 'Memoirs', should taken with a large pinch of salt as it was written in a specific political context to exaggerate his radical credentials and defend himself against a series of libels from his old enemy, Charles Théveneau de Morande, in the run-up to the 1791 Legislative Assembly elections. Brissot had published the original defence in his Le Patriote français, as well as in a separate pamphlet entitled, 'Réponse de J.P Brissot a tous les libellistes qui ont attaqué et qui attaquent sa vie passée' (10 Aug, 1791, Au Bureau du Courrier de Provence). One can only assume that the misleading English title and multiple editions (a 2nd ed. was published by John Debrett, as well as in Dublin by Zachariah Jackson) was an attempt to cash in on the considerable interest in England over the recent fate of the Girondin leaders, of whom Brissot was the leading figure. See Simon Burrows, 'A King's Ransom. A life of Charles Théveneau de Morande, Blackmailer, Scandalmonger & Master-Spy (2010), pp.194-97 & 254 fn. See the review in The Analytical Review, Or History of Literature, Domestic and Foreign, on an Enlarged Plan, Vol.XVIII (1794), p.374-78. https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/The_Analytical_Review_Or_History_of_Lite/vWREAQAAMAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=Brissot+one+continued+apology+for+the+aristocracy+of+the+privileged+classes&pg=PA377&printsec=frontcover. According to Quérard and others, most of the translation was done by Mme Brissot, but Brissot's announcement of the re-edition in his Le Patriote français of 27 Oct 1789 advertised it as his own work. See J-M Quérard, 'Les supercheries littéraires dévoilées: Galérie des auteurs' (1847), vol.2, p.631. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=oAsJAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA631&lpg=PA631&dq=brissot+Histoire+d%27Angleterre+en+forme+de+lettres+d%27un+seigneur+a%CC%80+son+fils&source=bl&ots=W_KEmgoreo&sig=ACfU3U2s7sWiybhjnMmEuLTeyX2ZiKukaA&hl=nl&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiU8qrxqpnmAhUySxUIHXrMCR0Q6AEwAnoECAQQBA#v=onepage&q=brissot%20Histoire%20d'Angleterre%20en%20forme%20de%20lettres%20d'un%20seigneur%20a%CC%80%20son%20fils&f=false. See also, Francesco Dendena, 'Histoire républicaine et conscience révolutionnaire', La Révolution française (2013, no.5, online).