Histoire des deux Indes, was arguably the first major example of a world history, exploring the ramifications of European colonialism from a global perspective. Frequently reprinted and translated into many languages, its readers included statesmen, historians, philosophers and writers throughout Europe and North America. Underpinning the encyclopedic scope of the work was an extensive transnational network of correspondents and informants assiduously cultivated by Raynal to obtain the latest expert knowledge. How these networks shaped Raynal’s writing and what they reveal about eighteenth-century intellectual sociability, trade and global interaction is the driving theme of this current volume.
From text-based analyses of the anthropology that structures Raynal’s history of human society to articles that examine new archival material relating to his use of written and oral sources, contributors to this book explore among other topics:
- how the Histoire created a forum for intellectual interaction and collaboration;
- how Raynal created and manipulated his own image as a friend to humanity as a promotional strategy;
- Raynal’s intellectual debts to contemporary economic theorists;
- the transnational associations of booksellers involved in marketing the Histoire;
- the Histoire’s reception across Europe and North America and its long-lasting influence on colonial historiography and political debate well into the nineteenth century.
Reviews‘All of the essays are scrupulously researched, with extensive footnotes referencing primary and secondary sources, and the volume’s bibliography is a comprehensive guide to the booming field of Raynal studies. [It will form a] substantive contribution to the interdisciplinary study of the “global eighteenth century”.’
Modern Language Review
‘This volume of twenty essays constitutes a timely intervention into debates about global history, which, where studies of the eighteenth century are concerned, have been characterized by a certain scepticism’.
‘Ce volume propose une moisson fort riche sur une œuvre considérable dans son étendue’.