From Provincial savant to Parisian naturalist

BookFrom Provincial savant to Parisian naturalist

From Provincial savant to Parisian naturalist

the recollections of Pierre-Joseph Amoreux (1741-1824)

Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2017:10


October 11th, 2017

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Pierre-Joseph Amoreux of Montpellier was a Linnaean naturalist, agronomist and bibliographer whose adult life spanned the last decades of the ancien régime, the French Revolution, the age of Napoleon and the Restoration. Thanks to his many publications and contacts, he was a well-known figure in his own day, not just in the Midi but in Paris and beyond. His autobiography, published here for the first time along with a substantial introduction, provides the fullest first-person account of the life of a provincial man of science during this tumultuous period of France’s history.
Before the French Revolution, Amoreux used his Montpellier base and the new prize-essay contest to become a renowned and respected figure in the multi-centred Republic of Letters. Post-Revolution, when French science became exclusively centred on Paris, he succeeded in relaunching his scientific career through frequent visits to the capital where he cultivated the leading lights of the Institut and the Jardin des plantes. Laurence Brockliss opens this volume by providing an in-depth analysis of the context of Amoreux’s life and work, based on his surviving letters, printed and manuscript books and articles, and his autobiographical Souvenirs. Amoreux emerges as a driven, often ruthless, man of science, wealthy enough to devote the majority of his life to his intellectual pursuits, keen to retain his independence, and more interested in worldly success than he pretended.
The following fully annotated transcription of Amoreux’s Souvenirs provides an unparalleled insight into the world of the minor intellectual in the Age of Enlightenment and Revolution, where success or failure could turn on the whims of publishing fashion and the vagaries of the postal service. The Souvenirs also offer novel access to the vibrant underbelly of intellectual life in early nineteenth-century Paris as Amoreux introduces us to a little-known world of libraries, museums, booksellers, collectors, nurserymen and dealers. 

‘Brockliss’s editorial work, as well as his detective work in ferreting out the details of Amoreux’s life, make this book an important contribution to the study of the later career of the Republic of Letters, and a satisfying read.'
Anita Guerrini, Erudition and The Republic of Letters

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Cover 1
Title Page4
Copyright Page5
List of abbreviations14
Abbreviations used by Amoreux16
Note on conventions20
Introduction: the Republic of Letters and the French Revolution22
I. The life and work of Pierre-Joseph Amoreux40
1. The autobiography42
2. Family47
3. The republican of letters55
4. The correspondent61
5. The prize-essayist75
6. The Paris tourist85
7. The published author98
8. The collector109
9. The man and his achievement118
10. Concluding remarks125
II. Pierre-Joseph Amoreux: Mes souvenirs130
Enfance et jeunesse, 1741-1759133
Etudiant en médecine, 1759-1762146
Premiè re visite à Paris, 1764-1766159
Médecin contrecarré, 1766-1767166
Républicain des lettres, 1768-1789170
Les années révolutionnaires, 1789-1800200
Deuxième visite à Paris, 1800228
Troisième visite à Paris, 1801253
Chez lui, 1801-1803270
Quatrième visite à Paris, 1803273
Chez lui: travaux littéraires, 1803-1806311
Cinquième visite à Paris, 1806318
Chez lui: travaux littéraires et affaires domestiques, 1806-1814348
Souvenirs et réflexions morales363
Chez lui: travaux littéraires et affaires domestiques et nationales, 1814-1816367
Sixième visite à Paris, 1816373
Chez lui: travaux littéraires et affaires domestiques, 1816-1818380
Septième visite à Paris, 1818384
Chez lui: travaux littéraires et affaires domestiques, 1818-1821390
Huitième visite à Paris, 1821396
Derniè res années, 1821-1824404
Select bibliography412
Index of persons418
General index442