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Education, Sociability and Written Culture : the case of the Society of Jesus in France

Stéphane Van Damme
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Cornell, Blumenthal lectures, 22 octobre 2002

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  • 1  R. Chartier, “ Avant-propos ”, A. Messerli et R. Chartier (dir.), Lesen und Shreiben in Europa., B (...)

1In a special Issue of the journal Annales, the historian Roger Chartier could draw up a review of the written culture history and underlined the role played by certain social groups in the diffusion of written culture in the cities. He distinguished two major elements in this evolution  : one hand “ The use of writing as an instrument of self-government and administration ” and on the other hand “ the link between religious experience and use of writting ”1. In this tension, it has been interested to focus our attention on the cultural action of the society of Jesus, one of the most important urban and religious institution as which contributed to generalise the written culture in the european cities from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries.

2In what follows, I would like only to show how instrumental Jesuit colleges were offering the urban elite a proper cultural environment. This inquiry continues an analysis of the cultural facilities which embraces scholarly practices including observatories and collections. The grouping together of instruments, books and people allowed the Society of Jesus to set up genuine centers of learning. Through oral and written communication, the Jesuits went as far as turning colleges into public centers of knowledge. But they developped also a reading policy in the city and the creation of a network of school libraries.

  • 2  Especially, in M. de Certeau, “ Le dix-septième siècle français ”, in Les jésuites. Spiritualité e (...)
  • 3  M. Fumaroli, L'âge de l'éloquence. Rhétorique et res literaria de la Renaissance au seuil de l'épo (...)
  • 4  H.-J. Martin, Livres, pouvoirs et société à Paris au xviie siècle, Genève, Droz, 1969.
  • 5  A. Viala, Naissance de l’écrivain. Paris, Seuil, 1985 ; C. Jouhaud, “ La Doctrine curieuse des bea (...)
  • 6  P-A. Fabre will finish a book on Father Louis Richome, see P.-A. Fabre, “ Les Constitutions ont-el (...)
  • 7  On these two economics, see R. Chartier, “ L’homme de lettres ”,in L’homme des Lumières, sous la d (...)

3For the past few years, scholars have taken a renewed interest in the intellectual history of the old Society of Jesus, especially in the domain of science studies. This paper considers the Jesuits’ literary activities in France between 1620 and 1720, particularly the difficulties faced by those who sought to impose a new writing culture in the Society of Jesus and to create an intellectual apostolate. These efforts can be divided into two magnetic poles : scribal publication in the colleges on one hand, and the culture of the print market, on the other. First, this territory has been well mapped out by Michel de Certeau2 and Marc Fumaroli3 and by historian of books such as Henri-Jean Martin4. More recently, several historians tried to rethink the definition of jesuit authorship and the deployment of writing activity in the Society of Jesus as Alain Viala, Christian Jouhaud did5. Based on the examination of the literary activity of Father Richeome, Pierre-Antoine Fabre proposed to displace the famous interrogation of Michel Foucault in the Jesuit studies, by asking : “ What is a jesuit Author  ? ”6. The trouble of Jesuit literary apostolate have been emphasized by the development of corporate-style contexts inside the Society and the integration of Jesuit writers to the cultural field during the seventeenth and early eighteenth Centuries. We try to examine this tension between two economics of authorship7.

  • By describing how those who acquired the status of scriptor, I will sketch the institutional framework of the Order, to assess the relative importance of intellectual work inside the Congregation and the place of written culture.

  • The second part of the paper focuses on how the collaboration between jesuit teachers and publishers produced a scholarly literature and new figures of the author in a provincial context. Through a case study of the Trinity college of Lyons, this paper explains how literary activities were incorporated into a Jesuit and local community.

  •  Finally, the paper will demonstrate the fragility of the apostolate through an examination of the multiplication of antijesuit polemics at the beginning of the Eighteenth Century in France.

The emergence of scriptores inside the Order in France

4Among scholars interested in the constitution of an institutional literary space inside jesuit communities, a major area of investigation concerns the status of the scriptor in the French Assistance. Examination of catalogs has produced many insights through three principal lines of research. One uses the records of personnel annual catalogs to generate a geography of scriptores. The second component deals with the trajectories of Jesuit scriptores. And the third tries to understand the diferents modalities of integration within the religious community. This research has sought to answer questions concerning the development of efficent literary space in the Society of Jesus.

  • 8  Adrien Démoustier, “ La distinction des fonctions et l'exercice du pouvoir selon les règles de la (...)
  • 9 . For the data, see Archives des Jésuites de France (Vanves), Fonds Champagne, pour la province de (...)

5The rise of scriptor is not a straightforward linear trend ; it is complex and varies considerably over time8. Examinations of annual catalogs from the French provinces in four years, 1620 ; 1660 ; 1690 and 1720, have stressed the weakness of the cohort : only 5 jesuits in 1620  ; four in 1660  ; two in 1690 ; and seven in 17209. They were more concentrated in colleges than in other houses such as missions, professed houses or noviciate. Moreover, the geography of scriptores outlines the importance of large colleges in Bordeaux, Paris, Lyons, and Toulouse. Jesuit scriptores were also present in the frontier regions such as Montpellier and the Saintonge, on the boundary between catholics and protestants. Finally, the attraction of Paris became more pronounced during the eighteenth century, when the majority of scriptores resided in the college of Clermont. There, we can follow the increase of this activity. In the sixteenth century, personnel catalogs do not mention any scriptores. The first indications date from 1606, three years after their return to Paris. During the first part of the century, the number of scriptores remained low (two or three each year). The reign of Louis XIV brought a notable growth : five scriptores from 1667 to 1679 ; 12 to 15 between 1712-1718 ; and from 1742 to –the expulsion, there were between 10 and 14. In Lyons, Trinity college did not achieve the same level. The years between 1635 and 1725 produced only one new post annually, save for a long interruption between 1635 and 1665. The year 1710 brought a remarkable peak of four scriptores. The results thus constitute a case study in the evolution of an institutional literary activity in the French Assistance, emphasing the role of cumulative, small-scale change and of a centralisation of scriptores in the capital, with little significant literary activity in provincial France. Despite the increase of scriptores during the seventeenth century, the geographic distribution appears to have been limited to the large colleges that concentrated financial resources and intellectual tools (such as libraries, observatories, and laboratories).

  • 10  For Paris, see Gustave Dupont-Ferrier, La vie quotidienne d'un collège parisien pendant plus de 35 (...)

6For Paris and Lyons, we can propose a statistical profile10. First, the age at which scriptors took on their responsibilities varies. In the college of Clermont, based on 70 cases studied, the ages were very high : 19 per cent between 31and 38 years ; 41 per cent from 40 to 49 years ; and 34 per cent from 50 to 69 years. In Lyons, Father Claude-François Menestrier became a scriptor at 69 years old after he had published 130 books. Moreover, duration of office was no more stable. In Paris, 18 per cent of jesuits were scriptores for only one year ; 35% from 2 to 5 years ; and 30% remained more than ten, including fathers Fronton du Duc and Dominique Bouhours who kept their offices 18 and 32 years respectively.

7How did they carry on this responsibility in the community ? In the Trinity college, on one hand, scriptores status was associated with the library, and most also held the office of spiritual director, such as Jean Croiset or Théophile Raynaud who were also directors of the marian congregation of Messieurs. A few were teachers. The activity of a scriptor could also be integrated into the administrative responsibilities of writing annual letters, correspondence and catalogs to help the rector or provincial director in the college. In Paris, by contrast, literary work was much more independent and considered as a stage in the cursus honorum to the highest responsibilities inside the Order.

  • 11  éloge du Révérend Père de La Chaize, confesseur du roy, fait et prononcé par Mr de la Boze secréta (...)
  • 12  M. Biagioli, “ Aporias of Scientific Authorship. Credit and Responsability in Contemporary Biomede (...)

8The partial identification of the literary jesuit activity with the status of scriptor had several consequences in the organisation of the jesuit community. First, comparison of Lyons and Paris suggests that, during the seventeenth century, the status of the author was increasing. Father Menestrier, in a long speach dedicated to Father La Chaise in 1669, underlined the strength in Lyons of a “ community of pious men of letters ” in the college. The legitimacy of Jesuit intellectual production emphasized and gave dignity to certain words such as scriptor and, consequently, to the individuals, institutions or practices they designated. At the same time, the triennal catalogs or the annual letters records the list of printed books, giving an internal visibility to this activity. Overall, the inquiry points to a corporative pattern of literary apostostolate as revealed by the circulation of biographical material on Jesuit men of letters in the obituaries, which in turn contributed to a collective jesuit sense of authorship. This ethos is marked by the representation of Ignace as a dominant figure of a writer (we can see the influence on Father Louis Richeome) and by a new pattern based on the academic world11. Jesuit authorship is caught between two complementaries economics of textual production12. Moreover, credit and responsability have been differently defined, joined or separated in different disciplines. Some scriptores who were engaged in scientific activities tried to sustain a corporate identity and collective vision as investigators of natural phenomena. They asserted their corporate identity through textual models, as Florence Hsia has shown in her study of Lettres édifiantes from China edited by Parisian scriptores.

The publishing Invention of Jesuit writers in the French provinces

9In a second part, I would like to pay more attention to a provincial and local publishing context during the reign of Louis XIV. I have choosen Lyons as a site of observation of this cultural dynamics, because it remains during the Seventeenth and the Eighteenth Centuries one of the most important european center of diffusion of the jesuit written production.

10The establishment of the scriptor’s status represents a first stage in the legitimization and the institutionalization of literary activity in the society of Jesus. As a site for the production and diffusion of knowledge, the jesuit college became little by little a writing workshop. Beyond the publishing strategy of the Society of Jesus, the diffusion of Jesuit books across the European print market from Lyons made possible new authorial strategies less dependent on the Order. For some scholars, the works themselves provide indicators of the birth of jesuit autorship. In fact, some authors in the Jesuit college participated in the physicial production of their books : Father Claude-François Menestrier in his correspondence with historian of the Duke of Savoy, Samuel Guichenon gave a lot of informations about the work of publishers on his manuscripts, and the negociation with engravors.

  • 13  J. D. Mellot, L’édition rouennaise et ses marchés (vers 1600-vers 1730). Dynamisme provincial et c (...)
  • 14  Arch. départementales de Lyon (ADR), 3 E 3155, 18 october 1669.
  • 15  Bibliothèque nationale de France (BNF), Fonds français, Ms. 99503, april 1687.
  • 16  B. Blasselle, Antoine et Horace Molin, libraires lyonnais (1630-1710), mémoire de l'ENSB, sous la (...)

11To understand the figure of the Jesuit writer, we must first consider the editorial context in Lyons in the second part of the seventeenth century. The provincial printing and bookselling trades were in a deep economic crisis, resulting from the royal policy of direct editorial control and from the lack of writers producing works to print. The concentration of literary life around the Versailles Court polarised writers in Paris. In Rouen and Lyons, printers pursued different editorial strategies to overcome this crisis, including the publication of unauthorized editions to diversify their commercial offerings and of new writers who could stimulate the local market13. Some tried to draw authors’ attention to Lyons. For example, the printer Claude Bourgeat sent his son to Spain to acquire manuscripts  ;14 Laurent Anisson asked the same of Mabillon in Italy. In a letter adressed to the scholar Du Cange in 1687, Jacques Anisson asserted that writers do not come to Lyons15. In this context, Jesuit communities based in urban colleges could provide a stable group of writers and new recruits for provincial publishers. Printers such as Cardon, Pillehotte, Anisson or Borde made their fortune in the first part of the century thanks to Jesuit spiritual books published in French in Lyons. Until 1640, new publishers such as Guillaume Barbier, Benoît Coral or Antoine Molin16 counted on science, philosophy and literary production. This very particular moment in the history of French publishing set the technical foundations for collaboration between publishers and jesuits in French provincial capitals, where colleges supported literary activity.

  • 17  D. Julia, “ Livres de classe et usages pédagogiques ”,in Histoire de l'édition française, s.d. H.- (...)
  • 18  On the case of Father Menestrier, see S. Van Damme, “ Les livres du P. Claude-François Ménestrier (...)

12Three features characterised the Trinity College’s print production during this period. First, the growth of production – quite significant between 1650 and 1670 -- did not fit into traditional bibliographical categories. In fact, we can note a decline of religious scholarship and positive theology, as embodied in the work of Théophile Raynaud. Spiritual literature founded on the new religious devotion appears in the books of Father Paul Du Barry or Father Jean Croiset. Second, the study of rhetoric, and Latin, but also Heraldic, History or Theater, broadened the scholarship production17. The variety of print can be explained by the desire of the Order to adapt its production to the local urban culture and by the necessity to answer the commercial demands of publishers18.

  • 19  H. Love, Scribal Publication in Seventeenth Century England, Oxford, Oxford Press, 1993.
  • 20  D. de Colonia, Tragédies et œuvres meslées, Lyon, 1697 (BNF : Yf 3644-3648).
  • 21  Folard, Œdipe, tragédie, Parie, Josse, 1722, (BNF : Yf 6599).

13The increase of book production and technical collaboration with publishers led to a new social identity of the writer within the Jesuit community. The specialization and hierarchical organization of the literary activity between scriptores and writers seems to be significant. In the first group, Jesuit scriptores, the ordinary pratices of writing, such as letters or administrative catalogs, as well as scribal publication,19 helped maintain a network of correspondence among provincial colleges without a strict textual authority, within which texts could circulate anonymously. In the other group, “ writers, ” the wide-scale circulation of books through commercial exchange introduced different pratices of authorship. The abundance of college plays confirmes for us the change of status in Lyons. The rhetoric teacher, through the use of editions of complete works, became a true dramatic author, as in the cases of Father Dominique de Colonia20 or Father Melchior Follard21, who won fame for his tragedy Œdipe in 1722 and his pamphlet against Voltaire. Moreover, some jesuit writers, such as Father François de Saint-Rigaud, mathematics professor and correspondent of Constantin Huygens, left important manuscripts unpublished. Of the 82 authors who published 527 books at the Trinity college of Lyons between 1630 and 1720, only sixteen published more than seven titles in their lives. Even fewer published more than ten titles : Fathers Honoré Fabri, C.-F. Ménestrier, Théophile Raynaud, François Pomey, Jean de Bussière and Dominique de Colonia.

  • 22  For example, we can follow the article on Father Raynaud in Dom Alexis Gaudin [ A. Tricaud], Abrég (...)
  • 23  On these new models, see J.-C. Bonnet, Naissance du panthéon. Essai sur le culte des grands hommes(...)
  • 24  M. Follard gained 1200 livres with the publication of his play, see Correspondance entre Monsieur (...)

14The transformation of Jesuit literary activity generated two consequences for the collective identity of the group. First, Jesuit writers in Lyons gained greater and greater acceptance in periodicals and dictionnaries22 published at the beginning of the Enlightenment, thus became well incorporated into the collective memory of the Republic of Letters23. Second, in their collaboration with publishers, Jesuit writers, especially in Rouen and Lyons, established sufficient reputations to be able to negotiate more favorable terms with the publishers of their works24.

Negociating the role of a jesuit author : The fragility of the literary apostolate at the eve of the eighteenth Century

15But, we must not over-emphasize the stability of literary apostolate. To counter balance this image, I would like to present three points that demonstrate the fragility of such apostolate. One of the goals of this last analysis is to examine one of the earliest signs of the end of the consensus and the growing difference of opinion about the nature and boundaries of jesuit authorship.

Censorship and printing market

16First, the process of publishing a text subjected it to multiple institutions of control and censorship which constrained Jesuit literary activity.

  • 25  ARSI (Roman Archieves of Society of Jesus), Fondo Gesuitico, 660-673 II.
  • 26  ARSI, GAL. 46 I-II.
  • 27  ARSI, LUGD. 8-II, fol. 580, Lettre au Pomey, le 19 janvier 1660. Le P. Pomey envoie son livre au G (...)
  • 28  J.-F. Malatra, Specimen Theologiae duodecim libris comprenhensae quibus ad calcem accedent aliqui (...)

17This process appears to have exerted a particularly powerful control on Jesuit writers ; sources within the Roman Archives of the Society of Jesus, both in the Censora librorum in the Fondo Gesuitico25, and in the correspondence between the Faher General and major French publishers26 demonstrate the centralization of control. Between 1613 and 1672, intense exchanges among Horace Boissat (5 letters), Horace and Jacques Cardon (22 letters), and Sebastien Cramoisy (48 letters) in Paris demonstrate that Paris and Lyons seem to have become increasingly dominant centers for book printing in Europe. To wit, in a letter of 1663, the Father general asked Horace Boissat to send books from Lyons to Spain. In the provincial correspondence, we also find this kind of intervention by the father general -- changes to the title of a book27 or corrections in the margins of the proofs [or manuscript], especially in doctrinal texts28.

  • 29  S. Van Damme, “ Le collège, la cité et les livres : stratégies éducatives jésuites et culture impr (...)
  • 30  A. Celladei, De Recta Doctrina morum, quatuor libris distincta, Lyon, Pierre Chevalier, 1670. Born (...)
  • 1
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18Nevertheless, a study of provincial letters in one year (1697) outlines that only a few letters focused on publishing questions, and none of the correspondence took place between January and April, when the learning activity was most intense . This system of control led some authors to develop clandestine strategies of diffusion29. For example, Michel de Elizade, a Spanish writer who tried to publish clandestinely his book, De Recta doctrina morum (1670) in Lyons under the pseudonym of Antoine Celladei. Seven-hundred and fifty (750) copies were printed before superiors could stop him30. Roman sources on censorship complete impression given by provincial sources. Three hundred and fourty-five (345) Jesuit books have been discovered to have been censored in Lyons between 1640 and 1730. This control was particularly strong between 1631 and 1680  : 81 books censored between 1631-1654 ; 128 : 1654-1665 ; 46 : 1670 et 1679 ; 59 : 1680-1699 ; 16 : 1700-1740. Furthermore, we can observe several changes in the practice of censorship  : the delegation of censorship to provincial authorities after 1650 and the extension of censorship to scribal production. As a consequence of this policing of books, philosophical publishing declined in Lyons. The case of the Society of Jesus, particularly well-documented in this respect, make it possible to draw several conclusions. This case is evidently not isolated, and instead reflects internal transformations in the conditions surrounding the production of knowledge. Even without plunging into the Society of Jesus’ institutions involved in the control of publishing, it is possible to remark that they experienced a major transformation in 1652 during the tenth general congregation in Rome. Faced with the concerns of certain teaching communities who worried about what attitude to adopt towards Cartesian philosophy, the General Congregation in 1661 initiated a vast study concerning the constitution of a list of prohibited opinions, culminating with the publication by the 15th General Congregation (1705) of a catalogue of thirty propositions whose teaching was prohibited, and which took aim at Descartes’ and Malebranche’s philosophy31. In Lyon, a report addressed by father Daugières to the Father General in 1706 listed troublemakers and organized a veritable purge of the province’s Jesuit philosophers32. But, the obstacles restricting the circulation of Cartesian philosophy inside the Society of Jesus necessitates also overcoming the simple opposition between dissimulation and resistance on the one hand, and norms and constraints on the other, which informs most analyses. In addition, it is important not to generalize too rapidly concerning the effectiveness of prohibitions. The traditional historiography of jesuit anti-Cartesianism has tirelessly invoked sources like legislative texts or polemical writings which were systematically produced at moments when consensus between the authorities and Cartesians circles collapsed, and likewise has failed to reflect on the modes of communication adopted by the two sides, as well as on the forms of negotiation which made up the ordinary practice of controlling printing and producing knowledge inside the Order. Through this practices, we understand also the device of interessement and of mobilization of numerous allies, to build a constraining network of relationship.

From patronage to urban audience

  • 33  BNF, Fonds français, Ms. 17400, fol. 36-v°, lettre du Père Jean Ferrand, 18 février 1661, à Chalon (...)
  • 34  P. Blet, “ Le chancelier Séguier, protecteur des jésuites et l’assemblée du clergé de 1645 ”, Arch (...)
  • 35  S. Van Damme, “ Un écrivain jésuite et ses patrons au xviie siècle : le père Claude-François Ménes (...)

19Moreover, Jesuit writers had to present their books to the Chancelor for a royal approbation. Here the emphasis was on the political ties of Jesuit writers, as evident in an inquiry found in the correspondence of Chancelor Seguier.33 Such letters suggest that a Jesuit elite established credibility within royal institutions of control by obtaining the Chancelor’s protection34. Indeed, to read dedications of these books confirms that ordinary pratices of patronage supported writers in the Society of Jesus in France. In Lyons, one-hundred and fifty-four (154) texts were dedicated to such local institutions as the corporation of city or to aristocrats. Father Menestrier, from whom we have 69 dedications, mobilized several networks to publish his books35. In a manuscript entitled “ L’idée de l’estude d’un honnête homme ” studied by art historian Judy Loach, we can examine one of these strategies which consist to justify their written activity by giving reading material for cultural courses toward the adult congregationalists how best to exploit any available literature, from a strictly Catholic perspective. These urban congregation became one of the important public for jesuit writers during the 17th and 18th Centuries.

  • 36  Harold J.Cook et David S.Lux, “ Closed circles or open netwroks ? : Communicating at a distance du (...)
  • 37  Archives du Musée Condé (Chantilly), Papiers du Grand Condé, série P. ; C. Jouhaud, “ Politique de (...)
  • 38  P. Burke, La fabrication de Louis XIV, Paris, Gallimard, 1995 and G. Sabatier, Versailles ou la fi (...)
  • 39  M. Callon, “ Some element of a sociology of translation ”, in M. Biagioli eds, op. cit., p. 79.

20On one hand, the cultural practice of literary protection often brought people together in tight circles of interaction36. On the other hand, dedications could also open up the closed circles of local colleges to include a wider variety of powers at court. For example, in the archives of the Prince of Condé and the Duke of Nevers37 we find many letters by Jesuit writers from Lyons seeking protection. At the highest levels, a few French Jesuits maintained political ties to the King and loyalty to the Pope during the Affair of Regale38. But, this consensus and the social alliances which the network implies can be contested at any moment39.

Utility and freedom ? The spiritual justication of the apostolate

21Finally, a third element influenced Jesuit publication strategies : the multiplication of polemics about the legitimacy of the literary apostolate within the Society of Jesus. In short, the protagonist asked : did the Order need a group of Jesuit writers ? The answer was not clear, even at the dawn of the eighteenth Century, as seen in three final examples.

  • 40  BNF, Ld 39.

22First, in response to the five-hundred and fifty-three (553) pamphlets against the Jesuits printed between 1560 and 1769 (and conserved in the Bibliothèque nationale de France)40, several discourses of justification defended the instrumentalisation of the writing culture towards the other apostolate (mission, teaching) and the autonomy. This corpus is very interesting by its composition first because it shows the mobilization of large type of written practices (from religious and apologetical writings to fiction) ; also by the spatial deployment of the controversy, from a local conflict, within a single neighborhood to a national debate. For example, the localized conflicts between Father Ménestrier and the scholar Claude Le laboureur in the neighbourhood of Les Terreaux in Lyons in 1658 on the best heraldic expertise, emerges into a full-blown political polemic, implicating a diverse array of elements (jansenist, patriotical). Moreover, in this huge corpus, there is a chronological dispersion, which emphasizes the very brief, intense period in which these struggles and tensions emerged. The controversy is all the manifestations by which the representativity of jesuit authors is questioned, discussed, negociated or rejected.

  • 41  François de Dainville, “ Projet d'un corps d'écrivains à Toulouse en 1712 ”, AHSI, 7, 1938, p. 285 (...)
  • 42  ARSI, Lettres des Généraux aux provinciaux de Toulouse, p. 178, cité par Dainville, “ Projet d'un (...)

23Second, the failed attempt to establish a scriptores group in the Toulouse college in 1712, due to an insufficiency of money and learned persons, shows the difficulties of the order faced in generalizing from Parisian experience41. In a letter published in 1938 by the jesuit historian François de Dainville, we can follow the interrogation of the Order on the necessity to maintain such activity. In march 1712, the Father General Michel-Angelo Tamburini asked to the provincial visitor, Father Jean-Joseph Guibert, to see the conditions to settle a group of writers in the college of Toulouse. This document, which is a very rare example among documents in the jesuit archives, demonstrates the double evolution of the Society of Jesus. First, this letter highlights the link between the Roman center and the provincial peripheries, by showing that the center was not exclusively in Rome, but also in Paris. The Society had, by this point, integrated the new cultural pattern. In fact, in 1669, the Father General Oliva already had forbidden Toulousian jesuits to travel to Paris without permission42. Through the catalogs, we can measure the intensity of this mobility inside the French Assistance, particularly concerning Toulouse, Champagne and Lyon.

24In these general recommandations, the Father general described the procedure for selecting a group of writers. Among the criteria, we see an emphasis on local, financial patronage. Father Mourgues received from the capitoulat, a pension of 600 livres each year. A second criterion refers to the “ publishing reputation ” of the author. This category played a crucial role, and the Father General insisted that “ common writers ” be excluded and the group include only qualified men of letters who had exclusively participated in collectives works. Through this criterion, he wanted to build an intellectual group with a very strong public identity. In fact, in the wake of the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church sought to reconquer Catholics, at least as much as “ conquer Prostestants ” in this area. The jansenist movement, which was very significant in Toulouse, further justified this strategy.

  • 43  Jacques Philippe Lallemant (1660-1748), auteur de vingt-six ouvrages, a entretenu une correspondan (...)
  • 44  S. Van Damme, “ Ecriture, institution et société. Le travail littéraire dans la Compagnie de Jésus (...)
  • 45  Honoré Gaillard (1641-1727), fut précepteur du prince de Turenne, avant d’entamer une carrière de (...)
  • 46  Catherine Mary Northeast, The Parisian Jesuits and the Enlightenment : 1700-1762, Oxford, Voltaire (...)
  • 47  Consultes tenues au Collège Louis-le-grand pendant la visite du P. Provincial en l’année 1708, Par (...)

25Third, even in Paris, in 1719, the situation became ambiguous when a polemic between Father Honoré Gaillard representing the college of Clermont and Father Jacques Philippe Lallemand43, a member of scriptores group of the Maison profess of Paris, raised the problem of the control of publishing and of Jesuit scriptores in the French capital44. He opposed Father Honoré Gaillard45, rector of the college Louis-Le-Grand. This confrontation by letters was arbitrated by the Father General in Rome. Through it, we can see a generalization of a local conflict which expressed the condition of autonomisation of written activities inside the society of Jesus. Catherine Northeast in her book Parisian Jesuit and the Enlightenement46 has described the context of this polemic at the beginning of the eighteenth century. In 1708, the Father provincial Delaistre wished to give up the jesuit participation to the jansenist controversy in Paris. That same year, a meeting was organised in the College of LLG, with the Parisian scriptores, to put an end to the polemics.47 The periodical Mémoires de Trévoux, founded to respond to Protestant publications in the Low Countries, also changed its orientation. New authors who were not directly involved in the Kansenist controversy, joined the board of Mémoires de Trévoux : Father Claude Buffier, François Catrou, or Etienne Souciet. After the publication of the Papal Bulle Unigenitus, the Father General Tamburini asked Parisian scriptores to give an expert opinion on theological questions.

  • 48  Archives des Jésuites de France (AJF), collection Prat, t. 78, lettre du P. Gaillard, recteur du c (...)
  • 49 Sur la question des modèles de correspondance, voir L. Giard, “ Introduction (aux lettres et instru (...)

26The rector of college LLG, Honoré Gaillard48 wanted to control the group of scriptores in the Profès House of the street saint Antoine. According to him, they contravened the common life of the jesuit community by reading and buying forbidden books49. In fact, their practices were very similar to the norms of the scientific exchange in the Republic of Letters described by Ann Golgar. These practices would have been contrary to the ideal of reserved, Jesuit communication.

  • 50  Henk Hillenaar, Fénelon et les jésuites, La Haye, Nijhoff, Publications de la IVe section de l’EPH (...)
  • 51  Barthélemi Germon (1663-1718), auteur d’un Traité théologique sur les 101 propositions énoncées da (...)
  • 52  Jacques Longueval (1680-1735) professa cinq ans les humanités à Amiens et à la Flèche, quatre ans (...)
  • 53  Pierre Claude Fontenai (1683-1742) collabore aux Mémoires de Trévoux, et il a en particulier signé (...)
  • 54  Michel Languedoc (1670-1742) professa la philosophie, la théologie morale et positive. Entre 1718 (...)

27Father Lallemant tried to defend his scriptores with three justifications of their activity50. First, the Society of Jesus needed them because of the jansenist controversy  ; second their biblical erudition  ; third, their publication of scolarly books. Beside Lallemant, we find les PP. Barthélemi Germon51, Jacques Longueval52, Pierre-Claude Fontenai53, Michel Languedoc54, Thomas Dupré, Rodolphe Du Tertre. Lallemant denounced the contradiction of Gaillard discourse :

Je scay que l'idée du P. Gaillard est qu'il n'y ait point d'escrivains dans la Compagnie, mais seulement des prédicateurs, des confesseurs et des régens. Heureusement, ce Père n'est pas le maître chez nous pour y établir son ridicule système. Il l'appuie sur ce que les écrivains font des affaires à la Compagnie. Mais les prédicateurs ne luy en font-ils point ? Elle donne des censeurs aux écrivains, c'est de quoi remédier au mal. Elle est obligée d'abandonner les prédicateurs à leur discrétion ; et souvent elle ne s'en trouve pas mieux. Je pardonne du reste au P. Gaillard de faire cas du mestier de prédicateur, dont il a scu si bien profiter en tout sens, mais qu'il en fasse grâce aux pauvres écrivains, qui communément mène une vie dure et peu agréable. Après tout, les sermons passent et les bons livres demeurent. L'histoire du P. Daniel et d'autres ouvrages seront lus lorsqu'on ne sçaura seulement s'il y a eu un P. Gaillard au monde.

28This polemic enables us to study a recurrent tension inside the society of Jesus, between the loss of spirituality resulting from the extension of apostolic field, and the withdrawal from intellectual activity into the more legitimate ones of education and mission. Already in the last decades of seventeenth century, most important jesuit writers at the Court, such as Father Bouhours or Father Menestrier, complained about the judgment of their superior. At the end of the polemic, Father Gaillard obtained satisfaction, and the group of scriptores was dissolved.

  • 55  BNF, Nouvelles Acquisitions Françaises, Ms. 11364, “ Anecdotes du journal depuis 1720 ” : c’est un (...)

29To conclude, the failure of the Toulousian project, the multiplication of polemics on literary activities, and the crisis of the Memoires de Trévoux in 172055 all underline the fragility of this new apostolate. These three, final points remind us of difficulties of adapting apostolate to modernity. The twin economics of jesuit authorship shows the impossibility of understanding their literary work as a separate activity inside the community. The book of father Daniel Bartholi, Dell’Huomo di lettere in 1645, and reprinted nineteen times in Italian between 1645 and 1689, and was translated into English, German, Castian, and Latin and French in 1769, stresses the dignity of the career of letters and promoted a broaden pattern. In fact, the Society of Jesus adapted its spirituality and its institutions to the literary field as we can say in the bourdesian interpretation of the birth of professional writer. But, at the margins of the litterary field, the question of the limits of this apostolate is still in debate during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The identity of jesuit men of letters was frequently negotiated in this period in Europe. The actors studied were confronted with different types of uncertainties and worked incessantly to forge alliances and to stabilize their practices for a certain location at a particular time. This methodological choice through which the Old Regime’s society is rendered as uncertain, lead to consider the jesuit institution or the jesuit power in the city as a process before it is a result.

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Notes

1  R. Chartier, “ Avant-propos ”, A. Messerli et R. Chartier (dir.), Lesen und Shreiben in Europa., Bâle, Schawabe, 2000, p. 12.

2  Especially, in M. de Certeau, “ Le dix-septième siècle français ”, in Les jésuites. Spiritualité et activités. Jalons d'une histoire, Paris, Beauchesne, 1974, p. 71-109 ; et Id., La Fable mystique, 1, xvie-xviie siècle, Paris, Gallimard, 1982 et Id., “ Les aventures de Jean-Joseph Surin ”, in Jean-Joseph Surin, Les triomphes de l’amour divin sur les puissances de l’Enfer et Science expérimentale des choses de l’autre vie, Grenoble, Jérôme Millon, 1990, p. 421-437.

3  M. Fumaroli, L'âge de l'éloquence. Rhétorique et res literaria de la Renaissance au seuil de l'époque classique, Genève, Droz, 1980.

4  H.-J. Martin, Livres, pouvoirs et société à Paris au xviie siècle, Genève, Droz, 1969.

5  A. Viala, Naissance de l’écrivain. Paris, Seuil, 1985 ; C. Jouhaud, “ La Doctrine curieuse des beaux esprits de ce temps ou la méthode de François Garasse ”,in Les Jésuites à l’âge baroque, sous la direction de L. Giard et L. de Vaucelle, Grenoble, Jérôme Millon, 1996, p. 243-260 ; Id., Les pouvoirs de la littérature. Histoire d’un paradoxe, Paris, Gallimard, NRF-Essais, 2000.

6  P-A. Fabre will finish a book on Father Louis Richome, see P.-A. Fabre, “ Les Constitutions ont-elles un auteur ? ”, in Ignace de Loyola, écrits, traduits et présentés sous la direction de Maurice Giuliani, Paris, Desclée de Brouwer-Bellarmin, 1991, p. 387-388. M. Foucault, “ What is an Author ? ”, Donald F. Bouchard (ed), Language, Counter-Memory, Pratice, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1977.

7  On these two economics, see R. Chartier, “ L’homme de lettres ”,in L’homme des Lumières, sous la direction de M. Vovelle, Paris, Ed. du Seuil, 1997, p. 159-209 and Id., “ Culture écrite et littérature à l’âge moderne ”, Annales HSS, juillet-octobre 2001, n° 4-5, p. 783-802.

8  Adrien Démoustier, “ La distinction des fonctions et l'exercice du pouvoir selon les règles de la Compagnie de Jésus ”, in L. Giard (dir.), Les jésuites à la Renaissance. Système éducatif et production du savoir, op. cit., p. 3-34.

9 . For the data, see Archives des Jésuites de France (Vanves), Fonds Champagne, pour la province de Champagne, A 1, A 10, A 38, A 68 ; pour la province d'Aquitaine, A 302, A 305, A 308, A 311 ; pour la province de France, A 537, A 540, A 554, A 564 ; pour la province de Lyon, A 804, A 809, A 818, A 812 ; pour la province de Toulouse, A 1055, A 1058, A 1061, A 1063.

10  For Paris, see Gustave Dupont-Ferrier, La vie quotidienne d'un collège parisien pendant plus de 350 ans : du Collège de Clermont au Lycée Louis-le-Grand, Paris, De Boccard, 1921, t. 1, p. 59-62, et t. 3, pp. 31-38 et 126 ; and for Lyon, see S. Van Damme, Savoirs jésuites, culture écrite et sociabilité urbaine à Lyon (1630-1730), thèse, Université de Paris I, 2000, chapitre 3.

11  éloge du Révérend Père de La Chaize, confesseur du roy, fait et prononcé par Mr de la Boze secrétaire perpétuel de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Médailles, le 9 avril 1709, avec la lettre circulaire sur la mort du R.P. de La Chaize, confesseur du roy, Paris, Veuve L. Vaugon, 1709 (BNF : Ln27 10772).

12  M. Biagioli, “ Aporias of Scientific Authorship. Credit and Responsability in Contemporary Biomedecine ”, in M. Biagioli (ed.), The science Studies Reader, Londres, Rootledge, 1999, p. 12-31.

13  J. D. Mellot, L’édition rouennaise et ses marchés (vers 1600-vers 1730). Dynamisme provincial et centralisme parisien, Paris, école des Chartes, Mémoires et documents de l’école des Chartes, n° 48, 1998 et S. Legay, “ Les frères Cardon, marchands libraires à Lyon, 1600-1635 ”, Bulletin du bibliophile, 1991, 2 ; Id., Un milieu socio-professionnel : les libraires lyonnais au xviie siècle, Université Lumière-Lyon II, 1995.

14  Arch. départementales de Lyon (ADR), 3 E 3155, 18 october 1669.

15  Bibliothèque nationale de France (BNF), Fonds français, Ms. 99503, april 1687.

16  B. Blasselle, Antoine et Horace Molin, libraires lyonnais (1630-1710), mémoire de l'ENSB, sous la direction de J.M. Dureau et H.J. Martin, 1979, p. 26-73.

17  D. Julia, “ Livres de classe et usages pédagogiques ”,in Histoire de l'édition française, s.d. H.-J. Martin and Roger Chartier, Paris, 1990, t. II, p. 634-635 ; P. Palasi, Du collège au jeu de cartes : l'enseignement du blason en France au xviie et xviiie siècles, thèse, école Pratique des Hautes études, 1998.

18  On the case of Father Menestrier, see S. Van Damme, “ Les livres du P. Claude-François Ménestrier (1631-1705) et leur cheminement ”, Revue d'histoire moderne et contemporaine, 42-1, janvier-mars 1995, p. 5-45.

19  H. Love, Scribal Publication in Seventeenth Century England, Oxford, Oxford Press, 1993.

20  D. de Colonia, Tragédies et œuvres meslées, Lyon, 1697 (BNF : Yf 3644-3648).

21  Folard, Œdipe, tragédie, Parie, Josse, 1722, (BNF : Yf 6599).

22  For example, we can follow the article on Father Raynaud in Dom Alexis Gaudin [ A. Tricaud], Abrégé de l’histoire des sçavans anciens et modernes, avec un catalogue des Livres qui ont servi à cet abrégé de l’histoire des sçavans, Paris, N. Le Gras, N. Le Clerc et J. Edouard, 1708, in-12, p. 242-244 (BNF : G 23832) or Pierre Bayle, Dictionnaire historique et critique, nouvelle édition, Genève, Slatkine Reprints, 1969 (éd. 1820-1824), tome XII, p. 429-443.

23  On these new models, see J.-C. Bonnet, Naissance du panthéon. Essai sur le culte des grands hommes, Paris, Fayard, “ L’esprit de la cité ”, 1998.

24  M. Follard gained 1200 livres with the publication of his play, see Correspondance entre Monsieur de Saint Fonds et Laurent Dugas, publiée par W. Poidebard, Lyon, 1900, p. 199.

25  ARSI (Roman Archieves of Society of Jesus), Fondo Gesuitico, 660-673 II.

26  ARSI, GAL. 46 I-II.

27  ARSI, LUGD. 8-II, fol. 580, Lettre au Pomey, le 19 janvier 1660. Le P. Pomey envoie son livre au Général qui lui demande en réponse de modifier son titre avec l’aide du P. Provincial.

28  J.-F. Malatra, Specimen Theologiae duodecim libris comprenhensae quibus ad calcem accedent aliqui tractatus ad universam theologiam pertinentes, Lyon, J. Thioly, 1698.

29  S. Van Damme, “ Le collège, la cité et les livres : stratégies éducatives jésuites et culture imprimée à Lyon (1640-1730) ”, Littératures classiques, n°30, automne 1999, p. 169-184.

30  A. Celladei, De Recta Doctrina morum, quatuor libris distincta, Lyon, Pierre Chevalier, 1670. Born in 1635 en Espagne, Michel de Elizalde teached theology à Valladolid, Salamanca and Roma. See C. Sommervogel, Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus…, op. cit., III, col. 382. On this affair, ARSI, LUGD. 9-I, fol. 238v, letter to P. La Chaise du 4 février 1670 ; fol. 241, letter to P. La Chaise du 18 mars 1670 ; fol. 243, letter 1er april 1670 to P. Bertram Bras.

33  BNF, Fonds français, Ms. 17400, fol. 36-v°, lettre du Père Jean Ferrand, 18 février 1661, à Chalon-sur-Saône.

34  P. Blet, “ Le chancelier Séguier, protecteur des jésuites et l’assemblée du clergé de 1645 ”, Archivum historicum Societatis Iesu, XXVI, 1957, p. 177-198.

35  S. Van Damme, “ Un écrivain jésuite et ses patrons au xviie siècle : le père Claude-François Ménestrier ”,in Mécènes et collectionneurs. Lyon et le Midi, sous la direction de J.-R. Gaborit, Paris, édition du C.T.H.S, 1999, p. 47-62.

36  Harold J.Cook et David S.Lux, “ Closed circles or open netwroks ? : Communicating at a distance during the Scientifice Revolution ”, History of Science, XXXVI, 1998, p. 179-211.

37  Archives du Musée Condé (Chantilly), Papiers du Grand Condé, série P. ; C. Jouhaud, “ Politique de princes : les Condé (1630-1652) ”, in L’état et les Aristocraties, France-Angleterre-écosse, xiie-xviie siècles, Paris, Presses de l’Ecole Normale supérieure, 1989, p. 335-355 et K. Beguin, Les Princes de Condé. Rebelles, courtisans et mécènes dans la France du Grand Siècle, Seyssel, Champ Vallon, 1999.

38  P. Burke, La fabrication de Louis XIV, Paris, Gallimard, 1995 and G. Sabatier, Versailles ou la figure du roi, Paris, A. Michel, 1999.

39  M. Callon, “ Some element of a sociology of translation ”, in M. Biagioli eds, op. cit., p. 79.

40  BNF, Ld 39.

41  François de Dainville, “ Projet d'un corps d'écrivains à Toulouse en 1712 ”, AHSI, 7, 1938, p. 285-291

42  ARSI, Lettres des Généraux aux provinciaux de Toulouse, p. 178, cité par Dainville, “ Projet d'un corps d'écrivains à Toulouse en 1712 ”, op. cit., p. 291. Par ailleurs, les suppléments des catalogues annuels qui recensent les jésuites placés hors de leur province d'origine confirment cette peur de la fuite des intellectuels toulousains : alors qu'en 1622-1623, ils ne sont que 2 sur 9 à venir de Toulouse, en 1709-1720, ils sont 7 sur 25. AJF, Fonds Champagne, catalogue annuel de la province de France, A 537, A 564.

43  Jacques Philippe Lallemant (1660-1748), auteur de vingt-six ouvrages, a entretenu une correspondance avec Fénelon et a eu une activité intense de controversiste ; il est l’auteur des Réflexions morales avec des Notes sur le Nouveau Testament traduit en françois, Paris, Le Comte et Montalant, 1713, 4 vol., voir C. Sommervogel, op. cit., T ; IV, col. 1387-1400.

44  S. Van Damme, “ Ecriture, institution et société. Le travail littéraire dans la Compagnie de Jésus en France (1620-1720) ”, Revue de Synthèse, 4e série, n° 2-3, avril-septembre 1999, “ Les jésuites dans le monde moderne. Nouvelles approches ”, p. 261-285 ; Henk Hillnaard, Les jésuites et Fénelon, La Haye, Nijhoff, 1967 ; C. Northeast, The Parisian Jesuits and the Enlightenment : 1700-1762, Oxford, Voltaire Foundation, 1991.

45  Honoré Gaillard (1641-1727), fut précepteur du prince de Turenne, avant d’entamer une carrière de prédicateur à la cour entre 1702 et 1716. Il fut ensuite recteur du collège de Paris. Il a publié sept titres, pour l’essentiel des éloges funèbres, voir C. Sommervogel, op. cit., t. III.

46  Catherine Mary Northeast, The Parisian Jesuits and the Enlightenment : 1700-1762, Oxford, Voltaire Foundation, 1991.

47  Consultes tenues au Collège Louis-le-grand pendant la visite du P. Provincial en l’année 1708, Paris, 1761, p. 94 (BNF : 8-Z-Le Senne- 13870), cité par C. Northeast, op. cit., p. 4.

48  Archives des Jésuites de France (AJF), collection Prat, t. 78, lettre du P. Gaillard, recteur du collège de Paris au Général, 22 mai 1719, p. 173-174.

49 Sur la question des modèles de correspondance, voir L. Giard, “ Introduction (aux lettres et instructions) ”, in Ignace de Loyola, Ecrits, traduction sous la direction de Maurice Giuliani, Paris, Desclée De Brouwer, 1991, p. 619-627, et Dominique Bertrand, “ Correspondance et pouvoir. Le réseau international de saint Ignace de Loyola ”,in Du groupe au réseau, réseaux religieux, politiques, professionnels. Textes réunis et présentés par Philippe Dujardin, Paris, CNRS, 1988, p. 39-52.

50  Henk Hillenaar, Fénelon et les jésuites, La Haye, Nijhoff, Publications de la IVe section de l’EPHE, 1967, p. 277-278.

51  Barthélemi Germon (1663-1718), auteur d’un Traité théologique sur les 101 propositions énoncées dans la bulle Unigenitus, Paris, 1722.

52  Jacques Longueval (1680-1735) professa cinq ans les humanités à Amiens et à la Flèche, quatre ans la théologie positive et l’Ecriture sainte. Il prit part à la querelle autour du jansénisme, par son Traité du schisme (1718) qui lui valut une affectation en province. Il a publié cinq titres : voir C. Sommervogel, op. cit., t. IV, col. 1935.

53  Pierre Claude Fontenai (1683-1742) collabore aux Mémoires de Trévoux, et il a en particulier signé le compte rendu de l’Histoire gallicane du P. Longueval, voir C. Sommervogel, op. cit., t. III, col. 855.

54  Michel Languedoc (1670-1742) professa la philosophie, la théologie morale et positive. Entre 1718 et 1728, il fut chargé de la bibliothèque du collège de Paris, il est par ailleurs l’auteur des notes insérées dans les cinq premiers volumes des Réflexions morales avec des Notes sur le Nouveau Testament traduit en françois, op. cit.

55  BNF, Nouvelles Acquisitions Françaises, Ms. 11364, “ Anecdotes du journal depuis 1720 ” : c’est un récit des turbulences qui agitent les Mémoires de Trévoux. Il fut rédigé vraisemblablement par le R.P. Castel. Il a été éditée : Jean Sgard et Françoise Weil, “ Anecdotes des Mémoires de Trévoux ”, Dix-huitième siècle, VIII, 1976, p. 193-204.

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Stéphane Van Damme, « Education, Sociability and Written Culture : the case of the Society of Jesus in France », Les Dossiers du Grihl [En ligne], Les dossiers de Stéphane Van Damme, Blumenthal lectures, mis en ligne le 27 juin 2007, consulté le 27 avril 2017. URL : http://dossiersgrihl.revues.org/752

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Stéphane Van Damme

Stéphane Van Damme est chargé de recherche au CNRS, affecté depuis 2003 à la Maison Française d’Oxford où il est responsable du programme d’histoire des sciences. à partir de septembre 2007, il sera Associate Professor in French Modern History au département d’histoire de l’université de Warwick (Grande-Bretagne). Il anime le groupe de recherche sur Savoirs et capitales européennes. Il a publié trois livres : Descartes. Essai d’histoire culturelle d’une grandeur philosophique (2002) ; Paris, capitale philosophique de la Fronde à la Révolution (2005) ; Le temple de la sagesse. Savoirs, écriture et sociabilité urbaine (Lyon, 17-18e siècles) (2005). Il vient d’éditer en collaboration avec Nicolas Offenstadt, Luc Boltanski, Elisabeth Claverie une enquête collective sur la forme affaire, Affaires, scandales et grandes causes. De Socrate à Pinochet, Paris, éditions Stock, 2007.

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