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Acknowledgments

 

An author of a book on authorship, I am especially conscious of the many individuals and institutions that have contributed to this project without becoming recognized as its "author." I am therefore pleased to acknowledge them here.
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Financial support came from several institutions. In the early stages of work on this project in its days as a doctoral dissertation, I enjoyed support from Columbia University's Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Department of History, and Institute on Western Europe. Thereafter, I received funding from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas's University Faculty Travel Committee, from the University Research Committee, and from the Department of History, as well as release time from the College of Liberal Arts. My work was also aided by a research fellowship from the Bibliographic Society of America, a Summer Seminar stipend from the National Endowment of Humanities, and a generous grant from the American Historical Association, with sponsorship from the Mellon Foundation, as part of the Gutenberg-e prize.
 

Financial sponsorship alone cannot confer the legitimacy or the personal satisfaction that comes to an aspiring writer from attentive mentors, supportive brokers, and friendly colleagues. From my earliest attempts to conceive the topic as a doctoral dissertation to the final editorial stages of the book, I have benefited from the confident guidance, helpful insights, warm support, and broad historical imagination of Isser Woloch. Likewise, Priscilla Ferguson offered early and consistent guidance and support. Robert Darnton first suggested to me that "literary careers are really made in the theater," then later offered helpful advice on revising the doctoral dissertation into a book, and finally suggested ways to address questions of eighteenth-century French cultural historiography in an electronic monograph. While conducting doctoral research in France, and in the years since, I have greatly benefited from the generous and warm guidance of Roger Chartier and Martine de Rougemont, who helped me identify sources and make sense of them. During the post-doctoral year I spent at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University—the place where I first learned about the potentials and perils of electronic publishing—Jack Censer inspired me with his warmth, energy, and knowledge. Throughout the process of writing and revising this book, Jeffrey Ravel has offered limitless advice and nearly unstinting support, responding with patience, enthusiasm, and humor at moments when I myself despaired of ever seeing it through. My one-time faculty mentor and colleague at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Lawrence Klein, shared his intellectual confidence, insights into cultural history, and calm dedication. I hope they each find in this book some element of their own contributions to it.
 

In researching this book, I accrued debts to numerous librarians and archivists. Alice de Beaumarchais afforded me access to the Beaumarchais Family Archives. Donald C. Spinelli provided me with reproductions and transcriptions of additional Beaumarchais documents, as well as prompt responses to numerous research queries. At the Bibliothèque de la Comédie Française, Noëlle Guibert, Jacqueline Razgannikoff, and Joël Huthwohl repeatedly welcomed me. Bénédicte Rouvière at the Bibliothèque de la Comédie Française, Alain Chevalier of the Musée de la Révolution Française, and Lilliane Gondel of the Musée Carnavalet each helped secure reproductions of and permissions for images from their respective collections. The reference specialists at the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, and Columbia University's Butler and Avery libraries helped me locate printed and visual sources in their collections.
 

I would also like to acknowledge those who read or heard parts of this work and offered encouraging and helpful feedback. Continually over the last four years, my colleagues in the UNLV Department of History have read and discussed my work with me, and I am especially grateful to Raquel Casas, David Tannenhaus, Paul Werth, and Elizabeth White; to my former colleague, Chris Rasmussen; and to my chair, Joseph A. Fry. They have made Las Vegas a special place for me. At a crucial point in the summer of 2000, when I was restructuring the manuscript, a group of French history colleagues and good friends—Megan Armstrong, Hilary Bernstein, Michael Breen, and Sara Chapman, hosted by Jim Collins and Mack Holt—gathered for a weekend of intense discussion of each other's work; I am grateful for their input, and particularly to Megan, Sara, and Michael for their longstanding friendship and confidence. At a later stage, J. B. Shank, Dan Brewer, and Juliette Cherbuliez of the University of Minnesota's "Theorizing Early Modern Sovereignty" Group provided helpful comments and a warm welcome, despite what unexpectedly became difficult circumstances. In France, I learned much from opportunities over the past ten years to participate intermittently and to present occasionally my work in Roger Chartier's seminar at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, and in Daniel Roche's seminar, first at the Institut d'histoire moderne et contemporaine and later at the Collège de France. Alain Viala and Christian Jouhaud, both individually and later through their jointly-directed Groupe de recherche interdisciplinaire sur l'histoire littéraire, have provided direction and inspiration; I am particularly grateful to the GRIHL members for offering a welcoming and intellectually sophisticated venue in which to discuss the "power of literature" and the "posture" of gens de lettres. Finally, during my two stints at Reid Hall, I admired and benefited from the professionalism, intellectualism, and humane warmth of Danielle Haase-Dubosc and Mihaela Bacou, who helped me negotiate the institutional culture of Parisian archives, libraries, museums, and universities and lent freely of their linguistic skills, historical knowledge, and other resources.
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Many others at various moments provided helpful insights, suggested useful references and sources, gave careful readings, and helped make this a book worth writing (and, I hope, reading). They are so numerous, and the process has been so long, that I cannot thank them all, but I am particularly grateful to Sara Beam, David Bell, Paul Cohen, Michael Cristofferson, Anthony Crubaugh, Mark Darlow, Karen Droisen, Paul Friedland, Ann Goldgar, Dena Goodman, Jack Iverson, Peg Jacob, Colin Jones, Nira Kaplan, Jeremy Popkin, Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall, Peter Shoemaker, John Shovlin, Charles Steinwedel, Geoffrey Turnovsky, and Charles Walton. Certain individuals made personal and intellectual contributions far beyond those that even the most stringent adherence to norms of honnêteté would require. Pierre Frantz generously shared his extensive knowledge of eighteenth-century French theater, his boundless enthusiasm for intellectual sociability, and his personal support and sustenance. Antoine Lilti read successive drafts of chapters, provided extensive references and creative ideas, unstinting support, and countless insights into French intellectual sociability of the eighteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Cécile Vidal provided critical comments on drafts, boosted my confidence many times when it flagged, and shared moments that will stay with me long after what is said in this book has been forgotten. Special thanks also to Amy Freund, for her invaluable assistance in attributing and interpreting authors' portraits and in revising the final chapters. Thanks are due as well to Rori Bloom, Susan Burgerman, Rüdiger Hilmer, Sarah Kelen, Maud Mandel, Robert Nemes, Mark Potter, Siofra Pierse, David Wrisley, and Edna Yahil, who have been consistent readers, supporters, friends, and occasional roommates or hosts in my many travels. I am grateful as well to Dan Bubb for his reliability and diligence as a research assistant and to Hélène d'Orèye for her editorial aid with the documents that appear in the appendix.
 

Like aspiring playwrights of the later eighteenth century in their encounters with the Comédie Française, academic writers of the early twenty-first century face something of a double bind in their encounters with university presses. It is therefore a special pleasure to acknowledge the vision, energy, and commitment of Kate Wittenberg and the staff of the Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia, especially Sean Costigan and Gordon Dahlquist, and Robert Saunders and Pillarisetti Sudhir of the American Historical Association, for their able supervision of the Gutenberg-e program.
 

Finally, my most heartfelt thanks are to my family. My uncle, Joel Schwartz, and my cousin, Judy Schwartz Campion, and their families have come to my aid in so many ways; they repeatedly opened their homes to me (and my books), and have been consistently enthusiastic and confident in their support. Even more so, my sister, Deborah Brown, and her husband, Jefrey Polock, have lent me their apartment and provided inspiration in making long journeys. I thank most of all, and dedicate this book to, my first, best, and most consistent patrons and protectors, my parents, Gloria and Ashley Brown.
 

Las Vegas, March 2002

 

 

A Field of Honor: Writers, Court Culture and Public Theater
in French Literary Life from Racine to the Revolution