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Prosper Marchand, auteur et éditeur

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In 1736 the collection of books and MSS. of the French bibliophile Prosper Marchand, comprising no fewer than 77 MSS. and 2700 printed books, was bequeathed to the University Library of Leiden. Prosper Marchand was born on 11 iMarch 1678 in the village of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, where he also spent his early youth. The Marchand family subsequently moved to Guise and Prosper went to school in Versailles. In 1693 he became a bookseller's apprentice in Paris, and on 1 August 1698 he was enrolled as a member of the Paris booksellers' guild. He then opened a bookshop of his own in the Rue Saint Jacques and quickly managed to turn it into a true centre for booklovers. However, having become a Protestant, he had to leave France in 1709, and he fled to The Hague where he continued his old trade. He then went to Amsterdam, where he started a bookshop in 1711, and later to Rotterdam, but finally settled in The Hague in c. 1723. As from 1713, however, he had given up the trade in order to be able to devote himself to his various studies and other activities: as a result of this he became one of the editors of the famous Journal littéraire. He died in The Hague on 14 June 1756. The most famous fruits of his pen are without doubt his Histoire de l'origine et des premiers progrès de l'imprimerie (The Hague, Vve Levier, 1740) and his Dictionnaire historique ou mémoires critiques et littéraires concernant la vie et les ouvrages de divers personnages distingués particulièrement dans la République des lettres (The Hague 1758-9). The latter work was published posthumously by Jean-Nicolas Sebastien Allamand. Marchand also edited several works by other authors; a chronological list of these may be found in the above article. If one takes into consideration the nature of Marchand's activities both as a journalist and as a letter-writer, one cannot but admit that he was an erudite man of great accomplishment.


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