Nicolas Chesneau, Catholic Printer in Paris during the French Wars of Religion

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  2. Dr Luc Racaut
Author(s)Racaut L
Publication type Article
JournalThe Historical Journal
ISSN (print)0018-246X
ISSN (electronic)1469-5103
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This article explores the activities of Nicolas Chesneau, a Parisian printer active between the beginning of the French Wars of Religion and the League. While printing in the Protestant sphere has received a great deal of historiographical attention, the influence of Catholic printing on opinion forming during the French Wars of Religion remains comparatively misunderstood. Nicolas Chesneau was a militant Catholic printer whose activity responded to commercial and political pressures but also reflects a personal commitment to Catholicism. Evidence drawn from Chesneau's epistles and bibliography reveals personal relationships with authors, other printers, and patrons. Chesneau's production answered growing demand for news and religious instruction for the laity, a phenomenon that is only beginning to be understood. Analysis of his output reveals the influence of the cardinal de Lorraine who was determined to use the vernacular book to pursue his agenda of reform, often in the face of institutional opposition from the crown, the parlement, and the University of Paris. The end of Nicolas Chesneau's career is marked by a shift towards expensive in-folio books that proved to be less profitable than the short in-octavo works that distinguishes his production during the first decade of the French Wars of Religion.
PublisherCambridge University Press
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