God's Plagiarist: Being an Account of the Fabulous Industry and Irregular Commerce of the Abbe Migne

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More About This Textbook


God's Plagiarist is an entertaining account of the abbe Jacques-Paul Migne, one of the great entrepreneurs of the nineteenth century. Tracing Migne's life between 1840 and 1870, a period of robust economic growth in France, Howard Bloch reveals how the abbe Migne founded one of the most extensive publishing ventures of all time. Migne harnessed a will of iron and boundless personal energy to the latest innovations in print technology and marketing. Most famous for his massive 469-volume edition of the Church Fathers, Migne was the founder of the Ateliers catholiques of Paris and owned a total of ten newspapers during the course of his life. Bloch shows how closely Migne's activities in the newspaper world coincided with his editing and marketing of the Church Fathers. He sold the Fathers by means of advertising and merchandising ploys so creative and modern that Bloch is able to link Migne and his methods to the rise of wholesale exchange and large department stores in Paris. Migne's assembly-line production and innovative pyramid sales schemes placed him a the forefront of France's new commerce. And yet, Migne had a lengthy police record and was characterized by the police as one of the great "schemers" of the century. This priest-entrepreneur put the most questionable of business practices in the service of his devotion to Catholicism. He was run in for bribery, hounded because of irregularities in the licensing of his papers, and continually being sued for plagiarism. He employed priests who could not find work elsewhere and paid them such low wages that they were considered a constant source of political unrest. Migne trafficked illegally in masses and frequently reprinted editions that were not in the public domain. Despite his years under police scrutiny, he does, however, appear to have been a saintly schemer, whose activities on the margin of the law were motivated by a greater good. Part detective novel, part mortality tale, Bloch's narrative not only
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226059716
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1995
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 162
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The Abbe and the Police 1
2 Plagiarism and the Press 23
3 Advertisements for the Self 41
4 Piracy and Patrology 58
5 Migne and Money 78
Conclusion: Le Bon Marche and the Ateliers Catholiques 113
Notes 129
Index of Names 149
Subject Index 151
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