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Clersellier, Claude

1. Dates
Born: 1614
Died: 1684
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 70
2. Father
Occupation: Government Official
His father was adviser and secretary to the king, and to Marguerite l'Empereur.
The family is said to have been distinguished but not wealthy. I take this to mean at least affluence.
3. Nationality
Birth: France
Career: France
Death: France
4. Education
Schooling: No University
no information.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic (assumed)
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Scientific Communication
His fame rests solely on his unswerving admiration and boundless devotion to Descartes.
Clerselier was responsible for the first edition of the French translation of the Meditations (1647); He himself translated the "Objections" and the "Reponses." He completely revised and corrected the second edition (1661). After Descartes' death he published three volumes of Lettres (1657- 1667). In 1659 he brought out in the same volume L'homme and the Traité de la formation du foetus. In 1667 he published a second edition, to which he added Le monde ou Traité de la lumière, based on the original manuscript.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Personal Means, Law, Government
In 1630 he married Ann de Virlorieux, who brought a considerable dowry.
He was a counsel (avocat) to the Parlement of Paris and proxy for Pierre Chanut, treasurer general of Auvergne, who had been sent to Sweden by the king as his representative.
8. Patronage
Type: Government Official
This is my interpretation of the position as proxy.
9. Technological Involvement
Types: None
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
Relationship with Descartes. He devoted himself to publishing Descartes' works (see above). Descartes himself said of Clerselier that Clerselier had been "at once his translator, his apologist, and his mediator."
  1. Charles Adam, "Clerselier éditeur des lettres de Descartes 1557- 1559-1567", Séances et travaux de l'Académie des sciences morales et politiques, 145 (1896), p.722-54.
  2. Rene Descartes, Oeuvres, Charles Adam and Paul Tannery eds., Paris, 1896-1913, esp. Correspondence, passim.
  3. Hoefer, Nouvelle biographie générale, (Paris, 1857-66), 10, 846- 7.
  4. Dictionnaire de biographie Française, 8, 1524.
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.

©1995 Al Van Helden
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