Returning to the study of historical thought has been particularly fulfilling in retirement. Daring to write about a work as monumental as de Thou's History from a translation, and a quite unfamiliar century of French history at that, required a post-professional state of mind. Without the works by Samuel Kinser and Ingrid De Smet constantly at hand, I would certainly have lost my way.
Discussions with learned friends ended quickly, because none had done more than read de Thou to find what he said on a point or an event. With drafts of chapters in hand, I turned for help to Frederick Baumgartner, Stuart Carroll, Mack Holt, Françoise Hildesheimer, Jotham Parsons, J.G.A. Pocock, Nancy Struever and Charles Duff. Their readings helped reduce the number of errors and the lack of clarity in my prose. I thank them all for their learned friendship and help. For what errors remain, I am responsible.
The person who helped me the most at every step in this de-Thou reading is Patricia M. Ranum, lifetime collaborator, friend and spouse. I am sincerely grateful as I dedicate these chapters to her. With grace and speed, Amy Kimball, of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library, brought up from the reserve, several times, approximately two dozen folio and quarto volumes of de Thou. The online edition of the Histoire Universelle, now part of the collections of the Boston Public Library, comes from the library of John Adams.
January 20, 2015