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The Atheist’s Bible

Caroline Warman


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1Thank you very much to very many people and institutions. I’ve been working on this project for so long that practically everybody I know is owed a thanks.

2Firstly, to the Leverhulme Trust for a research fellowship in 2018-19 that allowed me to write the second half of this book, and to those many colleagues at Oxford who supported and facilitated my application to the Leverhulme. Thanks again to the Leverhulme for allowing me to divert some of my research funds into developing the connected digital edition.

3Thank you to Jesus College for its general support and quite specifically for its Major Research Grant Fund that has helped publish this book and also supported the work on the digital edition. Its Postgraduate Assistant Scheme allowed me to hire Rebecca Menmuir to do essential work on the footnotes and bibliography: many thanks to her. At Jesus, I would also like to thank my close colleagues Kirstin Gwyer and Katrin Kohl, as well as Alessandra Aloisi who took charge of French at Jesus in the year that I was away. Thanks to all my students past, present, and future for their enthusiasm and engagement. You are great.

4Thank you to the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages and the University of Oxford for their multi-facetted support, including for employing me in the first place, but also for awarding me an EHRC Fellowship in 2016-17, which allowed me to write the first draft of Chapter 4.

5Thank you to OpenBook Publishers for their flexibility with respect to my work, and for their vision more generally, and in particular to Managing Director Alessandra Tosi and Editors Adèle Kreager and Melissa Purkiss. I am proud to publish with OBP.

6Thank you to the librarians of the Taylorian Institute in Oxford, particularly Joanne Ferrari, Nick Hearn, and Emma Huber, to Coline Gosciniak, conservatrice responsable de la bibliothèque Carnegie et des fonds patrimoniaux de la BMC de Reims, and to Guillaume Fau, conservateur en chef et chef du service des manuscrits modernes et contemporains of the Bibliothèque nationale de France’s Département des manuscrits.

7Thank you to the amazing digital editor and curator Stacey Herbert, who conceptualised and realised the digital edition of Naigeon’s Mémoires.

8Thank you Cressida Bell for your wonderful artwork.

9Thank you to all those who invited me to give papers at your seminars or conferences, and thereby helped me push this work forward. Here I should particularly cite Peter Cryle and Elizabeth Stephens of the University of Queensland, John D. Lyons of the University of Virginia, Pascal Nouvel and Annie Petit of the Université de Paul-Valéry Montpellier, and, at Oxford, Nicholas Cronk and Avi Lifschitz’s Enlightenment Workshop, Pietro Corsi’s History of Science Seminar, and my own personal crucible, the Early Modern French Seminar, held at the Maison française d’Oxford.

10Laura Mason (John Hopkins University) and Yann Robert (University of Illinois at Chicago) let me see unpublished work of theirs, and thereby helped me hugely. Fervent thanks to them: you will find their books in the bibliography.

11Thanks to Colin Jones, Michael Moriarty, and François Pépin for generously agreeing to write endorsements for this book. I hope they aren’t regretting it!

12Thanks to all my colleagues at the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, or BSECS as it’s known, for keeping my feet on the eighteenth-century ground! One wouldn’t have thought that co-organising a week-long International Congress of the Enlightenment for upwards of 1,500 scholars would have been conducive to finishing a book, but so it has turned out to be.

13Thank you very much to my august colleague Roger Pearson for coming up with the title. I wish I could have come up with something half so nifty by myself. Mine would have been incomprehensible and probably at least 50 words long.

14Thank you to the two anonymous readers of this monograph for two things: firstly and most crucially, for agreeing that it could be published, and secondly, for making some very constructive suggestions about how to improve it.

15Thank you also to my two non-anonymous readers. Kate Tunstall found time to read it (how?), and made some brilliant suggestions. Even though I didn’t act on all of them, I still thought they were brilliant, and I thank her for her thought and attention, this year of all years, but also, that said, over all the years I’ve known her. Kate, chapeau! Susannah Wilson also read the whole thing, gave it her seal of approval, and cheered me on throughout. The weekly target meetings we had during our joint Leverhulme year were the best fun. Thank you, Susannah!

16Thank you to Ilya Afanasyev for his companionable and steady remote presence during the writing of this book and for introducing me to the writer Sergei Dovlatov, whose narrator’s solution for connecting two otherwise disconnected parts of a narrative was a constant source of inspiration (if you’re interested, see Pushkin Hills, trans. Katherine Dovlatov, Alma Classics, 2013, p. 38). I hope Dovlatov would have found it funny that he has had such profound influence on a scholarly monograph.

17Thank you to all the people, dear colleagues, friends and family, with whom I have had conversations which were crucial door-opening moments. Thank you also to all those who read sections of this book and generously gave comments, either helpfully encouraging or helpfully discouraging (both being equally important!). They may not remember when they did this or what they said (this goes back nearly 15 years), but I do, and I’m very grateful. They are Pietro Corsi, Mario Cosenza, Andrew Curran, Hugh Doherty, Alexeï Evstratov, Finn Fordham, Viola Fordham, Katherine Gerson, Matthew Grenby, Marian Hobson, Rupert McCracken, Isabelle Moreau, Neil Kenny, Richard Parish, François Pépin, Bénédicte Prot, Mariana Saad, Richard Scholar, Ruggero Sciuto, Stéphane Schmitt (via Pietro Corsi), Catriona Seth, Alain Viala, Alexandre Wenger, Richard Whatmore, and Gustav Zamore. I am looking forward to plunging into Mario Consenza’s study of Naigeon, All’ombra dei lumi (Naples: FedOAPress, 2020) and discovering all the ways in which my own research could have benefitted from his. One of these people, and I’m not saying who, suggested that I plan the writing of this book in the same way that he would set about building a mine. I tried to use this advice.

18Thank you to those people who have made it possible for me to work and function in other equally fundamental ways. Thank you Sarah Perry, thank you Hania Porucznik. Thank you Davide Antilli and Eleanor Sunley. Thank you also to my French teacher from school, Jennifer Milner. Everyone needs a good French teacher. Thank you to my family: Finn, Leo, and Viola Fordham, Christopher and Mary Warman, Elizabeth Warman, Marc Zyngier, Eric and Joyce Willcocks, Simon Birks, Max Fordham, Taddy Fordham RIP, Cato Fordham, Ann Maher, Milo Fordham. I would also like to thank Rachel Flather. Darlings, the lot of them. To my husband Finn I say: is it ok if I dedicate the next book to you? I feel a slim volume of poems coming on.

19To Leo and Viola Fordham, this work is, with their permission, most respectfully dedicated by their dutiful and obedient humble servant, the author, their mother.


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