Jesuit historian, littérateur, and preacher; b. Paris, Dec. 28, 1659; d. there, Oct. 18, 1737. He was admitted to the Jesuit novitiate, Oct. 28, 1678, and during his studies he showed a marked ability for eloquence and literary expression. He preached with success at Rouen, Bourges, Tours, Orléans, Paris, and elsewhere for seven years. In 1701 he gave up this career to become the first editor of the Mémoires de Trévoux pour servir à l'histoire des sciences et des beaux-artes (often shortened to Journal de Trévoux ); he remained in this office for 12 years. The Mémoires continued in the hands of the Jesuits until their suppression in France (1762), by which time 265 volumes had been published. Articles by Joseph René Tournemine (1661–1739), Pierre François de Charlevoix (1682–1731), Guillaume François berthier, Charles Merlin (1678–1747), Étienne Souciet (1671–1744), Jean hardouin, Édouard Vitry (1666–1730), and others made it a powerful voice against Jansenists, Protestants, and the encyclopedists. In 1768 it was continued as the Journal des beaux-arts et des sciences, ed. Abbé Aubert (32v. 1768–75) and brothers Castilhon (18 v. 1776–78), and as the Journal de littérature, sciences et arts, ed. J. B. Grosier (6 v. 1779–82).
During these years Catrou began the research that prepared him for his three major historical works: Histoire général de l'Empire du Mogul depuis sa fondation (2 v. Paris 1705; Eng. tr. 1826); Histoire du fanatisme dans la religion protestante (2 v. Paris 1733), a study of several Anabaptist sects (parts published separately as Histoire des anabaptistes, Paris 1705) and Quakers; and Histoire romaine (21 v. Paris 1725–37). This last work,
though criticized often as more pompous than precise, had much influence. It was reedited by Pierre Rouillé, SJ (1737), with extensive notes and translated into English by R. Bundy (6 v. London 1728–37). It also became the basis for Nathaniel Hooke's (d. 1764) The Roman History from the Building of Rome to the Ruin of the Empire (4v. London 1757–71). Catrou's translation of Vergil, Les oeuvres de Vergile, traduction nouvelle … (Paris 1716), in spite of inaccuracies, was in wide use.
Bibliography: c. sommervogel et al., Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus, 11 v. (Brussels-Paris 1890–1932) 2:882–889; 8:227–229; 9:11–12. h. chÉrot, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 1903–50; Tables générales 1951), 2.2:2012–13. m. prevost, Dictionnaire de biographie française (Paris 1929), 7:1428. For the Mémoires de Trévoux, see g. dumas, Histoire du Journal de Trévoux depuis 1701 jusquén 1762 (Paris 1936). p. c. sommervogel, Table méthodique des Mémoires de Trévoux 1701–1775, 3 v. (Paris 1864–65). j. p. grausem, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 1903–50; Tables générales 1951), 15.1: 1510–16.
[e. d. mcshane]