Skip to main content

Cherselier, Claude

Cherselier, Claude

(b. Paris, France, 21 March 1614; d. Paris, 13 April 1684),

publication of scientific works.

Clerselier’s fame rests solely on his unswerving admiration of and boundless devotion to Descartes. The son of Claude Clerselier, adviser and secretary to the king, and of Marguerite l’Empereur, Clerselier was a counsel to the Parlement of Paris.

His sister Marguerite was married to Pierre Chanut, the French ambassador to Sweden, who brought Descartes to Queen Christina’s court. Through love of Cartesianism, Clerselier permitted the marriage of his daughter Geneviève to Jacques Rohault (whose Oeuvres postumes he published in 1682) even though the Clerseliers saw this marriage as a misalliance, Rohault being of a much lower social class. Clerselier’s fortune was very large—on 5 November 1630 he had married Anne de Virlorieux, who had brought him a considerable dowry. He was not at all miserly in publishing Descartes’s works and was even less sparing of his time and efforts.

Clerselier was responsible for the first edition of the French translation of the Méditations (1647); he himself translated the “Objections” and the “Réponses.” He completely revised and corrected the second edition (1661). After Descartes’s 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 1677 he published a second edition, to which he added Le monde ou Traité de la lumière, based on the original manuscript, which he had in his possession (the first edition of Le monde had been based on a copy).

In his zeal to defend Cartesianism, Clerselier was sometimes lacking in critical judgment; but without him a portion of Descarte’s work would be unknown to us. Descartes himself said of Clerselier, in regard to his quarrels with Gassendi, that Clerselier had been “at once his translator, his apologist, and his mediator.”

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Legal documents clarifying the kinship of Clerselier and Chanut are to be found at the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, Departement des manuscrits, pièces originales, 786. See also, “Extrait d’une lettre écrite à l’auteur de ces nouvelles,” in Nouvelles de la république des lettres (June 1684), 431–433; and “Observations de Monsieur Clerselier, touchant l’action de l’âme sur le corps. (Lettre à Monsieur de La Forge du 4 décembre 1660),” in Lettres de Mr Descartes, III (Paris, 1667), 640–646.

See also Charles Adam, “Clerselier éditeur des lettres de Descartes 1657–1659–1667,” in Séances et travaux de l’Académie des sciences morales et politiques, n.s. 45 (1896), p. 722; Pierre Bayle, “Dissertation où on défend contre les Peripatéticiens les raisons par lesquelles quelques Cartésiens ont prouvé que l’essence des corps consiste dans l’étenduë,” in Oeuvres diverses de Mr Pierre Bayle, 2nd ed., IV (The Hague, 1731), 109–132; and René Descartes, Oeuvres, Charles Adam and Paul Tannery, eds. (Paris, 1896–1913; new ed., rev., 1964–), esp. Correspondance, passim.

Joseph Beaude

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Cherselier, Claude." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Cherselier, Claude." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 23, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cherselier-claude

"Cherselier, Claude." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . Retrieved September 23, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cherselier-claude

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.