A review essay on Kenneth E. Carpenter’s, The Dissemination of the Wealth of Nations in French and in France, 1776–1843. Published for The Bibliographical Society of America. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2003. Pp. LXIII, 255. $45.00. The Wealth of Nations is bipolar work: on the one hand it is an important philosophical treatise; on the other, it is the founding text of the discipline of economics. This characteristic gives it a unique place among the “great books” of western culture. How did a book, written over two centuries ago by a pedantic, idiosyncratic college professor come to achieve this lofty status? Although nowhere explicitly stated by the author of the work under review, this question serves as a lightning rod for his bibliographic efforts. The focus bestowed on France is justified because the reception of The Wealth of Nations (hereafter, WN) in France mirrored, in most important aspects, its reception throughout Europe. Nevertheless, the opaqueness of this book’s title masks its most fascinating feature, namely, the manner in which Carpenter unfolds the complicated answer to this central question.
Hebert, R.F. (2004), " THE DISSEMINATION OF THE WEALTH OF NATIONS IN FRENCH AND IN FRANCE, 1776–1843CARPENTER’S", Samuels, W.J. (Ed.) A Research Annual (Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology, Vol. 22 Part 1), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 413-418. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0743-4154(03)22026-5
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