Peiresc’s “History of Provence” and the Discovery of a Medieval Mediterranean is both a historical detective work—piecing together an utterly innovative research project of the 1620s—and a provocative argument, based on the painstaking reconstruction of Peiresc’s project. Peter Miller tells us that our understanding of the history of historical scholarship needs to be turned upside down. In the “how” and “why” of Peiresc’s scholarly practice and, in the thin but reconstitutable chain of those who understood and remembered him, we learn that far from disappearing, antiquarianism persisted as a major source of historical innovation and renovation, and that this continues up through the present time.
Peter Miller offers a provocative rewriting of the history of historical scholarship since the seventeenth century which is certainly worthy of further debate. His book gives us a novel perspective on Peiresc’s manuscripts and a detailed account of his working methods and influence.
Professor of Medieval History
Royal Holloway, University of London
Miller not only is the preeminent Peiresc scholar in the world, he also is one of the leading intellectual historians—both early modern and modern—of his generation. The work shows these skills in Miller’s grander questions of what an archive is and how research functions. This is a major contribution to the history of scientific, or historically scientific, method.
Professor of History