Mellon Foundation grant for Voltaire Foundation

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant of $704,000, for a period of 18 months, will enable the preliminary phase of Digital Scholarly Editions of the European Enlightenment (Digital Enlightenment).

Building on the Voltaire Foundation’s existing expertise in producing print critical editions, this project will explore the challenges of producing high-quality scholarly editions digitally. In the first phase, we will produce digital prototypes of critical editions of Voltaire (based on the Complete Works of Voltaire, now near completion on paper) and d’Holbach (a born-digital edition).

‘These editions will set a benchmark for best practice in the field, and promote a revaluation of the digital critical edition,’ said Professor Nicholas Cronk, Director of the Voltaire Foundation.

‘The long-term aim of Digital Enlightenment is to create a digital resource containing definitive and interconnected scholarly editions that will have a transformative effect in Enlightenment studies.’

François-Marie Arouet (1694 – 1778), better known by his pen name Voltaire (which he adopted in 1718) was a French Enlightenment writer – a member of the intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 18th century.
Renowned for his wit, Voltaire produced works in many forms, including plays, poems, novels, essays and historical and scientific works and over 20,000 letters, often criticising intolerance and religious dogma.
The Complete Works of Voltaire, currently published by the Voltaire Foundation at the University of Oxford, is the first scholarly critical edition of the totality of Voltaire's writings arranged chronologically. Theodore Besterman (1904 – 1976), the bibliographer and translator who started the project, only lived to see the first two volumes published.
The Voltaire Foundation is a world leader for eighteenth-century scholarship. Alongside the Complete Works of Voltaire, the foundation also published the Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment. Since August 2018 this series is being published in partnership with Liverpool University Press.

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