Category Archives: Editing letters

Reblogged – Conference report: Probleme digitaler Erfassung und Edition von Briefwechseln – Theologenbriefwechsel im Südwesten des Reichs in der Frühen Neuzeit (1550-1620)

Report by Max Graff, Forschungsstelle Theologenbriefwechsel im deutschen Südwesten 1550-1620, Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften

Anfang 2017 wurde an der Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften die Arbeit an einem neuen Langzeitprojekt aufgenommen. Die Forschungsstelle „Theologenbriefwechsel im Südwesten des deutschen Reichs in der Frühen Neuzeit (1550-1620)“ erfasst, dokument und ediert die Korrespondenzen der führenden Theologen der Kurpfalz, Württembergs und Straßburgs.[1] Am 22. und 23. März 2017 fand in Heidelberg ein Arbeitsgespräch mit Experten aus dem Bereich der Digital Humanities sowie Mitarbeitern von thematisch und/oder zeitlich ähnlich ausgerichteten Forschungsprojekten statt.

In seinem Eröffnungsvortrag umriss der Forschungsstellenleiter CHRISTOPH STROHM (Heidelberg) Intention und Relevanz des neuen Vorhabens. Obwohl gerade Briefe eine besonders aufschlussreiche Quelle für die Erforschung der Motive und Mechanismen jener Prozesse seien, die ab der zweiten Hälfte des 16. Jahrhunderts grundlegend für die Entstehung der modernen europäischen Gesellschaften waren, würden die mehrheitlich handschriftlich überlieferten Korrespondenzen von Theologen des 16. und frühen 17. Jahrhunderts von den Digitalisierungsprogrammen kaum erfasst. Dem Narrativ, das den Weg in die Moderne einseitig als Prozess der fortschreitenden Säkularisierung erklärt, habe die Forschung in den letzten Jahrzehnten besonders in Bezug auf die Zeit von 1550-1620 ein Modell entgegengestellt, das von einem vielseitigen Ineinander von Säkularisierung und Konfessionalisierung ausgeht – ein Vorgang, der auch in der heutigen gesellschaftspolitischen Situation in Teilen der Welt von großer Aktualität ist. Die Theologen nahmen in dieser Entwicklung eine Schlüsselrolle ein – weshalb gerade ihre Korrespondenz zu erforschen sei. Die konfessionelle Konstellation im Südwesten des Reichs mache dieses Gebiet als Untersuchungsraum besonders attraktiv. Im ökonomisch und kulturell starken Zentrum Mitteleuropas herrschte eine äußerst produktive innerprotestantische Konkurrenzsituation: Das lutherische Herzogtum Württemberg (mit der einflussreichen Universität Tübingen) exportierte sein Modell ins gesamte Reich; die calvinistisch-reformierte Kurpfalz mit der Universität Heidelberg als intellektuellem Zentrum schuf die Grundlage für die Verbreitung des Calvinismus in ganz Europa und darüber hinaus. Straßburg schließlich folgte zunächst einem an der auf Ausgleich bedachten Theologie und Kirchenpolitik Martin Bucers orientierten Modell, bevor sich auch hier die lutherische Variante durchsetzte. Zudem fanden die ersten Bemühungen um innerprotestantischen Ausgleich im Südwesten statt (schon 1534 mit der württembergischen Konkordie, die zur Grundlage der Wittenberger Konkordie wurde). Schließlich haben die beiden großen späten protestantischen Bekenntnisse – der Heidelberger Katechismus (1563) und die Konkordienformel (1577) – hier ihren Ursprung.

To continue reading click here.

[1]http://www.haw.uni-heidelberg.de/forschung/forschungsstellen/thbw.de.html(17.05.2017).


Citation of report: Tagungsbericht: Probleme digitaler Erfassung und Edition von Briefwechseln – Theologenbriefwechsel im Südwesten des Reichs in der Frühen Neuzeit (1550-1620), 22.03.2017 – 23.03.2017 Heidelberg, in: H-Soz-Kult, 24.05.2017, .

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Correspondence of Enlightenment thinker reaches its 10th volume

Voltaire Foundation

Laurent Angliviel de La Beaumelle, portrait by Engelmann Laurent Angliviel de La Beaumelle, portrait by Engelmann

From his childhood in the rural region of Cévennes in south-central France, La Beaumelle became one of the great eighteenth-century polymaths, and his career took him as far afield as Geneva, Copenhagen, Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam. During his lifetime he distinguished himself as a translator of Horace and Tacitus; he was also an author, a journalist, a historian, and the editor of Mme de Maintenon’s Mémoires. He was a champion of tolerance and one of Calas’ foremost defenders, as well as a polemicist dreaded by Voltaire for his sharp critical eye and clever pen. He was, strikingly, the only Huguenot man of letters at the time.

His Correspondance générale de La Beaumelle, edited by Hubert Bost, Claude Lauriol and Hubert Angliviel de La Beaumelle, bears witness to contemporary social events and intellectual developments in politics, literature, philosophy, history and religion.

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Featured edition (II): Letters of William Godwin – Pamela Clemit – OUP

IMG_5811The Letters of William Godwin, Volume II: 1798–1805, expertly edited by Pamela Clemit (Durham), was published on 13 November 2014 by Oxford University Press.

According to the publisher’s description, ‘The first volume of William Godwin’s letters reflected the origins and impact of his great philosophical work, An Enquiry concerning Political Justice, and showed him at the height of his influence and reputation. This second volume […] reveals a less familiar person in different surroundings: a man still well-connected, attracting new friends and disciples, but increasingly embattled as a public intellectual, as a political radical, and as a professional author. The volume includes scores of texts newly transcribed from the original manuscripts and given scholarly annotation for the first time. […] The letters show [Godwin] responding to changes in public mood, seeking compromise in his philosophical commitments, and remaking himself as the author of novels, plays, biographies, and children’s books. […] They follow his quest, in the wake of the death of his first wife Mary Wollstonecraft, to find a new life-companion and mother for his two young children. […] They record irreplaceable losses, both public and private, and trace new beginnings in his intellectual and literary development, in his commercial ventures, and in his social and domestic life.’

IMG_5858 - Version 2

Some of these aspects of Godwin’s letters were explored more fully at a colloquium which accompanied the volume’s official launch on 18 November 2014 at Wolfson College, Oxford. The colloquium was chaired by Nicholas Halmi (Oxford) and included contributions from Mark Philp (Warwick), Jenny McAuley (Oxford), Jon Mee (York), and Pamela Clemit. Their papers discussed the shape of the volume as a whole, likening it to a Victorian multi-plot novel, and noting the continuing relevance of Godwin’s letters for modern readers (Clemit); Godwin’s courtship letters to Harriet Lee and Maria Reveley (Philp); the letters descriptive of places and persons which Godwin wrote home during his six-week visit to Ireland in 1800 (McAuley); and Godwin’s exchanges with some of his former political friends who turned against him at the end of the 1790s, notably Samuel Parr (Mee). The colloquium was attended by about 40 people and much enjoyed by all. A podcast of the papers given at the colloquium will be posted on Pamela Clemit’s blog early in 2015.

For more information about the edition as a whole, see Pamela Clemit’s blog and my earlier post.

What happens to the un-notable letters?

Rachael Scarborough King

The short profile in the New Yorker online of epistolary blog Letters of Note makes clear both the totemic status letters hold in our current media moment, and how aberrant an interesting standalone letter is. The blog features mainly celebrity letters and each one has to hold the reader’s interest (the most interesting have also now been collected into a book). The letter represents a form of communication thought to be dead or dying, re-vivified through both the Internet and the printed book.

Key quotes:

[Editor Shaun] Usher has an evident knack for selecting letters that land with the force of a good short story, with personalities and dramatic arcs emerging swiftly, from just a page or two. Many of the writers are famous people, caught in a moment of accessibility and rawness or off-the-cuff virtuosity.

The idea behind the Letters of Note project—that correspondence holds a rare communicative and…

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Featured edition: Letters of William Godwin – Pamela Clemit – OUP

Northcote portrait - Godwin JPGDespite the more recent and rising popularity of digital editions, ‘old-fashioned’ scholarly editions of letter collections remain indispensable.

The Letters of William Godwin, General Editor Pamela Clemit, 6 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011–), is such an edition. It publishes for the first time all the letters of this significant social thinker, novelist, and philosopher of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries’.

The first volume (1778–1797) was published in 2011 (you can read the introduction here); publication of the second volume (1798–1805) is expected in 2014.

For more information on this project and to keep up to date with regard to its progress see READ (Research in English at Durham).

The image below shows part of a letter by William Godwin (Bod. MS Abinger c. 9, fol. 34v). Pamela Clemit writes: ‘this letter is to James Wollstonecraft, one of Mary Wollstonecraft’s brothers, who was in the Navy, and is dated 3–5 September 1805. (He died on 19 September 1805 so it is not clear whether he received this letter.) The full annotated text will appear in volume II.

Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford: MS Abinger c. 9, fol. 34v Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford.

Further images of letters and other papers by Godwin can be found in the Bodleian Library’s Abinger Collection. It also contains correspondence of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and other letter writers.