Digital Voltaire

Building on the Voltaire Foundation’s existing expertise in producing scholarly critical editions in print, Digital Voltaire aims to explore the challenges of producing high-quality scholarly editions digitally. In a first phase, we will produce digital prototypes of critical editions of Voltaire based on the Complete Works of Voltaire, a monumental publishing project in 203 volumes, due to be completed on paper at the end of 2021. 

Digital Voltaire’s main areas of research and development are two-fold: 

  1. Modelling the scholarly digital edition. In order to explore the possibilities of a definitive scholarly digital edition, we are prototyping Voltaire’s texts based on the Complete Works of  Voltaire.  Digital Voltaire is an archival edition and as such participates in an editorial logic of remediation, in contrast to Digital d’Holbach, which is also part of the larger Digital Enlightenment project, but a born-digital edition. These projects are all part of the Voltaire Lab, a virtual space for fostering digital experimentation with eighteenth-century texts and corpora. 
  2. The creation and development of a new digital editing and publishing platform in the second phase of  Digital Voltaire. This new resource will build upon, expand, and connect existing projects in Oxford that have hitherto remained disparate. As such, it will:
  • provide an innovative infrastructure that will allow for the uploading and annotation of new materials, and therefore offer to its users a constantly growing research tool and corpus. 
  • incorporate new features in the first phase, including a IIIF archive of images of recently discovered manuscripts relating to Voltaire’s works. 
  • allow for the publication and exploration of born-digital material as well as archival editions, using a new editing tool. 
  • include not only correspondences (as does  Electronic Enlightenment  at present), but also texts, so as to give its users a fuller experience of early-modern literary and scientific culture.  
  • explore dynamic links with other early modern digital projects in Oxford, including  Electronic Enlightenment,  Cultures of Knowledge,  Early Modern Letters Online  and  Women’s Early Modern Letters Online