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Annual report

Download the VF annual report 2015-2016 here (pdf).


Publications (print and digital)

In another successful year for the Foundation, a total of twenty new titles were published (see Appendix). Six volumes of the Complete works of Voltaire (OCV) were published, ensuring that we remain on course to complete this project by the proposed target date of 2019.

Twelve volumes were published in the newly retitled Oxford Studies in the Enlightenment series (previously SVEC, or Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century). The series continues to publish the best modern research in both English and French, on all aspects of the Enlightenment. It has consolidated its position as the foremost collection dedicated to research on the eighteenth century, and continues to be a preferred place of publication for both younger and established scholars. In addition, throughout 2015/16, we have been working on a project to enable the future digital publication of the series as e-books.

We also published new volumes in two of our correspondence collections, Bayle and La Beaumelle, and the final volume of letters in the correspondence of Mme de Graffigny series. Canadian national radio CBC featured interviews with editors David Smith and Penny Arthur. In addition to these print publications, we published more online letters from the Bernardin Saint Pierre correspondence, via Electronic Enlightenment (housed at the Bodleian Library).


The search for vital sponsorship for the Complete works of Voltaire continues, and we are, as always, immensely grateful to all our sponsors, who enable us to maintain momentum on our core publishing project. The British Academy continued their annual support, volume 51A was sponsored by the Columbia Foundation, and a private donor supported both parts of volume 70.

Louis XIV

The Château de Versailles Research Centre’s contribution of €60,000 continues to support the six volumes of the Siècle de Louis XIV (11, 12, 13A-D). Publication began in 2015, the 300th anniversary of Louis XIV’s death. The four volumes of annotated main text (13A-D) are now all published. A successful colloquium, Le Siècle de Louis XIV ou Voltaire historien de la modernité, supported by the Leverhulme award, was held in December 2015 at Versailles.

The AHRC Fellowship award to Director Professor Nicholas Cronk, for Lettres sur les Anglais (OCV, volume 6), continued throughout the year. A successful study day, Writing about Nations in the Long Eighteenth Century, held at Liverpool University, was organised by his AHRC-funded research assistant, Dr Nicholas Treuherz. The Voltaire Foundation was awarded £23,000 by the MHRA towards a one-year, half-time Research Associate to work on Voltaire’s development of the short prose form (OCV volumes 60A and 84): Helder Mendes-Baio was appointed in October 2015, to work in collaboration with Dr Thomas Wynn (Durham University).

An initial development event was held for ‘Digital Voltaire’ at the British Embassy in Paris, hosted by Lady Ricketts, wife of Ambassador Sir Peter. Professor David de Roure, Director of the University of Oxford e-Research Centre, spoke on The Challenge of Digitizing the Whole of Voltaire’s Writings and the Future of the Book.

Impact/profile 2015/16

The Foundation blogs have included pieces by many colleagues writing on a wide range of topics, this year extending the Enlightenment beyond the anniversaries of La Barre and Capability Brown, to digitising Raynal, and the BBC drama Versailles – tweeted by TORCH and OSE, and featured on the University of Oxford Arts Blog.

The Foundation continued to serve as secretariat of the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ISECS), the principal interdisciplinary forum for eighteenth-century research, founded, like the Voltaire Foundation, by Theodore Besterman.

Nicholas has continued to promote the Foundation both in the UK and in France, writing the script for The School of Life’s animation Voltaire, by Alain de Botton, and talking about his favourite painting as Voltaire Foundation Director (our own Jean Huber’s La Sainte Cène du Patriarche) in Country Life’s French issue (22 June 2016). He also made two broadcasts via France-Culture, L’Eloge du Savoir, in December 2015: La correspondance de Voltaire: questions sur les manuscrits and Comment lire un manuscrit: à propos des ‘Réflexions sur le bonheur’ d’Emilie Du Châtelet.

Research programme (TORCH/Besterman Centre for the Enlightenment)

Inaugurated in 2008, the Besterman Centre is an interdisciplinary research centre of the Humanities Division which has now become the TORCH Enlightenment Programme/Besterman Centre for the Enlightenment.

This year’s Besterman Lecture was given at Wolfson College by Professor Colin Jones on The French Revolutionary Terror: Proto-totalitarian or public sphere?

The Foundation continued to host the weekly Enlightenment Workshop, in collaboration with the History Faculty.


In January 2016, Professor Gregory Brown of the History Department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, became General Editor of Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment. He replaces Professor Jonathan Mallinson of Trinity College, Oxford, who has fulfilled the role superbly over the last thirteen years. Our heartfelt thanks go to Jonathan for his work in maintaining the academic prestige of the collection while broadening the series and expanding into new subject areas – as reflected in its new name.

Nicholas Cronk attended the second Digital Humanities Seminar at the National Humanities Center in North Carolina as part of the preparation for the future digital edition of the Complete works of Voltaire. Alice Breathe was seconded for a further six months as Besterman Research Assistant, to support the work of the General Editor towards completing the OCV print edition on schedule, including his own texts. Jean-Alexandre Perras, who worked as Research Assistant to Nicholas on the Catalogue des écrivains (OCV, volume 12), supported by a British Academy research grant, is now being mentored by him for his three-year post-doctoral studies on The Mechanics of the Trade: Utility, Frivolity and the Paradoxes of Value in Early Modern France (from October 2015; also British Academy supported).

The staffing of the editorial team remains stable, and students continue to play an important role as freelance assistants. We should like to thank Oxford (Masters and DPhil) students Cameron Quinn for writing the Stories around the Lettres sur les Anglais webpages, and Cédric Ploix for his ongoing help with editorial tasks for the Complete works. Thanks also go to Book history and librarianship students Laura Schroeder and Amanda Glover (both part-time Bodleian workers), who contributed to the project to enable the future digital publication of the Oxford Studies in the Enlightenment series.

Further information about the activities and publications of the Foundation can be found at



  • Siècle de Louis XIV, IV (vol.13B)
  • Recueil des facéties parisiennes (vol.51A)
  • Miscellaneous verse (vol.83)
  • Writings of 1769 (IIA) (vol.70A)
  • Siècle de Louis XIV, V (vol.13C)
  • Writings of 1769 (IIB) (vol.70B)


  • The Enlightenment in Scotland: national and international perspectives
    Ed. Jean-François Dunyach and Ann Thomson
    2015:08, ISBN 978-0-7294-1166-0, xvi.246 p., £60
  • Berkeley revisited: moral, social and political philosophy
    Ed. Sébastien Charles
    2015:09, ISBN 978-0-7294-1167-7, xii.308 p., £65
  • Raynal’s ‘Histoire des deux Indes’: colonialism, networks and global exchange
    Ed. Cecil Courtney and Jenny Mander
    2015:10, ISBN 978-0-7294-1169-1, xii.350 p., 2 ills, £70
  • Enlightenment Spain and the ‘Encyclopédie méthodique’
    Ed. Clorinda Donato and Ricardo López
    2015:11, ISBN 978-0-7294-1170-7, xvi.314 p., 2 ills, £60
  • Ruins past: modernity in Italy, 1744-1836
    Sabrina Ferri
    2015:12, ISBN 978-0-7294-1171-4, xii.258 p., 9 ills, £60
  • Madame d’Arconville, moraliste et chimiste au siècle des Lumières: Etudes et textes inédits
    Ed. Marc André Bernier and Marie-Laure Girou Swiderski
    2016:01, ISBN 978-0-7294-1172-1, xviii.262 p., £60
  • Enlightenment and religion in the Orthodox world
    Ed. Paschalis Kitromilides
    2016:02, ISBN 978-0-7294-1173-8, xii.324 p., £70
  • Le Journal littéraire en France au 18e siècle: émergence d’une culture virtuelle
    Suzanne Dumouchel, preface by Jean Paul Sermain
    2016:03, ISBN 978-0-7294-1174-5, viii.332 p., £65
  • Postal culture in Europe, 1500-1800
    Jay Caplan
    2016:04, ISBN 978-0-7294-1175-2, xiv.210 p., 8 ills, £60
  • Holbach, traduction et philosophie transnationale
    Mladen Kozul
    2016:05, ISBN 978-0-7294-1176-9, xii.282 p., £60
  • Ancients and Moderns in early modern Europe: comparative perspectives
    Ed. Paddy Bullard and Alexis Tadié
    2016:06, ISBN 978-0-7294-1177-6, xii.316 p., 1 ill, £60
  • Les Spectacles francophones à la cour de Russie (1743-1796): l’invention d’une société
    Alexeï Evstratov
    2016:07, ISBN 978-0-7294-1182-0, xx.396 p., 19 ills, £75


  • Correspondance générale de La Beaumelle, tome XI
    Ed. Hubert Bost, Claude Lauriol et Hubert Angliviel de La Beaumelle
  • Correspondance de Pierre Bayle, tome XIII
    Ed. Antony McKenna et al.
  • Correspondance de Mme de Graffigny, tome XV
    Ed. D.W. Smith, English Showalter, Penny Arthur et al.