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Who We Are

The Voltaire Foundation is the world leader for eighteenth-century scholarship. It publishes the definitive edition of the Complete Works of Voltaire (Œuvres complètes de Voltaire), as well as Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment (previously SVEC), the foremost series devoted to Enlightenment studies with over 600 volumes published to date, not forgetting the correspondences of several key French thinkers, including Voltaire, Rousseau, Bayle and Helvétius. Search within our book catalogue for full details.

Voltaire is among the greatest of the Enlightenment philosophers, and his voice and values remain a vital presence in European culture today. It is the mission of the Voltaire Foundation to promote and explore these values.

The Foundation was founded by Theodore Besterman (1904–1976), for whom Voltaire was ‘the apostle of freedom, reason and justice’. (Read more about Theodore Besterman in this personal memoir, by Tristram Besterman.) Following Besterman’s death, the Foundation was vested permanently in the University of Oxford; we are therefore celebrating forty years in the city. We are currently located at 99 Banbury Road, in Central North Oxford.

The Foundation serves as secretariat of the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ISECS), the principal interdisciplinary forum for eighteenth-century research worldwide, founded, like the Voltaire Foundation, by Theodore Besterman. In addition to its publishing activities, the Foundation offers opportunities for students, including a travel grant for doctoral students in eighteenth-century studies, and the chance to participate in various editorial projects. We also organise a series of events in eighteenth-century studies, and publish a collaborative blog on all aspects of eighteenth-century life and culture.

The Voltaire Foundation boasts a vast and prestigious international network of collaborators, partners and sponsors. Because it is our mission to continue delivering the best in eighteenth-century scholarship, we have set up an ambitious development campaign and we are making plans to ensure our digital presence well into the future.