Corpus des notes marginales de Voltaire 1-9, et Notes et écrits marginaux conservés hors de la Bibliothèque nationale de Russie

Author: Voltaire

Volume: 136-145

Series: Œuvres complètes de Voltaire

Volume Editors: Natalia Elaguina et al.

Series Collaborators: Larissa Albina, Samuel Bailey, Nicholas Cronk, Jean Dagen, Natalia Elaguina, Nathalie Ferrand, Graham Gargett, Paul Gibbard, Ethel Groffier, John R. Iverson, Edouard Langille, Christiane Mervaud, Michel Mervaud, Patrick Neiertz, Christophe Paillard, Jean-Alexandre Perras, Gillian Pink, John Renwick, Kelsey Rubin-Detlev, Alain Sandrier, Bertram E. Schwarzbach, Gerhardt Stenger, Gemma Tidman,Bruno Tribout, David Williams, Irina Zaïtseva

Publication Date: 2019

Pages: 7360

ISBN: 978-0-7294-1214-8

Price: £1200


About

The markings – marginal notes, underlinings, bookmarks, turned down corners – on the books in Voltaire’s vast library bear witness to his thinking. The Corpus des notes marginales reproduces them alongside the extracts to which they relate. Comprehensive editorial notes show how Voltaire’s reading influenced his writing.

On Voltaire’s death in 1778, his vast library, consisting of some 7000 volumes, was sold by his niece, Marie-Louise Denis, to Catherine the Great of Russia for 30,000 roubles. The empress, who had corresponded with Voltaire for fifteen years, wished to preserve the library intact as a monument to the writer, and housed the collection in the palace of the Hermitage. It was subsequently transferred to the Imperial Public Library, and then incorporated into the National Library of Russia, St Petersburg, where it now resides.

Beginning in the 1950s Russian scholars typed out the extracts annotated by Voltaire and his secretaries and added their notes and markings for publication. The Corpus des notes marginales was launched by Akademie Verlag in East Berlin in 1979, with the Voltaire Foundation as co-publisher. Akademie Verlag was obliged to abandon the project in the mid-1990s, but in 2003 the Voltaire Foundation took the decision to complete it. In 2004 Natalia Elaguina, Head of Western Manuscripts at the National Library, began sending material to the Voltaire Foundation, and it is thanks to her that the Corpus des notes marginales was published as volumes 136 to 144 of the Complete Works of Voltaire.

Marginalia outside St Petersburg

As a complement to the Corpus des notes marginales, the volume Notes et écrits marginaux conservés hors de la Bibliothèque nationale de Russie (volume 145 of the Complete Works) reproduces marginalia by Voltaire found in works outside of his personal library in both printed books and manuscripts. It occupies a unique place within the series as some of the texts included therein were annotated by Voltaire not for his own use but for friends, acquaintances and correspondents.

Table of contents

1: A–Buzonnière (vol.136, 2008)

2: Caesar–Cyrillus (vol.137A-137B, 2009)

3: Dale–Frisi (vol.138, 2010)

4: Gachet d’Artigny–Koran (vol.139, 2011)

5: La Barre–Muyart de Vouglans (vol.140A-140B, 2012)

6: Nadal–Plato (vol.141, 2006)

7: Plautus–Rogers (vol.142, 2008)

8: Rollin–Sommier (vol.143, 2012)

9A: Spallanzani–Zeno; Annexes (vol.144A-144B, 2018)

Notes et écrits marginaux conservés hors de la Bibliothèque nationale de Russie (vol.145, 2019)

Reviews

Revue Voltaire 19

On a plaisir à saluer l’achèvement du Corpus des notes marginales de Voltaire […], une formidable source de connaissances sur Voltaire lecteur et sur sa méthode de travail. […] Rendre compte de ce tome [9] permet de jeter un regard rétrospectif sur l’ensemble de cette monumentale entreprise, et d’abord, de rendre hommage à l’équipe internationale qui a œuvré à ce grand projet du Corpus, à toutes celles et tous ceux qui ont uni leur forces au service de remarquable instrument de travail. […] Il va de soi qu’il faut saluer l’exigeante érudition […] du Corpus, mais cet ouvrage destiné aux chercheurs s’immergeant dans des précision de précisions, peut réserver des petits plaisirs à tout lecteur dans la mesure où il se met en contact avec l’esprit toujours en éveil de Voltaire.

Dalhousie French Studies 116 (2020)

Cet ensemble de 10 volumes (le Corpus, ainsi que les Notes et écrits marginaux) est évidemment destiné aux spécialistes de l’œuvre voltairienne. Les chercheurs y trouveront un appareil critique abondant et détaillé, conformément aux normes rigoureuses de l’édition des Œuvres complètes publiée par la Voltaire Foundation.

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