Review of EE in Choice, May 2009

Electronic Enlightenment (EE) offers online access to correspondence drawn from "the long 18th century" — specifically, over 53,000 letters and documents from almost 6,000 correspondents, with materials available in original languages and in English. Conceived by Robert McNamee, it is based on the resources of Oxford's Voltaire Foundation. Users may browse a list of names of authors or documents, or search the contents of the collection. The search interface enables users to specify keywords and stop words, and search by the name or location of the author and/or recipient and by the date of composition. Curiously, limiting by the language in which the letter appears is not an option. An additional search assists those who have a reference to a print source included in EE. The database includes emendations to texts as necessary (e.g., if note numbering runs … 10, 11, 10, 13). In addition, EE standardizes the presentation of the letters, with each letter headed by the names of the writer and recipient and the date on which it was written.

Each document provides links to biographical information about the author and recipient; addresses, postmarks, or quotations (if available); document sources and the source edition for the EE text; notes; citation in EE house style and MLa style; and a printer-friendly layout. Biographical information includes cross-references to other letters and other correspondents that are part of EE. The database features more than 200,000 scholarly annotations from a variety of sources, including editorial notes, textual notes, notes made by the original writer, and linguistic notes. EE is a helpful tool for searching, navigating, and cross-referencing correspondence from this time period. Summing up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers.

— R. Withers, Miami University
© 2009 by American Library Association

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