Review of EE in Philosophy Now, November/December 2008

Enlightening letters

A fascinating project to give unprecedented access to the web of correspondence between thousands of writers during the 18th century has been launched by the University of Oxford hosted by the Bodleian Libraries. The Electronic Enlightenment project aims to bring under one umbrella letters between such luminaries as Addison, Bentham, Boswell, Defoe, Hobbes, Hume, Kant, Locke, Pope, Rousseau, Smith, Swift, Sterne and Voltaire. Tasty titbits giving an insight to the content include correspondence between Hume and Benjamin Franklin a few years before the American Revolution; Jeremy Bentham pondering different methods of breadmaking; and Descartes and Jacob Gool, Dutch mathematician, discussing the refraction of light. There is also an insight into everyday life with letters to families, bankers, patrons and publishers. Electronic Enlightenment is available by subscription to institutions and individuals worldwide and can be accessed via

Sue Roberts
© Philosophy Now 2009

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