Dedicated to Paul O. LeClerc
scholar and librarian


Portrait de François-Marie Arouet, dit Voltaire (1694–1778)
Catherine Lusurier (vers 1753-1781)

The launch of the

Digital correspondence of Voltaire project

Nicholas Cronk, general editor
Published by the Voltaire Foundation
through Electronic Enlightenment 2011


The Voltaire Foundation, Bodleian Libraries and Electronic Enlightenment Project are privileged to honour Paul LeClerc by dedicating to him the launch of the Digital correspondence of Voltaire project, which will produce the first ever update and revision of Theodore Besterman’s monumental edition of Voltaire’s Correspondence and related documents (1968–1977). (See the two dedicatory Voltaire letters below).

Dr LeClerc has published widely with the Voltaire Foundation in Oxford. His study Voltaire and Crébillon père: History of an Enmity appeared in 1973 in the series Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century; and his critical edition of Rome sauvée was published in the Œuvres complètes de Voltaire (volume 30a, 1992). Paul LeClerc also collaborated with D. Medlin and J.-C. David in the three-volume edition of the Lettres d’André Morellet, first published in 1991–1996, appeared in revised form in 2011 through Electronic Enlightenment (see the André Morellet project).

Dr LeClerc is a member of the editorial board of the Œuvres complètes de Voltaire. His important contribution to scholarship has been recognized by the award of many honorary doctorates, including those of the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle and of the University of Oxford. He is officier des Palmes académiques and chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.

As the President of the New York Public Library, Paul LeClerc remained engaged as a Voltaire scholar. In 2009 he organized and helped curate an important exhibition at the Library, “Candide at 250: Scandal and Success”. He also encouraged the generous benefactions of Martin J. Gross, which which enabled the acquisition of a magnificent collection of Voltaire books and manuscripts: the Martin J. Gross collection at the New York Public Library now ranks as one of the major Voltaire collections in the world. (See Voltaire: The Martin J. Gross Collection in The New York Public Library, edited by Stephen Weissman, with essays by Paul LeClerc and Martin J. Gross, New York Public Library, 2008. ISBN 978–0–87104–461–7.)

The Digital correspondence of Voltaire project will make full use of the opportunities of web-publication, supplementing the edited letters with a range of associated resources including images of original manuscripts, chronologies, house-hold accounts, concordances and topic-mapping, geographical resources and associated works. The Correspondance complète de Voltaire — une édition électronique / Complete correspondance of Voltaire — a digital edition begins with publication of 14 previously unpublished letters, as well as new information and annotations on over 30 more letters, making significant revisions to all previous editions. We also include high-quality images of all the Voltaire letters at the New York Public Library and several from the Morgan Library and Museum (with thanks to those great institutions for their permission and support).

By publishing this great new, digital undertaking through Electronic Enlightenment, we pay tribute to Paul LeClerc’s qualities as scholar and as librarian, associating forever his humanity and accomplishments to those of Voltaire.

Electronic Enlightenment is an outstanding, scholarly resource, but it is also a practical experiment in the creation of a self-supporting, academic research project — therefore full access to the new work is reserved for subscribers to the resource. However, two of the letters, along with images of the original manuscripts, are made available in the project pages.

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Financial support for this launch has been kindly provided by —

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