The humanist, biblical scholar, and hebraist Benito Arias Montano, and ‘Reassembling the Republic of Letters in the Digital Age’

As the volume describing the discussions and conclusions of the inter-disciplinary community drawn together under the aegis of the COST-funded ‘Reassembling the Republic of Letters‘ initiative is made available online,1 it is particularly fitting to celebrate in tandem the publication in EMLO of a correspondence catalogue for a Spanish humanist compiled by a scholar at the heart of this Action’s pan-European community. The inventory of the letters of Benito Arias Montano has been contributed to EMLO by Antonio Dávila Pérez, Professor of Latin Philology at the University of Cadiz and editor of the scholarly research project Benito Arias Montano: Epistolario.

‘Benito Arias Montano: Epistolario’, Univeristy of Cadiz. (See: <>)

This project, which focusses on Arias Montano’s correspondence and is working towards a complete edition, was founded in 1995 by Professor J. Gil and Professor J. M. Maestre Maestre, and it has been developed within the Research Group ‘Elio Antonio de Nebrija‘ at the University of Cadiz.

Benito Arias Montano (c. 1525/7–1598), a key figure in the religious and cultural history of the sixteenth century, is best known today for his editorial oversight of the Biblia Regia (often described as the ‘Antwerp Polyglot’), which was commissioned by Philip II from the printer Christophe Plantin. Amongst Arias Montano’s correspondents a number of key humanists are to be found, including Justus Lipsius, Carolus Clusius, Laevinus Torrentius, and Adrianus Junius, as well as Plantin himself. Professor Dávila Pérez proved an invaluable member of the scholarly community that engaged in the wide-ranging discussions held over the four years between 2014 and 2018 under the aegis of the COST ‘Reassembling the Republic of Letters’ Action, and his significant contribution to EMLO, which may be viewed now alongside growing clusters of Iberian correspondence metadata, is appreciated greatly.

A formal launch for the COST Action’s volume will showcase the fruits of these recent years of discussion and is being planned for October this year (details, when available, will be posted in a forthcoming blog). In the meantime, the volume has been made available online. Judging from conversations taking place in King’s College, Cambridge, this week at the Training School arranged by the Networking Archives project (in which, of course, both Cultures of Knowledge and EMLO both play crucial roles), the publication is proving indispensable already to those interested in the potential of transnational digital infrastructure to facilitate multilateral collaboration in the reassembly of scattered documentation. And, of course, metadata for this scattered documentation are precisely what scholars require to chart the shapes and patterns within the early modern scholarly communities we have under investigation.


  1. Howard Hotson and Thomas Wallnig, eds, Reassembling the Republic of Letters in the Digital Age: Standards, Systems, Scholarship (Göttingen, 2019). {See: <>)

SKILLNET project catalogues in EMLO: the scholars Willem Surenhuis and Adriaan Reland

As this post is written and released, the conference to which it refers is well underway and the launch of the catalogues with which it is concerned is due to take place this very afternoon. The conference in question, ‘The Mishnah in Early Modern Europe: Jewish Law for Christians and Jews‘ is the concluding event in a six-month international research project led by Piet van Boxel and Joanna Weinberg and based at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. On the concluding day of this conference, at 2.55 p.m. today, Dirk van Miert, the director of the SKILLNET project with which Cultures of Knowledge works in close partnership, will celebrate publication in EMLO of the metadata of two key scholarly correspondences: that of Guilielmus Surenhusius [Willem Surenhuis] (61 letters) and Adriaan Reland (212 letters).

Considerable team work has taken place to draw this metadata together, with Tobias Winnerling of the MSCA project ‘The Fading of Remembrance. Charting the process of getting forgotten within the humanities, 18th–20th centuries‘ contributing the calendar of correspondence for the Reland catalogue, which was in turn set out for upload to EMLO by SKILLNET team member Milo van der Pol, while Dirk van Miert, who has been in Oxford as a Polonsky Fellow for the past term based at St Anne’s College, has collated (with assistance once again from Milo back at ‘home base’ in Utrecht) the metadata for the correspondence of Surenhusius.

Would that there were a live stream for us to witness this launch (the grape vine has it that a red curtain is involved!). But given there is not, we urge followers of this blog to read the introductory pages to this brace of catalogues, to explore the correspondence metadata, and to follow the links provided therein to a range of relevant online resources, as well as to track the continuing and inspiring work in Utrecht of our partners at SKILLNET.


Exemplary collaboration: a new upload of metadata for the correspondence of Johannes Kepler

As we focus here in Oxford on work with the ARHC-funded Networking Archives project, it may seem as if the pace of the publication of catalogues in EMLO has slowed in recent months. Behind the scenes, however, the collation of epistolary metadata—both for fresh catalogues and for collaborative expansion of those in which basic metadata are already in place—continues unabated. At present we are working with colleagues at the Royal Society Library to publish in EMLO a listing of the Society’s incomparable Early Letters collection; we have in preparation correspondence calendars for a number of key early Fellows of the Royal Society, including Edmond Halley, John Locke, and Isaac Newton; we are collating metadata for the correspondences of certain peripheral figures within the circle of Samuel Hartlib; and we are working as proactively as ever with a wide range of partner scholars and projects.

The preparation of catalogues is not always as straightforward a task as those who have not tried their hand at it might think. It takes time to set out metadata for the letters and their associated people, places, repositories, shelfmarks, and bibliographic details in a format from which upload is possible. It takes time too to prepare records for the authors and recipients involved (and frequently the people mentioned), as well as for the places of origin and destination, identifying and attaching correctly those that exist in EMLO to the relevant letter and creating new people and place records for those entering the union catalogue for the first time. If a contributor is to conduct analysis on his or her data, and if the calendar is to be of use as a finding aid to researchers, this preparatory work cannot be rushed. Accuracy is key. The attachment of the wrong ‘John Smith’ as a letter’s author, or the wrong ‘Boston’ as a letter’s destination, for example, can create untold complications and confusion.

In this phase of the union catalogue’s development, we are delighted once again to be working with students, librarians, and scholars who volunteer to help, and we will be adding soon to the team page biographies for members of this flourishing and committed community. In addition, we shall be releasing a listing of early modern correspondences for which we are interested in compiling calendars and with which would welcome offers of help. While this list will include a number of correspondences already collected in modern editions, it will set out also a selection of ‘starter catalogues’ concerning early modern individuals for whom we have recorded already within EMLO a significant portion (but by no means the entirety) of his or her known correspondence, and on which further research and archival work is required. Some of these ‘starter catalogues’ might form the basis for a student research topic, and those in search of a ‘subject’ will be more than welcome to be in touch to discuss involvement. I shall write in detail about this scheme in a future post. In the meantime, should anyone find the prospect of working with letters appealing and be reading this blog as a potential volunteer, I’d like to suggest considering the catalogue of the correspondence of Johannes Kepler as an apposite example of how the contributions of scholars and students may be layered and brought together into a greater whole.

This past week has seen the release in EMLO of metadata based on the letters published in volume XVII of Max Caspar’s monumental edition of Kepler. Gesammelte Werke. The story of EMLO’s Kepler catalogue runs thus: whilst researching his Cambridge University Press monograph, Bearing the Heavens. Tycho Brahe and the Astronomical Community of the Late Sixteenth Century, Professor Adam Mosley assembled a significant quantity of metadata on astronomical correspondence from the later decades of the sixteenth and early years of the seventeenth centuries, including the basic metadata for the correspondence of Kepler. These metadata were, with the blessing of Professor Mosley, handed via EMLO to Dr Francesco Barreca of the Museo Galileo, Institute and Museum for the History of Science, Florence, for significant expansion. In particular, Dr Barreca focussed on the creation of abstracts, the addition of keywords, and links were inserted from each letter record to the Kommission zur Herausgabe der Werke von Johannes Kepler where, if users click on the relevant volume, a fully searchable PDF of the letter texts is available for download. Dr Barreca has identified also which letter was sent in reply to which, and this data (which cannot yet be set in place automatically in the union catalogue) will be added manually in the coming weeks by members of the wonderful EMLO volunteer team, who will be contributing thereby to this collaborative venture. When the work is complete, should scholars wish to make use of the data, I suggest they read one of Dr Barreca’s abstracts (that for the letter from Kepler to Wilhelm Schickard of 11 March 1618), bear in mind what it says, and write to us at EMLO!

And should anyone following this blog this wish to volunteer to work with EMLO, a universe of letters awaits …

Tycho Brahe and Johannes Keper, Hradčany, Prague. (Source of image: Wikimedia Commons)

‘Mijnheer ende broeder’: letters from Cornelis de Witt to his brother Johan

Once again the dedicated and industrious Johan de Witt project team, based at the Huygens ING in Amsterdam under the direction of Dr Ineke Huysman, has been hard at work, and the latest instalment of correspondence metadata to be added to the Johan de Witt catalogue in EMLO consists of a listing of four-hundred-and-twenty letters sent to Johan by his elder brother Cornelis de Witt (1623–1672). Publication of this section of the catalogue has been orchestrated to coincide with the opening of an exhibition on the De Witt brothers, De Gebroeders De Witt. Iconen van de Gouden Eeuw, at the Historisch Museum Den Briel.

At the heart of this exhibition, which has been guest curated by Dr Ronald Prud’homme van Reine, stands the gold and enamel goblet presented to Cornelis de Witt by the States of Holland in 1668. Created by Nicolaas Loockemans (d. 1673), this cup celebrates the actions of Cornelis in June of the previous year when he was selected to accompany Michiel de Ruyter in the infamous (in the Netherlands at least—it tends to be somewhat downplayed in this country) raid by the Dutch navy on the Medway. During this particularly embarrassing episode for the Stuart navy, the Dutch fleet sailed to the coast of Kent, captured the fort at Sheerness, breached the English defensive chainline across the estuary, made their way up the Medway to Chatham—where they burned or captured a number of ships—and left unscathed with both the fourth rate ship the ‘Unity’ (which had itself been captured from the Dutch just two years previously) and the English flagship the ‘Royal Charles’ in tow. (And, if you’re interested, do read about the subsequent fate of this symbolic prize as a tourist attraction!). The exhibition brings together a complementary selection of paintings, prints, drawings, medals, and portrait busts, and from a regional perspective considers the role of Cornelis as ‘ruwaard’ (prosecuting attorney) of Putten, the court for which was in Gervliet, just five kilometres from Brill.

As with all the correspondence published thus far in the Johan de Witt catalogue, users are able to follow the link provided in each individual letter record to a digitized image of the relevant manuscript. Access to these images is proving invaluable for scholars, and Dr Huysman, the Johan de Witt team, and the directors and heads of the Dutch libraries and archives involved are to be thanked and commended in equal measure for making this possible.

Detail of the goblet created by Nicolaas Loockemans and presented to Cornelis de Witt. (Musée national de Moyen Age-Musée de Cluny. Déposé au Musée du Louvre, OArt Paris. Photo © RMN-Grand Palais, Musée du Louvre/Jean-Gilles Berizzi.) The goblet is on display in the ‘De Gebroeders De Witt. Iconen van de Gouden Eeuw’ exhibition at the Historisch Museum Den Briel between 16 June and 8 September 2019.

Closing date reminder: Paris-Oxford Research Fellowship in Digital Humanities

A brief reminder for all who intend to apply for the three-year fully funded fellowship at the Sorbonne University (Paris, France) that the closing date is tomorrow, Friday, 14 June 2019. Applications should be sent to Alexandre Guilbaud ( For further details about the opportunity, please see the post published on this blog last April.

Un bref rappel à tous ceux qui ont l’intention de soumettre une candidature pour la bourse de recherche de trois ans à l’Université de la Sorbonne (Paris, France) que la date de clôture est demain, vendredi 14 juin 2019. Les candidatures doivent être envoyées à Alexandre Guilbaud ( Pour de plus amples renseignements sur cette opportunité, veuillez voir le post publié en avril dernier.

The life, the letters, and the legacy of Mary Wortley Montagu

Mary Wortley Montague was certainly not the first European to observe medical practices in Constantinople. Nor was she the first visitor in the city to arrange variolation against smallpox for a child (her own son, Edward Wortley Montagu the younger). But she is thought to have been the first to encourage the practice when she returned to London, enabling the procedure to be carried out on a second child (her daughter Mary, later countess of Bute) and playing an active role to raise awareness of the potential for widespread immunity against the disease. At the time, such advocacy of variolation made her well-enough known for members of the public to ‘hoot at her as an unnatural mother’, for predictions to be voiced of ‘failure and the most disastrous consequences’, and for the clergy to decry ‘the impiety of thus seeking to take events out of the hand of Providence’.1

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu with her son, Edward Wortley Montagu, and attendants, attributed to Jean Baptiste Vanmour. c. 1717. Oil on canvas. (© National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG 3924)

Smallpox was a killer. Many, including Voltaire, wrote of the fearsome mortality rate for those who caught the disease at that time. Early modern individuals fortunate enough to survive infection were scarred for life. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, born Mary Pierrepont in 1689, lost her brother to smallpox; she herself contracted the virus not long after she had moved to London as a young wife, and her looks were ruined—she claimed she was left with ‘tokens of its passage, for it deprived her of very fine eye-lashes; which gave a fierceness to her eyes that impaired their beauty’.2

None of this prevented Lady Mary from pursuing a life of adventure, however, and from travelling through Europe first to accompany her husband, the diplomat Edward Wortley Montagu (1678–1761), on his embassy to Constantinople and later, once her children were older, through France and Italy in the hope of arranging a rendezvous with the young man who was at that point the elusive object of her considerable attention: none other than Venetian polymath Francesco Algarotti (1712–1764). As can be seen from the calendar of her correspondence, which was published last week in EMLO, these romantic yearnings were not to be realized but, fortunately for us, Lady Mary wrote with constancy and at length as she travelled. An array of fascinating acquaintances may be found among her correspondents, including the English poet Alexander Pope (with whom she had an infamous ‘parting of ways’); the bishop of Salisbury and historian Gilbert Burnet; the Italian mathematician and writer Antonio Conti; and the French playwright Jean-Baptiste Rousseau. Thanks to the careful work of Robert Halsband, on whose three-volume edition this calendar is based courtesy of our partners Oxford Scholarly Editions Online [OSEO] at Oxford University Press, we are able to consider within her correspondence the curious body of letters known as ‘the Embassy letters’ that date from her husband’s two year posting in Constantinople.3

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, by Achille Devéria, printed by François Le Villain, published by Edward Bull, published by Edward Churton, after Christian Friedrich Zincke. Hand-coloured lithograph, 1830s. (© National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG D34619)

Do explore the life, the letters, and the legacy of this remarkable early modern woman. The texts of all the letters in Robert Halsband’s edition may be consulted within a subscribing library or institution via links from EMLO’s letter records, as may the entries on Lady Mary and members of her family—as well as many of her correspondents—in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography [ODNB]. It is worth following the unfortunate career of Mary’s son Edward, who underwent inoculation as a child and thus was spared death or maiming by smallpox. Much good this did him: despite election as a Fellow to the Royal Society, he has come down to posterity classified as a ‘traveller and criminal’ (causing one of my colleagues, who shall remain nameless, to comment: ‘just look at the types they were electing to the Royal Society in the eighteenth century!’). The fact that young Edward contested the Will of his father, the elder Edward, in 1761 was the reason Lady Mary, herself terminally ill, set out from Venice to return for the final time to her homeland. A pioneering and independent woman, she died in London the following summer and was buried in Grosvenor Chapel, South Audley Street.

  1. See Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: essays, poems and ‘Simplicity: a comedy’, ed. R. Halsband and I. Grundy (1976), ‘Biographical Anecdotes’, written by her granddaughter Lady Louisa Stuart, pp. 35–6.
  2. Ibid, p. 35.
  3. For an explanation of the status of ‘the Embassy letters’, see The Complete Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, ed. Robert Halsband, 3 vols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1965), vol. 1, pp. xiv–xvii.

‘Useful Enemies: Islam and the Ottoman Empire in Western Political Thought, 1450–1750’

Those who keep an eye on this blog may be interested to learn of the publication earlier this month of Noel Malcolm’s Islam and The Ottoman Empire in Western Political Thought, 1450–1750. The latest work by the Chair of our Cultures of Knowledge project Steering Committee is described by its publisher Oxford University Press as an overview across three hundred years of ‘the mental world of those in the West who wrote in a political way about the East’.

Just days off the press, the book has been praised as ‘wise and beautifully judged’,1 as ‘learned and fascinating’,2 and as a ‘brilliant study … on the ways in which Western thinkers used what they knew about Islam and the Levantine world to make points to their own European readership’.3 Dr Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury and current Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, concludes his review with the thought-provoking observation: ‘Without blurring the basic points of real diversity, religious and social, between western Europe and its menacing, tantalising, enviable and bewildering neighbour, Malcolm prompts us to ask not only how the West got to be “modern”, but whether the categories of “modern” and “pre-modern” are as clear cut as we might have thought when we try to do justice to our global political environment.’



Shifts in perspective: the life and legacies of Johan Maurits, count of Nassau-Siegen

Detail from the portrait of Johan Maurits, Count of Nassau-Siegen,, by Jan de Baen. c. 1668–70. (The Mauritshuis, The Hague)

For those who would like to know more about Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen (1604–1679), the early modern figure at the centre of the latest batch of letters to be published in EMLO, it is worth reading the literature that surrounds the latest exhibition to open at the Mauritshuis. Or, better still, to carve out time to visit the museum should occasion arise in The Hague. Shifting Image — In Search of Johan Maurits examines the life of this Count of Nassau-Siegen from a number of pertinent and fresh perspectives.

Johan Maurits served as Governor-General at the Dutch Republic’s first large plantation colony in current-day Brazil. The colony, with its sugar plantations and mills, had been captured from the Portuguese and remained in the possession of the Dutch for a quarter of a century until 1654. The exploitation of, and the accumulation of vast profits from, the area form—as this exhibition investigates—’a crucial episode in the history of the Dutch slave trade’. In the context of the Governor’s life, the lens is brought to focus on his role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Johan Maurits left for Brazil in 1636. Over the course of the following eleven years, while the transport took place of thousands of men, women, and children from the west coast of Africa to the north-east coast of Brazil, the Mauritshuis was designed, built, and furnished in The Hague to the Governor’s specifications. Johan Maurits proved a considerable patron, encouraging such artists as Frans Post and Albert Eckhout, and commissioning Caspar Barlaeus and Franciscus Plante to write Rerum per octennium in Brasilia (1647) and Mauritias (1647) respectively. This exhibition questions how objective these artistic and literary interpretations of the Governor’s own role and the Dutch involvement in Brazil might be, given their purpose and dependence upon Johan Maurits’s funding. Not content merely with covering costs, Johan Maurits elected to keep a firm hand on the output of his munificence and in the creation of his own image, taking it upon himself to edit Barlaeus’s text. And in an approach that has not always been employed as a matter of course in the history of art and of patronage, visitors to the exhibition are asked to weigh up the probable reality underlying such landscapes as Post’s View of the Island of Itamaracá, the first known painting in which enslaved people are depicted in ‘Dutch Brazil’.

Detail from ‘Study of Two Brazilian Tortoises’, by Albert Eckhout. c. 1640. (The Mauritshuis, The Hague)

What survive as visual and written records of this colony at the time of Johan Maurits, partial though these might be, are nonetheless invaluable as documentary evidence for the individuals concerned. We are able to refer to the maps charted, to the illustrations and scientific descriptions of fauna and flora recorded, and—of course—to surviving correspondence. Johan Maurits left his post as Governor-General in 1644.

The forty-six letters uploaded to EMLO to coincide with this exhibition in Johan Maurits’s former residence have been contributed by Dr Ineke Huysman and her project team at the Huygens ING as part of their work on the correspondence inventory for Johan de Witt. Dating between 1653 and 1670, the letters are those sent from the former Governor-General to the Grand Pensionary of Holland, and each record is linked to an image of the manuscript held at the Nationaal Archief in The Hague. The synchronicity of the listing of these letters in EMLO and the exhibition at the Mauritshuis offers a timely opportunity to consider Johan Maurits both within the context of the work-in-progress catalogue of Johan de Witt and in the broader perspective of Dutch and of global history, contrasting—as this exhibition does so well—early modern attitudes and beliefs with those held today.

‘View of Itamaracá Island in Brazil’, by Frans Post. 1637. (The Mauritshuis, The Hague)

Paris-Oxford Research Fellowship in Digital Humanities

As part of a collaboration between Oxford and the Sorbonne, we are delighted to announce the new call for applications for a three-year fully funded fellowship open to students wishing to pursue doctoral studies in the history of science, in mathematical sciences, in digital humanities, or in computer science. Details of the fellowship are set out below, both in English and in French.

Paris-Oxford Research Fellowship in Digital Humanities

Recent progress in digital humanities has transformed research in the history of science: large quantities of data, the collation of which would formerly have required time-consuming visits to libraries and archives, have been made available; manuscript and book collections are accessible online; and investigations across a range of related resources become ever easier. In consequence, historical investigations can be contextualized better, studies of networks taken to a new level, and analysis conducted across increasingly large quantities of data and metadata.

Applications are open currently for a fellowship that will offer the successful doctoral student the opportunity to undertake research over a period of three years at two of the most prestigious institutions in Europe: Sorbonne University in Paris and the University of Oxford. Applicants should have a background in one or more of the following four disciplines: digital humanities, history of science, mathematics, or computer science. They should demonstrate experience of historical study alongside evident ability in the field of digital humanities or data sciences.

Thesis topics might combine any area of the history of science with an approach in digital humanities. In particular, proposals exploring innovative digital or computer-based approaches for research in the history of mathematical sciences or on early modern correspondence will be welcome, as will those involving investigation into how the development of digital analysis, research, and visualization tools can contribute to new research on scientific and/or epistolary corpuses.

This programme forms part of a scientific collaboration between the Sorbonne’s Faculty of Science and Engineering and the Faculty of History at the University of Oxford. The successful doctoral student will work within the ‘Digital Humanities’ team at the Institut des sciences du calcul et des données (ISCD) of Sorbonne University (Paris, France) and will conduct a period of research at the University of Oxford (UK), either within the framework of the Cultures of Knowledge research project/Early Modern Letters Online [EMLO] at the Faculty of History, or of the Centre for the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, or of the Mathematical Institute. The student will benefit from a three-year funding grant from the Faculty of Science and Engineering of Sorbonne University.

Further information regarding this opportunity is available from Alexandre Guilbaud ( or Miranda Lewis (

To apply, please send a copy of your CV and an outline of your planned research project to Alexandre Guilbaud ( before the closing date of 14 June 2019.


Bourse de recherche Paris-Oxford en humanités numériques

Les progrès récents accomplis dans les humanités numériques ont transformé la recherche dans le domaine de l’histoire des sciences : des quantités importantes de données, dont le rassemblement aurait autrefois demandé de nombreuses et longues visites de bibliothèques et d’archives, ont été mises à disposition, des collections de manuscrits et de livres sont accessibles en ligne, et les recherches à travers un éventail de ressources connexes n’ont jamais été aussi faciles. En conséquence, les recherches historiques peuvent être mieux contextualisées, des études de réseaux amenées à un autre niveau, l’analyse peut être réalisée à travers des quantités de plus en plus grandes de données et de métadonnées.

Les candidatures sont ouvertes pour une allocation de recherche qui offrira au doctorant retenu l’opportunité d’entreprendre des recherches sur une période de trois ans au sein de deux des institutions les plus prestigieuses d’Europe : Sorbonne Université à Paris et l’Université d’Oxford. Les candidats devront avoir une formation dans une ou plus des quatre disciplines suivantes : les humanités numériques, l’histoire des sciences, les mathématiques ou l’informatique. Ils devront démontrer qu’ils possèdent une expérience des études historiques ainsi que des compétences manifestes dans le domaine des humanités numériques ou des sciences des données.

Les sujets pourront associer n’importe quel domaine de l’histoire des sciences avec une approche en humanités numériques. En particulier, les propositions explorant des approches numériques ou informatiques innovantes pour des recherches en histoire des sciences mathématiques ou des recherches sur les correspondances de l’ère moderne seront bienvenues, de même que les problématiques s’intéressant à la façon dont le développement d’outils d’analyse, de recherche de visualisation numériques peut contribuer à de nouvelles recherches sur les corpus scientifiques et/ou épistolaires.

Ce programme s’inscrit dans le cadre d’une collaboration scientifique entre la Faculté des Sciences et Ingénierie de l’Université de la Sorbonne et la Faculté d’Histoire de l’Université d’Oxford. Le candidat sélectionné travaillera au sein de l’équipe ‘Humanités numériques’ à l’Institut des sciences du calcul et des données (ISCD) de Sorbonne Université (Paris, France) et effectuera une période de recherche à l’Université d’Oxford (Royaume-Uni), soit dans le cadre du projet Cultures of Knowledge/Early Modern Letters Online [EMLO] à la Faculté d’Histoire, ou du Centre for the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, ou de l’Institut de Mathématiques. Le doctorant bénéficiera d’une allocation doctorale de trois ans financée par la Faculté des Sciences et Ingénierie de Sorbonne Université.

De plus amples renseignements concernant cette opportunité sont disponibles auprès d’Alexandre Guilbaud ( ou de Miranda Lewis (

Pour poser votre candidature, veuillez envoyer une copie de votre CV et un résumé du projet de recherche envisagé à Alexandre Guilbaud ( avant la date du 14 Juin 2019.


‘Networking Archives’: the deadline for applications approaches

This is not an early April fool but rather a gentle (and genuine!) reminder for those who are interested in joining ‘Networking Archives‘, the AHRC-funded project with which Cultures of Knowledge is involved at present: submissions of applications to attend a series of training schools and a colloquium, together with the chance to author a chapter in an edited volume, will close this coming Monday, 1 April. Details of the opportunity may be found in an earlier post on this blog, as well as on the Networking Archives website.

As applications stream in, the project’s Queen Mary University of London research assistant, Dr Esther van Raamsdonk, and I are in the thick of disambiguating and identifying the authors and the recipients of letters to be found within the Stuart State Papers. As we work, we are reminded at every turn how extraordinarily fortunate we are to glimpse, albeit fleetingly, aspects of the lives of so many early modern individuals—from the movers and shakers of the period, to those who, but for the survival of a letter in this archive, would have slipped through the net of the historical record and remain unknown to us today. We work with a tool developed in Cambridge by Dr Sebastian Ahnert, and when we set out at the beginning of last month we faced approximately 55,000 unique expressions of names in need of our time and attention. The workflow we have adopted is similar to that used ten years ago (at the beginning of the Cultures of Knowledge project) for the disambiguation of the authors and recipients described within metadata of the Bodleian card catalogue. As so often in the Early Modern Letters Online editorial team, the enormity of what lies ahead is helped by the dialogue and communication maintained when at the coalface. If you would like to be involved in these conversations and are interested in where the project will be taking this data, and if you wish to focus on the analysis of early modern correspondence networks, the offer to join us is open, but the deadline is set for Monday …

Good luck!

The delivery of post. Detail from Christoff Weigel, ‘Abbildung Der Gemein-Nützlichen Haupt-Stände Von denen Regenten …’ (Regenspurg, 1698), p. 160. (Image courtesy of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, obj. no. RP-P-1896-A-19368-1602)