Monthly Archives: July 2019

‘Vivre heureux’ et ‘faire des heureux’: the correspondence of Paul-Henri Thiry, Baron d’Holbach

Who would not welcome a hearty dose of hope and of happiness? The work of the philosopher whose correspondence listing is the latest to be added to EMLO provides us with one potential path: ‘live happily’ and ‘make others happy’ were two tenets, according to Paul-Henri Thiry, Baron d’Holbach (1723–1789), that individuals should keep close and hold dear.

Portrait of Charlotte Suzanne d’Aine (left) and Paul-Henri Thiry d’Holbach (right) by Louis Carmontelle. 1766. Water-colour. (Musée Condé, Chantilly; source of image: Wikimedia Commons)

The inventory of d’Holbach’s correspondence, released to coincide with ‘Enlightenment Identies’, the ISECS International Congress on the Enlightenment 2019, which took place earlier this month at the University of Edinburgh, has been compiled by Dr Ruggero Sciuto of Hertford College, Oxford. Together with the Voltaire Foundation, and with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Dr Sciuto is preparing a digital edition of the complete works of the German-born, but French-naturalized, philosopher. As work on the edition progresses and further letters come to light, this listing will be enlarged and the metadata in EMLO expanded and enhanced, and updates will be showcased in future posts on this blog.

Details of all the papers and round-tables that took place at the Congress in Edinburgh may be found online (where the eagle-eyed will spot an appearance by the Cultures of Knowledge project director Professor Howard Hotson, who took part in a discussion entitled ‘Expanding digital eighteenth-century studies’). And over the coming months, here at EMLO, we look forward to following the progress of the Digital D’Holbach project.

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