This project aims to produce a pilot version containing 100 letters of a browsable collection of Catherine the Great’s correspondence, which includes epistolary exchanges with such major figures as Voltaire, Frederick the Great, Friedrich Melchior Grimm, and Catherine’s charismatic lover Grigory Potemkin. Her correspondence was the essential medium through which she governed her court and empire, and established her own and her nation’s presence in the political and intellectual life of the European Enlightenment. Despite their evident interest for historians, historians of art and collections, and literature scholars, these letters have never appeared in a single edition (and for that reason are relatively underused in scholarship); the new possibilities of the digital world promise scholars not only a means of bringing together texts often difficult to access, but also a whole array of means of searching and manipulating a corpus of thousands of letters. In year 2 we will host a workshop on Enlightenment digital correspondence.
In collaboration with: Professor Andrew Kahn (Russian Literature), Kelsey Rubin-Detlev (Postgraduate Ertegun Scholar), and IT Services