Voltaire’s correspondence network: questions of exploration and interpretation
The vast corpus of Voltaire’s correspondence (over 21,000 letters) poses formidable problems of interpretation. It is significantly lopsided, with many more letters from than to Voltaire, and containing disproportionately more letters dating from the later period. Voltaire sought to control his legacy, and some at least among the surviving letters have been manipulated: Voltaire’s letters are primarily literary performances. There is undoubtedly more to discover about the shape of this corpus: the abbé Trublet, for example, although only a modest correspondent of Voltaire’s, occupies a significant position as a ‘node’ in the Voltairean network.
Part 1: Correspondence Networks