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    About this edition

    The modern edition of Grotius’ correspondence, known as the Briefwisseling van Hugo Grotius (1928-2001), is presented here in electronic format as ‘The Correspondence of Hugo Grotius’, abbreviated as CHG.  Edited by P.C. Molhuysen, B.L. Meulenbroek, P.P. Witkam, H.J.M. Nellen and C.M. Ridderikhoff, the Briefwisseling comprises more then seven thousand letters, which were published in seventeen volumes as part of the so-called ‘Rijksgeschiedkundige Publicatiën, Grote Serie’  (Source Publications of the Dutch Government, Large Folio Series).

    CHG provides the full text of the paper edition, except for the illustrations.  Letters appear in their original languages (Latin, Dutch, French and German).   The introductory essays, annotations, indices, and errata are all reproduced in Dutch.   The printing errors and editorial flaws and inconsistencies of the Briefwisseling – which could hardly be avoided in a project that took nearly seventy-five years to complete – are included as well.

    The electronic edition has a couple of distinct advantages as compared to the seventeen volumes in hard copy.   Since several volumes are currently out of print, only CHG can provide Grotius’ epistolary legacy in its entirety (and for free).  The electronic format makes it possible to explore the Briefwisseling by means of a couple of search keys, i.e. the name of a letter’s sender or recipient, the date of a letter, and the relevant volume of the paper edition.  CHG also permits full text search using single terms or a combination of words.  Page numbers, which refer to the paper edition, are included here for citation purposes. If you need more information on how to use and navigate CHG, please click on ‘How to use this edition’.

    The electronic edition has its limitations, of course.  It is not (yet) possible to search CHG by letter number or by the page number in the Briefwisseling.  More could be done to integrate the historical and contextual information contained (primarily, but not exclusively) in the annotations of the Briefwisseling.  An integrated bibliography and index is still lacking, for example.

    In the near future, the IT and academic staff of the Huygens Institute intend to refine the search tools of CHG and, more generally, to create a better fit between the Briefwisseling and the possibilities and requirements of a digital edition.  In order to facilitate the emendation and annotation of Grotius’ correspondence by qualified scholars, a next step in the editing process could be, for example, to create an wiki-like facility for CHG users.  In that case, all changes made in the electronic edition (as compared to the paper version) would be expressly noted, both to give due credit to the contributors and to properly distinguish between the Briefwisseling and CHG.

    Even before Grotius’ death, his correspondence was scattered far and wide.  His outgoing and incoming archive has been subject to disintegration ever since.  Therefore it is the experience of the editors of the Briefwisseling that currently unknown letters will surface at some point in the future.  Since the Briefwisseling’s completion in 2001, four more letters have been discovered, for example, while existing letters have been put in new and exciting historical contexts.The Huygens Institute welcomes any new information which you may have with regard to Grotius’ correspondence.  Please e-mail your comments and suggestions to henk.nellen@huygens.knaw.nl.

    Scholars who wish to reference CHG in their publications should do so as follows:

    The Correspondence of Hugo Grotius, digital edition, 1st edition. October 2009. Online at http://grotius.huygens.knaw.nl

     


     
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