C. F. Meyer: Digital Letter Edition

Launch of the digital letter edition on May 1, 2024

01.05.2024 | General, Project News

The digital C. F. Meyer letter edition now provides access to four volumes containing nearly 3,900 letters. Additionally, the digital edition offers a comprehensive overview of 383 life events related to C. F. Meyer and his work.
Screenshot CF Meyer Briefedition

History and Basic Concept of the Edition

The series C. F. Meyer's Correspondence. Historical-Critical Edition (MBW), founded in 1998 by Hans Zeller (1926–2014) and supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation, aims to edit selected correspondences of the Swiss poet Conrad Ferdinand Meyer (1825–1898) with historical-critical rigor. These correspondences have been either unpublished or only partially published, and previously available only in the form of reading editions. The edition aims for completeness, providing precise archival descriptions of the textual carriers, recording all genetic variants (integral within the edited text), and offering rich contextualization through commentary on transmission, detailed explanations of passages, and various indices.

For the first time, this edition includes all contemporary reviews of Meyer's works that have been researched. The edition is supplemented with biographical data on Meyer and his correspondents, as well as data on the genesis and publication history of all his works.

Hybrid Edition

The printed edition is designed as 6 volumes, some with multiple sub-volumes (MBW 1–3: Bern: Benteli 1998–2004; MBW 4–6: Göttingen: Wallstein 2014ff.; totaling 13 volumes). With the online edition of C. F. Meyer's correspondence, the edition becomes a hybrid edition, uniting all previously published volumes and providing a common comprehensive index. The digital edition includes all reviews; however, it does not include the so-called "document attachments," i.e., the selection of additional documents (such as letters from or to third parties, publishing contracts, etc.) included in the printed volumes. Our hybrid concept fundamentally aims for complementarity between the printed and digital editions, ensuring that the printed edition remains relevant (see also: Editorial Notes). The volume structure of the printed edition is made visible and serves as a possible access point to the documents.

The letter collection preserved in the Central Library Zurich has now been fully digitized (www.e-manuscripta.ch), thus completing the edition with a source archive. The collection from the Marienfeld Archive (MBW 2) cannot yet be displayed. The numerous names and works recurring in the individual volumes are interconnected, and the network of cross-referencing explanations and comments built up throughout the edition is now easily accessible for study. In addition to the division into partial correspondences and their chronological arrangement within the volumes of the printed edition, various filtering options for the letters are available. Finally, the textual content of the letters can be researched through differentiated search queries.

C. F. Meyer: Digital Letter Edition


Prof. Dr. Sabine Schneider has institutionally led and managed this project since 2008. Prof. em. Dr. Rosmarie Zeller has generously supported the completion of the present digital edition and the (not yet completed) development of the final volume of the series (C.F. Meyer–R. Rahn) through a generous donation. Both of them deserve special thanks from the editors.

Bildnachweis: «Zentralbibliothek Zürich, Graphische Sammlung und Fotoarchiv».
Image Credit: "Central Library Zurich, Graphic Collection and Photo Archive".


Tags: Letters, 19th century