New version of the Johann Caspar Lavater Edition online

15.07.2023 | Project News

Imagine that you will write or receive 13,019 letters in your lifetime! This is exactly the status at the moment in version 1.2. of the research project Johann Caspar Lavater: Historical-Critical Edition of Selected Correspondence (JCLB), which invites you online via as a research platform or to browse and read in the world of 18th century scholars.

»Ihre lieben Briefe liegen mit etwa 200 unbeantworteten vor mir« (Lavater an Johann Georg Hamann, 8th May 1785)

By the end of the research project, the "network" will contain well over 23,000 letters to and from the Zurich philosopher and theologian Johann Caspar Lavater, of which the most important correspondence to poets, philosophers, writers and artists will be available in a historical-critical edition in the "Edition".

With version 1.2, 1,913 letters with new metadata have been made available as digital copies since July 15, 2023. In addition, transcribed and text-critically indexed correspondences with the Bernese polymath Albrecht von Haller and the German philosopher and writer Johann Georg Hamann (cf. citation) can be found alongside those already available. The register to JCLB has been expanded accordingly with the now completed import; the biography with pictures of Johann Caspar Lavater is accessible via a gallery.

In version 1.2., in addition to the film of the JCLB research project already posted, a further film can be viewed, which impressively documents the collaboration between the Zurich Central Library and the JCLB research project.

How many letters Johann Caspar Lavater actually answered during his life will probably never be known exactly. That it must have been an unimaginably large amount is not only evident from his own written statements, but can be guessed from the indexing of the letters still available today in the JCLB research project.

Tags: Letters, Digital Technologies and Tools, Text Collections