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The Correspondence of Isaac Casaubon, 1610-1614


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The letters from Casaubon's years in London are now published: The Correspondence of Isaac Casaubon in EnglandLink opens in a new window, 1610-14, 4 vols, edited by Paul Botley and Máté Vince, Geneva, Droz, 2018.

Details of Casaubon's letters are now available through Early Modern Letters Online: The Correspondence of Isaac Casaubon – EMLO).

For the Casaubon blog, see: Clusters, continued collaborations, and the correspondence of Isaac Casaubon | Cultures of Knowledge.

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A generous grant from the Leverhulme Trust has made possible this landmark edition of the correspondence of Isaac Casaubon from his final years in London, 1610-1614.

The new edition has received praise in many reviews. Nick Hardy wrote: ‘This outstandingly well‐researched and presented edition of Isaac Casaubon’s correspondence ... illuminates every aspect of late humanist culture. An edition ... at the cutting edge of research into late Renaissance correspondence’ (Renaissance Studies). James Zetzel wrote: 'For their labors on this material, Paul Botley and Máté Vince deserve our profound admiration as well as our thanks. ... This edition displays an astonishing level of both learning and accuracy’ (Bryn Mawr Classical Review). William Stenhouse spoke of an ‘inspiring and imposing edition. ... The editors’ achievements are remarkable ... a fundamental resource for anyone interested in early seventeenth-century religious debates, in the intellectual world of the Stuart court, or in later Renaissance scholarship’ (Renaissance Quarterly). Jan Machielsen: 'it is a minor miracle that in the age of REF submissions and impact case-studies even a partial critical edition of Casaubon’s correspondence is able to appear. The editors deserve a great deal of admiration for this considerable contribution to scholarship' (English Historical Review). Thomas Vozar: 'a major contribution to the study of the early modern republic of letters and indeed to intellectual history more generally' (Early Modern Literary Studies).

Casaubon's life and letters

Isaac Casaubon (1559, Geneva - 1614, London) was an internationally renowned classical scholar, who began his career as a professor of Greek and Latin Literature at the University of Geneva in the 1580s, moving for a short time to Montpellier in 1597, and then invited to Paris by Henri IV in 1599. Though himself a Protestant, he enjoyed the patronage of the king, who had converted to Catholicism in 1593. The assassination of Henri IV in 1610, instigated, Casaubon believed, by the Jesuits, convinced him to accept the invitation of King James I and VI, and he spent the last four years of his life in London.

He corresponded with the intellectual elite of his age, including Catholic and Protestants scholars, theologians, historians, ambassadors and statesmen. Other scholars often turned to him for advice on the Greek language or on ancient customs. He was approached by the translators of the King James Bible for help. He was regularly praised for his editions of classical and modern authors. His publications and correspondence from his time in England show him more and more engaged in theological debates; his carefully phrased, moderate but firmly Protestant polemical writings sometimes provoked fierce ad hominem attacks, particularly from Jesuit authors.

This project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, directed by Prof. Paul BotleyLink opens in a new window, with Dr Máté VinceLink opens in a new window as a postdoctoral researcher, at the University of Warwick, has edited all the surviving letters written to and by Casaubon during his time in England. Published in September 2018, it is the first critical edition of these 731 letters, and includes 312 letters which have never been published before. Most of the letters are in Latin (90%); the rest are in French, Greek, Italian and Hebrew. Each letter is headed by information on the place and date of sending and receiving, the available sources, couriers, as well as a summary in English, in order to make the letters more easily accessible, and footnotes provide contextual and philological information.

To order The Correspondence of Isaac Casaubon, 1610-1614, please visit the publisher's websiteLink opens in a new window.