Interest in the Dutch-Swiss author Belle van Zuylen/Isabelle de Charrière has increased substantially over the past few years. In the Netherlands, she has been acclaimed as the ‘greatest-ever citizen of Utrecht’ (2004) and included in the ‘Pantheon’ of the Netherlands Museum of Literature (2010). Her work is also the subject of more interest abroad, and her music is being increasingly added to the repertoire of musicians.
Belle van Zuylen (1740-1805) wrote and published in French, appealing to a wide international public in her time. In addition to novels, plays and pamphlets, her work largely consists of correspondence with family members and friends and with various European writers and thinkers. Her letters belong to European cultural heritage and form a source of scientific research at home and abroad.
Her correspondence has been included in volumes 1-6 of the 10-volume Oeuvres complètes (Van Oorschot Publishers, Amsterdam, 1979-1984). This publication in the original French text in 18th-century spelling is of great importance to scientific research, but less suited to a wide public. Dutch translations from a selection of the correspondence have been published.
This project is geared to a digital publication of her correspondence, with a scan of the manuscript, and transcript to modern French, and a Dutch and an English translation, all of which are furnished with commentary.