Correspondance of Isabelle de Charrière

This resource Correspondance d’Isabelle de Charrière / Letters from Belle van Zuylen currently contains 199 letters from and to the 18th-century Dutch-Swiss writer Belle van Zuylen / Isabelle the Charrière. The first version of this resource was launched on 26 October 2019 in Het Utrechts Archief. In the course of the next two years, all her (approximately 2600 surviving) letters will be presented here. This correspondence (written in French) shows she had an extensive communication with various European writers, thinkers, politicians (m/f), with members of her Dutch family (Van Tuyll van Serooskerken) and with acquaintances she had gained in the literary world of Paris – reason why it is often used as a source by historians. Moreover, the letters also seem to interest all kinds of non-specialists. They have been published in book form by publisher Van Oorschot (1979-1984), but because that edition maintains the spelling from the 18th century, they are not really easy to read. This website will meet this need.

The intention is that in 2021 the complete correspondence will be available online, in modernized spelling, with annotations and (as much as possible) with translations into Dutch. The work is carried out in collaboration with a group of volunteers (up to now mostly members of the Belle van Zuylen Society) and with French students in the context of the literary translation lectures of Dr. Marc Smeets (Radboud University Nijmegen). The project is being realized within the Huygens Institute for Dutch History (KNAW), and is led by Dr. Suzan van Dijk and Dr. Madeleine van Strien-Chardonneau. It is also possible – for those who are familiar with French – to participate in the work: contact if necessary.