Research Programs: Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Period of Performance

1/1/2005 - 12/31/2005

Funding Totals

$40,000.00 (approved)
$40,000.00 (awarded)

Anna Maria van Schurman's Letters on Women's Education: A Critical and Annotated Bilingual Edition

FAIN: FB-50135-04

Anne R. Larsen
Hope College (Holland, MI 49423-3663)

Anna Maria van Schurman (1607-1678) was probably the most learned woman of her time in Europe and a much sought-out correspondent. In the 1630s, she corresponded in Latin with André Rivet, A French Calvinist theologian, on whether scholarly work is fitting for "a Christian woman." Her letters and Rivet's responses were published in 1641 and then translated by Guillaume Colletet under the title Question célèbre. S'il est nécessaire, ou non, que les Filles soient sçavantes (Paris, 1646). Mine will be the first critical bilingual edition of these letters since their original publication. My edition will include Schurman's published and unpublished French correspondence. Honoré Champion will publish the edition. It is for this that I seek NEH support. My edition will be completed in four stages: (1) the establishment of the base-texts (Latin and French) by examining as many extant copies as possible, (2) the base-texts transcription, (3) the preparation of an introduction, a glossary, appendices, reference indices, and a bibliography, and (4) a detailed critical commentary. To date, I have completed stage one and a good portion of stage two. Anna Maria van Schurman has gained increasing recognition in the last decade for her championing of women's education and for the window she opens on early modern women's entry into the Republic of Letters. This recognition of her significance gives urgency to the publication of her work, which will provide a foundation for studies both in early modern scholarship and liberal education.