The McGill Library Voltaire Research Travel Grant

Frontispiece from volume one of the Oeuvres complètes de Voltaire, Paris : Chez Antoine-Augustin Renourd, 1819. Frontispiece from volume one of the Oeuvres complètes de Voltaire, Paris : Chez Antoine-Augustin Renourd, 1819. Thanks to the generosity of Dr Andrew Vine (McGill BSc. ’68, MDCM ’72) and Dr Caroline Blane (McGill BSc. ’69, MDCM ’73), The McGill Library Voltaire Research Travel Grant is available to literary scholars, book historians, graduate and post-doctoral students, and to those interested in the arts and humanities of the Enlightenment era.

$2,500 in awards will be made to one or more individuals whose project requires them to spend a minimum of two weeks to come to McGill to consult the rich holdings of Voltaire and other Enlightenment works in Rare Books and Special Collections.

Rare Books and Special Collections possesses a major collection of published and unpublished works related to the Enlightenment, particularly Voltaire (1694-1778), one of the most prolific authors of the French Enlightenment and one of the most influential thinkers of all time.  

At the core of the McGill Voltaire holdings is the J. Patrick Lee acquisition of 2013, consisting of some 3,200 volumes. Together with pre-existing holdings, works authored by Voltaire currently number close to 1,000 titles, many of which are early editions. The Lee Collection also contains more than 1,100 editions by contemporaries representing the dominant intellectual networks and themes of the century. Several hundred are directly connected to Voltaire through printed commentaries, refutations, parodies and imitations of his work.  In addition, there are 40 manuscripts dating to the 18th or early 19th centuries, including Voltaire correspondence and hand-written copies of various works, offering a direct material contact with the age of the Enlightenment.

This great wealth of material is part of the larger 18th-century holdings in the McGill Library of important literary, social and political figures like Rousseau, Hume, and Burney. It bridges British and continental thinkers and broadens access to book history topics, culminating into a rich experience in the field of Enlightenment studies.

Please consult the McGill Library Catalogue for details of our holdings -

How to apply

Candidates must provide a pdf document that includes:

  1. A description, 1500 words maximum, of the intended project, and of the portion of it, if it is a large undertaking, which will be the focus of work done during the time spent at McGill.
  2. A current curriculum vitæ giving details of completed and continuing research.
  3. The email addresses of two scholars who have agreed to respond to a request to evaluate the candidate's proposal.
  4. The time they intend to take up the grant.

Applications should be sent to: rarebooks.library [at]

Please note that the each recipient will be required to submit a written report on their work at McGill that will be published on the library website, and potentially give a talk about it.  The recipient will also be expected to acknowledge the library's support in future presentations of the work.



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