The “Jean Paul Edition” is working with TELOTA on the letters from Jean Paul’s family and circle of friends for a digital edition. This supplements the online edition of all letters and the printed letters to Jean Paul.
Jean Paul (Johann Paul Friedrich Richter, 1763-1825) was one of the most successful German authors around 1800 and is considered one of the classics. Eduard Berend’s complete edition of his letters (9 volumes, 1952 to 1964) is one of the great philological achievements of the 20th century; thanks to a project sponsored by the German Research Foundation, it has been digitally accessible as an Open Access edition in an updated form since 2018. In addition to Berend’s edition, the Jean Paul Edition prepared all of the approximately 2,200 letters to Jean Paul as the fourth section of the historical-critical edition and by 2017 had supplemented the poet’s missing letters in a total of 19 text and commentary volumes.
This is now followed by the electronic publication of a collection of between 1,500 and 2,000 letters from Jean Paul’s family and circle of friends, which are of great cultural and historical interest. In this project, which is also funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation), this collection will be recorded in full text, briefly commented on and made accessible using the existing instruments of the digital Jean Paul Edition. The focus is on the register database, which records all persons, works and places of correspondence and guarantees uniform content and research-guided access to Jean Paul’s letters as well as those belonging to his milieu.
Correspondence around 1800 constituted a variety of social networks - one of the research objectives of the current project thus also encompasses the question of the divide between the private and the public sphere in which the letters were written. This research question will also be reflected in the practical application of the edition.
The digital edition of Jean Paul’s letters will be expanded to a platform with the cataloguing and access to the related letters. In the future, the correspondence of the fourth section will also be incorporated into this platform; it will be one of the largest letter portals ever, with around 10,000 catalogued items for the period around 1800.