Monday, April 13, 2009


Recently, the Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (SULAIR) launched the Super-Enlightenment Web site in beta version at:

Screenshot of Super-enlightenment home

You can also use these shorter URLs to access the site:

What It Contains

This collection assembles about three dozen rare works in French written between 1716 and 1835, covering mythology, alchemy, religion, free-masonry, science, and other topics. Rather than rejecting what we commonly think of as Enlightenment ideas and paradigms, these esoteric texts explore many of the same themes, representing what Dan Edelstein, assistant professor of Stanford's French and Italian department and faculty coordinator of this site, calls "the dark side of the Enlightenment" -- or "Super-Enlightenment." We hope that making these works available as a searchable corpus (after they have long been pushed to the margins) will open up new paths of research for scholars at Stanford and around the world. Historians, literary scholars, and art historians are some of the target audiences for this resource.

This text collection currently consists of 64 volumes, both held by SULAIR and gathered from other library collections, that are presented as searchable PDFs. Yet Super-E is not only a collection of primary sources, it also offers scholarly materials for the researcher and teacher. Nine bio-bibliographical essays by specialists in the field and Professor Edelstein's brief introduction offer historical and theoretical background to the project and to the works and authors that it showcases. Users can also sort the texts by author, date, and by the following thematic topics: Art and Architecture, Illuminism and Science, Masonry, Mythology, Orientalism, and Reform and Revolution

How to Search the Collection

The current beta release does not offer full-text searching across all volumes, however current users can download the PDFs for each volume and search them separately. Future releases will include the search capabilities currently under active development by Digital Library Systems and Services that will allow searching across all of SULAIR's scanned texts.

... this announcement was also posted on Speaking of Computers, the technology and e-resources newsletter of SULAIR.

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brought to you by...
Sarah Sussman, curator of French and Italian Collections