Les Lectures de Valéry
Catalogue et corpus de notes marginales de la bibliothèque personnelle de Paul Valéry
Books and Marginalia in Paul Valéry's Personal Library
Directed by Judith Robinson-Valéry and Brian Stimpson
The aim of this research project is to realise the intellectual reconstitution of Valéry's private library in the context of inter-disciplinary research and the genetics of ideas. The project will assemble material from four private collections and one public collection to produce a complete catalogue of the books in Valéry's library, a full description of all forms of intervention and the reproduction and transcription of the marginalia. This will provide definitive evidence of the material which Valéry read, identify the wide range of influences and demonstrate the way in which he took up, challenged and rejected ideas encountered elsewhere.
While fewer than a hundred books are publicly known, the personal library of Paul Valéry in fact comprises some 2000 items of outstanding scientific, philosophical and literary importance. Like the great libraries of Voltaire or Coleridge, the collection as a whole reveals the encyclopaedic breadth of Valéry's interests, while many individual volumes are marked by interventions which show direct engagement with the ideas and often extensive annotations.
« L'air immense ouvre et referme mon livre »
(from Le Cimetière marin)
This is a collaborative research project between Valéry Studies at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique / Institut des Textes et Manuscrits Modernes, Paris; it is part of the CNRS research programme 'Les Archives de la création: avant-texte, intertexte et hypertexte', along with related projects on Nietzsche, Joyce and Flaubert. Though primarily located in the field of French studies the projects have wider inter-disciplinary and cross-institutional implications.
View title page of catalogue
Contact the Library Project: Brian Stimpson or Niels Buch-Jepsen