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Voltaire's Library

The Rare Books Department holds Voltaire's Library, purchased by Catherine II immediately after the death of the French philosopher. Since 1778, Voltaire's Library belonged to the private royal library, founded by Catherine II, which was also known as the Hermitage collection. In 1852, it was transferred from the Hermitage to the Imperial Public Library. Voltaire's Library covers almost ten languages, and contains 6,814 printed books on diverse subjects, some of 2,000 of which feature handwritten notes made by philosopher himself or other traces of reading. For many years, our research staff have been working to decipher the notes by Voltaire. The German Publisher Akademie - Verlag has produced the first five volumes of the Corpus of the Marginal Notes of Voltaire, prepared by curators of Voltaire's Library. The complete work will be published in eight volumes.

Voltaire's Library, the unique monuments of 18th century culture, is one of some well surviving private libraries of that time.

You can see our website, dedicated to Voltaire's Library, which is maintained in Russian and French.

Contact Information

tel .: (812) 407-42-66
Head of the Centre: Natalia Speranskaya

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