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Forty years in Oxford (1977–2017)


The Voltaire Foundation is the world leader for eighteenth-century scholarship: it publishes the definitive edition of the Complete Works of Voltaire (Œuvres complètes de Voltaire), as well as Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment (previously SVEC), the foremost series devoted to Enlightenment studies with over 600 volumes published to date, not forgetting the correspondences of several key French thinkers, including Voltaire, Rousseau, Helvétius and Pierre Bayle. See our catalogue of publications for full details.

Voltaire is the greatest of the Enlightenment philosophers, and his voice and values remain a vital presence in European culture today. It is the mission of the Voltaire Foundation to promote and explore these values.

The Foundation was founded by Theodore Besterman (1904–1976), for whom Voltaire was ‘the apostle of freedom, reason and justice’. Following Besterman’s death the Voltaire Foundation was vested permanently in the University of Oxford, we are therefore celebrating 40 years in the city! We are currently located at 99 Banbury Road, in Central North Oxford.


The Foundation serves as secretariat of the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ISECS), the principal interdisciplinary forum for eighteenth-century research worldwide, founded, like the Voltaire Foundation, by Theodore Besterman. In addition to its publishing activities, the Foundation offers opportunities for students, including a travel grant for PhD students in 18th-century studies, and the chance to participate in various editorial projects. We also organize a series of events in 18th-century studies, and publish a collaborative blog on all aspects of 18th-century life and culture.

As well as our current team and Management Board, the Voltaire Foundation boasts a vast and prestigious international network of collaborators, partners and sponsors. Because it is our mission to continue delivering the best in 18th-century scholarship, we have set up an ambitious development campaign and we are making plans to ensure our digital presence well into the future.


Front view of the Voltaire Foundation on Banbury Road, Oxford.

Front view of the Voltaire Foundation on Banbury Road, Oxford.