Universal genius left behind 100,000 pages of writings and letters

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) was one of the most influential figures of European intellectual history. His life and work exemplarily demonstrate the process of modernization which captured the largest part of Europe in the 17th century.  Few intellectuals left behind such an extensive literary estate: His writings and letters comprise 100,000 pages, the sighting and editing of which is the goal of the researchers of the academy project “Leibniz Edition”.

Leibniz engaged with philosophy, theology, linguistics, history, law and political science as well as with mathematics and physics. He also commented on practical questions regarding economics, medicine, technology and politics. He wrote a large part of his writings in Latin and French.

The cataloging of his literary estate began in 1901. However, the progress of the edition was severely impeded by the two World Wars. Since 1985, the project has been jointly attended to by the Academies Berlin-Brandenburg and Goettingen; the editorial work is divided by research discipline among four workplaces (Muenster, Hanover, Berlin, Potsdam).