- CHAPTER THREE
- Introduction to the Critical Online Edition of Du Châtelet’s Chapter Three
- I. Versions and variants
- II. Short survey of the versions D and F, and of the variants A, B, C, E and G
- III. A few significant differences between the versions D and F, also including the variants
- IV. Note on the technical and editorial presentation of the edition
Introduction to the Critical Online Edition of Du Châtelet’s Chapter Three
I. Versions and variants
Since the Paris manuscript BNF Fr. 12265 reveals many revision stages, it was crucial for the editors to make explicit the main stages of revision in structure and content made by Émilie Du Châtelet, through establishing them as textual versions on their own, rather than placing them in the variant apparatus. On the one hand, this makes it easier for the reader to perceive the differences by presenting the versions as distinct texts, so that the reader does not need to reconstruct all revision stages from the entries in the variant apparatus, which at times is quite a complicated task. On the other hand, in order to analyze the differences between the revision stages in detail, the reader needs to compare the online edited versions by arranging them in separate windows on the screen or display. This might be demanding at times, yet it is still easier than reconstructing all revision stages from the variant apparatus.
However, in order to make the comparison between the distinct versions easier, we decided to offer, in these introductory notes, a survey of some striking differences between the versions. We continue to provide a variant apparatus, however, representing the finer-grained revisions made by Émilie Du Châtelet.
By consequently establishing versions as texts on their own, and as distinguished by the amount of changes in structure and content, we also establish revision stages as variants which might only consist of one word being changed.
We can count up to seven revision stages: four handwritten stages (Sigla A to D) and three printed ones (Sigla E to G).
Of those four handwritten revision stages, we decided to establish the last revision stage D. The very first draft A is accessible, together with the revisions B and C, in the variant apparatus of version D.
In addition to the edition of the manuscript drafts, we also edit the 1740 Paris printed version (version F) and document the printed proofsheets sent to the Prussian Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia in spring 1740 as well as the revised 1742 Amsterdam printed version in the variant apparatus of version F.
|VERSIONS AND VARIANTS||SOURCE|
|A = VARIANT DOCUMENTED IN THE VARIANT APPARATUS OF VERSION D||Émilie Du Châtelet: Institutions de physique, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS fr. 12265, 59r-66v|
|B = VARIANT DOCUMENTED IN THE VARIANT APPARATUS OF VERSION D||Émilie Du Châtelet: Institutions de physique, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS fr. 12265, 59r-66v|
|C = VARIANT DOCUMENTED IN THE VARIANT APPARATUS OF VERSION D||Émilie Du Châtelet: Institutions de physique, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS fr. 12265, 59r-66v|
|D = MAIN TEXT = VERSION|
|E = VARIANT DOCUMENTED IN THE VARIANT APPARATUS OF VERSION F||Du Châtelet: Institutions de physique, Staatsbibliothek Berlin, Mv 4645 (proofsheets Paris 1740), 38-53|
|F = MAIN TEXT = VERSION||Du Châtelet: Institutions de physique, Paris: Prault, 1740, 38-53|
|G = VARIANT DOCUMENTED IN THE VARIANT APPARATUS OF VERSION F||Du Châtelet: Institutions physiques, Amsterdam: Depens de la compagnie, 1742, 40-58|
II. Short survey of the versions D and F, and of the variants A, B, C, E and G
D is the latest revision stage of the first draft A, which breaks off at fol. 83v/16, i.e. D, paragraph 24. Du Châtelet then continued with B, which she revised again towards C and D. Both D and the printed version from 1740 (F) count 38 paragraphs. The Amsterdam 1742 printed edition of Chapter Three is only slightly longer than D and F.
III. A few significant differences between the versions D and F, also including the variants
Instead of giving a full account of the differences between the edited versions and the variants documented in the variant apparatus of D and F, we highlight a few changes that were made by Émilie Du Châtelet, so that the reader may get an idea of their possible impact. As editors we will not, however, provide interpretations of the changes Du Châtelet made.
But what kind of differences do we find in the two edited versions of Chapter Three, including their variants?
It is striking that A breaks off at a point where Du Châtelet began to write about the "dispute si fameuse parmi les Philosophes, si Dieu a pû donner la pensée à la matiere ou non." At that point A finishes as follows: "sujet queceux qui decoulent deson essence d’ou il suit necessairemt que la matiere ..." In B, after "sujet queceux qui decoulent deson essence," Du Châtelet continues as follows: "ce que finit cette dispute si fameuse parmi les philosophes, si dieu apu donnerlapensée a la matiere, ou non car il suit necessairemt dela doctrine des essences qu’il ne peut yavoir de proprietés dans un sujet quecelles qui decoulent de son essence, c’est adire delacombinaison deses determinations necessaires et invariables, mais tous les philosophes avouent que lamatiere entant que matiere, cest adire entant qu’etendue et impenetrable ne peut former une pensée dou il suit quelle ne peut non plus recevoir cett attribut, car elle ne seroit plus matiere, ce seroit un autre etre mais quentant que matiere la pensée ne peut avoir sa raison sufisante dans son essence ainsi la pensée netant point lattribut de la matiere par son essence come les philosophes qui croient que quelle peut penser lavouent eux memes, et cet attribut de la pensée ne lui pouvant etre comuniqué." In D (paragraph 24) she finally replaces the passage in B ("dou il suit ... pouvant etre comuniqué") by the following one: "mais que dieu apeutetre donné ala matiere lattribut de la pensée quoiquelle ne lait point par son essence, et quainsi come on ne sait point ce quil a plu a dieu defaire on ne peut savoir non plus si cequi pense en ns est matiere ou non, mais puisquils avouent que la pensée n’est point fondée dans lessence dela matiere, quelle nest point un attribut de la matiere, et cet attribut delapensée ne [...] lui peut etre communiqu[é]." In § 47 of version F she slightly changes this passage again. In G, still concerning the discussion on thinking matter, Du Châtelet revises and restructures § 48 to § 50 of version F: she cancels § 48 of version F in G; § 48 of the 1742 edition (G) is equivalent to § 50 of the 1740 edition (F), and § 50 in G corresponds with the beginning of § 49 in F.
While there are significant changes between A and D, and F and G, there are only a few differences between D and F, as one can see, for example, in § 37 (see paragraph 6 of versions D and F).
IV. Note on the technical and editorial presentation of the edition
As for the technical presentation, there are still changes to come. The design and structure as well as the information implemented in the XML files will be refined. Due to the work required to program all these refinements, it will take some time until the final edition can be presented online.
For now, we show a preliminary version, a work in progress, which is the basis for all future refinements.
Also still lacking is the commentary on the texts. The editors’ work on the commentary is part of a broader research project which is yet to be done.