Sources is a collection of facsimiles of rare manuscripts that was launched in 2007. To date, it has published 20 volumes.
It was started by three partners: the Martin Bodmer Foundation in Cologny; the Geneva bibliophile Jean Bonna, renowned for his collection of masterpieces of French literature; and the Presses Universitaires de France in Paris.
The collection spans a period of 20 centuries: from the first preserved written copy of the Gospel According to Saint John, to the notes and rough draft found in Borges’ workshop. Several of the texts were written at the end of the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance, marking the end of an epoch and the beginning of our modern era. They are a startling reminder of the beauty of the texts and manuscripts of the time.
Sources also ventures further afield, reminding the reader that our culture has its roots in a wide spectrum of traditions. It covers Europe (England, Germany, Russia) as well as Asia (China, Japan, Thailand).
Its scope goes beyond literature to include other intellectual fields such as religion, medicine and historiography. The history of science will soon be added to the list.
By printing true copies of original manuscripts, the intention is to convince readers that books are not neutral but are an experience in themselves.
The following will be released in 2012:
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, La Botanique, Paris, Baudouin, 1822. 65 colour plates by Jean-Joseph Redouté. Introductions by Alain Grosrichard and Jean-Marc Drouin.
Pietro da Eboli, De balneis Puteolanis (On the baths of Pozzuoli), illuminated manuscript of the first half of the 14th century, copied at the court of René d’Anjou. Introduction by Benoît Grévin.