Olive Schreiner (1855-1920) is one of the world’s great feminist writers and social theorists, with her novels including The Story of an African Farm and From Man to Man, her allegories including Dreams and Dream Life and Real Life, and her political treatises including Woman and Labour. She also wrote over 5500 exceptionally important letters, the earliest dating from 1871, the last written just a few days before her death in December 1920.

Schreiner’s letters – all of them, full and complete just as she wrote them – will be published in January 2012 and will be freely available world-wide in a fully-searchable electronic edition. The Olive Schreiner Letters Online will provide a new, detailed, and unique electronic resource for a variety of research and teaching purposes.

The Olive Schreiner Letters Online will be hosted at www.oliveschreiner.org from January 2012 on and will provide transcriptions of Schreiner’s 5500+ extant letters located in archives across Europe, the US and South Africa, as well as a detailed editorial interpretive apparatus around these. The entirety of Schreiner’s extant letters will be available in a fully searchable form, using both free-text and Boolean search facilities. The letters provide a key resource for secondary analysis for researchers and students across the social sciences, humanities and arts, as well as wider readers. The Project’s transcriptions of Schreiner letters are full and detailed – including every insertion and deletion as well as the main text. Also The Olive Schreiner Letters Project provides a raft of sophisticated user research information, including detailed letter Notations concerned with Schreiner’s writing, topic collections of key letters on major themes of concern to Schreiner, guides to the archival locations of all her letters, information about writing and other networks Schreiner was involved in, and an ‘Essential Schreiner’ compendium of must read letters. This informational source makes available a wide range of important background information which can be drawn on and help provide depth to secondary analysis of Schreiner’s writings, including the letters themselves, as well as regarding the networks she was involved in. The Olive Schreiner Letters Project has been designed with the aim of encouraging and supporting secondary analysis and research.

The Olive Schreiner Letters Project has been funded by the UK’s ESRC (RES-062-23-1286) and the letters are being published by the renowned electronic research resources publisher HRIOnline. The research team includes Liz Stanley, Helen Dampier, Andrea Salter, David Shepherd, Michael Meredith and Kiera Chapman.

Schreiner’s letters are of exceptional interest because they contain her unfolding thinking about her writing and publishing activities, and also her developing analysis and social theorising around the crucially important topics that preoccupied her, including: metropolitan feminism and socialism, prostitution and its analysis, imperialism and the ‘scramble for Africa’, war & peace, changing understandings of ‘race’ and capital, intersectional theorising around women, gender and ‘race’, the South African War (1899-1902) & its concentration camps & women’s relief organisations, governance & federation, international women's franchise campaigns, labour issues, international feminist networks, the Great War, diplomacy & pacifism, and much more as well.

Information about the Schreiner Letters Project is available at: www.oliveschreinerletters.ed.ac.uk. Many Project publications are available to download and there is also information about Schreiner and her core concerns, including downloadable copies of her major publications. The leaflet in the attached file also provides further information about the Project and Schreiner’s letters.

If you would like to hear more about Olive Schreiner Letters Online and receive information about activities and events from across the globe concerning letters and other forms of life representation more broadly, please subscribe to our **Lives & Letters mailing list** by emailing us at oliveschreiner@yahoo.co.uk. Alternatively, you can self-subscribe to the mailing list by sending a blank email to sympa@mlist.is.ed.ac.uk with the following in the subject: sub lives-and-letters.


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Last modified 14 March 2012