Classiques Garnier Numérique

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    Online resources currently available from Classiques Garnier Numérique include databases of primary source texts, classic works of criticism, and dictionaries.

    May 17, 2024 7:37pm
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    Collection Content

    The publishing house Classiques Garnier was established in 1833 to provide edited editions of classical, French, and worldwide literature. Series of critical essays in the humanities and social sciences were introduced in 1896. The first electronic content was offered in 1985, with a new series of electronic editions launched in 1998. Online resources available currently from Classiques Garnier Numérique include databases of primary source texts, classic works of criticism, and dictionaries. The publisher notes two main categories of resources, which include the following titles:

    I. Databases of content from the Middle Ages to the present day

    • Grand Corpus des dictionnaires de langue française, du IXe au XXe siècle (24 important dictionaries ranging from Old French to the dictionary of the French Academy)
    • Encyclopédie d’Yverdon (Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des connaissances humaines)
    • Grand Corpus des littératures française et francophone du Moyen Âge au XXe siècle (four literary corpora covering more than 300 authors: Medieval literature from the origins to the 15th century; Narrative literature from the Middle Ages to the 20th century; Francophone literature from sub-Saharan Africa from the origins to independence; and Francophone literature from the Indian Ocean from the origins to independence.)
    • La Critique littéraire, le XIXe siècle
    • Les Écrits sur l’art, du XVIIIe au XXe siècle
    • La Révolution et l’Empire, par les écrivains et historiens du XIXe siècle
    • Patrologia graeca (compilation of Greek Church Fathers up to 1478 by Jacques-Paul Migne)

     II. Editorial backlists (monographic series)

    • Montaigne Studies
    • Studies and Essays on the Renaissance
    • Renaissance Literary Library – 3series
    • World Geographies
    • Conferences, Congresses, Colloquia on the European Renaissance
    • International Society of Interdisciplinary Studies on the Renaissance (S.I.R.I.R.)
    • Renaissance Texts

    A recently issued title is the compilation Grand Corpus des grammaires françaises, des remarques et des traités sur la langue (XVe-XVIIe siecles). The complete works of Montaigne as well as Pierre Bayles are newly available online.

    All of the monographic series from Classiques Garnier are issued in both hard copy and as online electronic resources. Some of the databases are also issued on CD-ROM or DVD. Page image facsimiles are being added to databases that previously only offered full text.

    Editorial Policy

    A publishing committee selects editions for inclusion in the various literary corpora. According to the publisher, works issued by Classiques Garnier Numerique are presented according to three criteria of electronic text editing or “numerical philology” as defined by literature professor Claude Blum of the Sorbonne: coherent inclusiveness (ideally all editions from an author’s lifetime or at least the latest most complete versions); exact reproduction of the original format including page numbering; and linking of full text to page image facsimiles. Blum edited the Classiques Garnier edition of Montaigne’s work, which has been described as a collection of editions (from 1580, 1582, 1587, and 1588) lacking an interface for critical comparison of multiple versions.[1]



    MARC records are available for the works in the databases.

    The full text is tagged using an extensive DTD (Document Type Definition. See below under Technical Platform):

    Technical Platform and Interface

    The text-searching accuracy standards applied by Classiques Garnier require that full text is generated by double or triple comparative keyboarding instead of automated OCR. Detailed tagging using an extensive DTD is applied to numerous features of the original, producing a “diplomatic-edition.” Tags include “all the different parts of a given corpus of texts (pre-texts, texts, post-texts; parts, chapters), as well as original pagination and “all the data on the page, collating zones, type-face . . . written forms, [and] spelling [including noting typographic errors]."

    Search functions are intended to be flexible, serving various levels of specialization for teachers, researchers, and students. The publisher notes that “all search-fields can be combined thanks to dynamic indices which produce results in real time”. Equivalent spellings are offered in the corpus of dictionaries. Meta-linguistic searches are supported for the corpus of French grammar texts. 

    Customized interface functions include a user profile to save searches, notes, and selected text corpora hosted on the Classiques Garnier Numérique server for an unlimited period.


    For the corpora of literature and dictionaries, individual topical selections may be purchased separately. The critical works combined in La Bibliothèque des Lettres are available by annual subscription only (some portions of that may be subscribed to separately, including La Critique littéraire, Les Écrits sur l’art, and La Révolution et l’Empire).

    Prices are quoted in euros. Perpetual and unlimited access purchase prices are supplemented by annual platform fees (a flat maintenance fee of 573 euros is offered if more than three databases are purchased). But unfortunately, while the publishers describe the purchase as perpetual access, they indicate that all access is cut off for any library not paying the annual fee. ("The one-time purchase allows . . . permanent access to the material in the sense that if they do not pay the annual maintenance fee one year, the access will be turned off but once they will renew it, no other additional cost will be requested to reactivate their online access account.")


    Center for Research Libraries

    • Virginia Kerr - Digital Program Manager
    Additional Reviews in Other Sources

    Uziel, Lidia. "Classiques Garnier Numerique." The Charleston Advisor. October 2011. pp. 28-32. Accessed November 26, 2013.


    [1] Katherine A. Senzee, “‘Mon Livre est tousjours un’: toward an electronic edition of Montaigne’s multiple text”, Master of Arts thesis, Brigham Young University, 2003. Accessed August 8, 2011,

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