Denis Diderot - New World Encyclopedia
This illustrated essay explores some images of "liberty" and "industry" from Diderot’s Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers (Encyclopaedia, or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts) (1751-1772). They have been taken …
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In addition to the threats from French officials, Diderot also found himself on the brink of poverty. He was ultimately forced to sell his personal library to Catherine II of Russia who allowed him to keep the volumes at his home in France and paid him a stipend to serve as her librarian. Supported by the generosity of the Russian Empress, Diderot was able to continue his work. In 1765, volumes 1 through 17 were published by a printer in Switzerland and disseminated across France and throughout Western Europe. Much to Diderot’s despair, it was discovered that the printer had removed many controversial articles from the final version. Despite this, the Encyclopédie was well received and marked a historic victory for free thought.
The heart of the eighteenth century Enlightenment is the looselyorganized activity of prominent French thinkers of the mid-decades ofthe eighteenth century, the so-called“philosophes”(e.g., Voltaire, D’Alembert,Diderot, Montesquieu). The philosophes constituted aninformal society of men of letters who collaborated on a looselydefined project of Enlightenment exemplified by the project of theEncyclopedia (see below 1.5). However, there are noteworthycenters of Enlightenment outside of France as well. There is arenowned Scottish Enlightenment (key figures are Frances Hutcheson,Adam Smith, David Hume, Thomas Reid), a German Enlightenment (dieAufklärung, key figures of which include Christian Wolff,Moses Mendelssohn, G.E. Lessing and Immanuel Kant), and there are alsoother hubs of Enlightenment and Enlightenment thinkers scatteredthroughout Europe and America in the eighteenth century.