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DIDEROT, DENIS; JEAN LE ROND D'ALEMBERT AND OTHERS.ENCYCLOPEDIE, OU DICTION- NAIRE RAISONNE DES SCIENCES, DES ARTS ET DES METIERS [...]. A complete example of this “monument in the history of European thought; the acme of the age of reason; a prime motive force in undermining the ancien regime and in heralding the French Revolution; a permanent source for all aspects of eighteenth century civilizations” (PMM). The finest, most extensive and famous encyclopaedic work on the sciences, arts and professions of the 18th century, and arguably the most influential piece of French literature, the Encyclopedie originated with the publisher's suggestion for a translation of Chambers Cyclopaedia into French. Diderot (1713-84), however, persuaded him to undertake a new work along the same lines but greatly extended in size and scope, which would employ all the active writers of its time, all the new ideas and all the new knowledge circulating in the cultured class in France but needed further dispersal in order to be effective. The importance of this work is to be found in the contributions of over 200 philosophers, writers, scientists and jurists of the era of Enlightenment, like Voltaire, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Buffon, Marmontel, Necker, Condorcet, Turgot and others. The greater part of the 71818 entries however, was written by the editors Diderot and d'Alembert (1717-83), followed by Baron Holbach (who contributed about 400 articles). Moreover, the Encyclopedie is famous for its fine and accurate engravings. It contains, according to the title-pages, 3129 plates because double, triple or quadruple folding plates are counted as 2, 3, or 4, adding up to the amount of 2796 plates (as in our copy). “The purpose of an encyclopaedia is to assemble the knowledge scattered over the surface of the earth; to explain its general plan to the men with whom we live and to transmit it to the men who come after us; in order that the labours of centuries past may not be in vain during centuries to come; that our descendants, by becoming better instructed, may as a consequence be more virtuous and happier and that we may not die without having deserved well of the human race.” (Diderot, quoted from the article on encyclopaedias in the present work). Translate all texts into your preferred language on our homepage via Google: www.hampel-auctions.com 213

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