Book, Encyclopédie, ou, Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, 1751–65
With the Encyclopédie, French philosopher Denis Diderot’s ambition was to gather all human knowledge into a single work. While not quite that vast in scope, Diderot brought together over 100 contributors, including physicians, scientists, artisans, and scholars like Montesquieu, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Voltaire. He ultimately published 17 volumes of text between 1751 and 1765. The Encyclopédie is a product of its time, the Age of Enlightenment, as it exposed people to new ideas on such subjects as the rights of individuals, as well as craft production and the "mechanical arts." In documenting these craft processes, Diderot aimed to reach a wide audience, urging innovation in production methods, and, controversially, revealing trade secrets of manufacturing and handicraft practices by systematically describing and illustrating every detail. The Encyclopédie was unquestionably a landmark publication, its popularity attesting to the fervor of an emerging enlightened society seeking reform, later manifested in the French Revolution.
It is credited
Courtesy of Smithsonian Libraries, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Library.
Our curators have highlighted 2 objects that are related to this one.
Its dimensions are
H x W x D (closed): 40.1 × 26.5 × 5.9 cm (15 13/16 × 10 7/16 × 2 5/16 in.) H x W x D (open on wedges): 40.1 × 53.5 × 13.2 cm (15 13/16 × 21 1/16 × 5 3/16 in.)
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.