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Encyclopedie,ou dictionnaire raisonne des sciences, des arts et des metiers [.].
Briasson D. Le Breton Durand Paris G. Cramer for C. J. Panckoucke Faulche Geneva Neuchatel and MM Rey Amsterdam -80 1751 - Thirty-five volumes folio. Half-titles (except in text vols 8-17), woodcut device on title-pages, some woodcut initials, head- and tailpieces, 7 folding letterpress tables, a few woodcut illustrations, engraved frontispiece in volume 1, 2796 engraved plates including some double-page or folding; occasional spotting and browning, sometimes heavier. Contemporary uniform mottled calf, spines gilt in compartments, red edges, marbled end-papers; some volumes with slight variant tooling, 4 volumes rebacked to style, neat restoration to extremities of spines. 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 which were circulating in the cultured class in France, but which 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 encyclopedia 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 encyclopedias in the present work). The Encyclopedie takes for granted the justice of religious tolerance and speculative freedom and asserts the democratic doctrine that the main concern of the nation's government should be the lot of the common people. It is also an exaltation of scientific knowledge on one hand and peaceful industry on the other. In 1759 the Encyclopedie was formally suppressed but work went on although D'Alembert withdrew, leaving Diderot to work alone. The Encyclopedie was Since it had a very large number of contributors, there was no narrowly sectarian viewpoint although there was a convergence of aim. As an anthology of enlightened opinions on politics, philosophy, and religion, the Encyclopedie is one of the most important works of modern thought. It is also remains a landmark in the history of massive publishing projects, which could well not having been finished. The full set comprises 35 volumes published over almost 30 years. The first seven volumes, with articles by Voltaire, Rousseau, Montesquieu and many other figureheads of the Enlightenment, were published at Paris under a royal privilege, which was however withdrawn in 1759, after which the project was closed down. With the help of the Pompadour among others, the remaining volumes were printed secretly with a fictitious imprint [Attributes: First Edition; Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Shapero Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2018-02-08           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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