• Heavily believed in literature – when Denis’s wife, Anne Toinette Champion, grew sick of books Denis found new love to write
  • Good money, Denis worked as a translator provide average income and support his wife and family
  • His fascination in biological sciences drew him closer and closer to the job as the editor of the Encyclopédie ou Dicitionnaire Raisonné des Arts et des Métiers
  • Denis Diderot was a very successful translator, which helped him obtain a job as the editor of the Encyclopédie ou Dicitionnaire Raisonné des Arts et des Métiers (1745-1772)
  • Originally Denis was to do translation work on Ephraim Chambers’s much smaller Cyclopaedia – Denis created a much more in-depth French version by adding “seemingly minor articles”
  • Denis became the editor of the Encyclopédie with colleague/mathematician Jean Le Rond d’Alembert who primarily focused on mathematics
  • Jean Le Rond d’Alembert later left the project as he thought that mathematic principles were more important than that of biology
  • After his colleague left, Denis Diderot became the chief editor of the Encyclopédie and released 17 volumes over the course of 21 years (1752-1772)

Other Works

  • Though Denis Diderot’s primary work remains to be the Encyclopédie ou Dicitionnaire Raisonné des Arts et des Métiers, he is also an author/play writer
  • Denis wrote four plays, wrote essays as well as poetry. Some of the works include the plays Le Fils naturel (1757) and Le Père de famille (1758).
  • The Encyclopédie edited by Denis Diderot impacted the Enlightenment period as several other scientists of the Enlightenment contributed work to the Encyclopédie
  • Denis Diderot also contributed articles to the Encyclopédie such as: religion, politics, economics and philosophy
  • These other researchers include Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Montesquieu
  • The Encyclopédie played a huge roll in the knowledge in which inspired the road to the French Revolution
  • The Encyclopédie, being a classification of human knowledge led to inspire such works as the Advancement of Knowledge written by Francis Bacon
  • Early in his studies, his father demanded he study medicine or law but rather spent his time with books and women
  • His early works (through the 1740s) were ‘rough’ as he had little knowledge of the English language and used an English-Latin dictionary to translate works
  • As Denis continued his love for literature his wife Anne Toinette Champion refused to support this fascination, leading Denis to new love
  • d’Alembert, Denis’s editorial colleague, left the project towards the end of the series, leaving the last volumes of the Encyclopédie to be solely edited by Denis

Do we live in an Enlightened age?

  • As Denis Diderot created the first way of “communicating science,” the era we live in today would be considered an enlightened age with regards to documenting occurrences
  • The biggest example of the encyclopaedia today is Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia broadcasted in over 260 languages and (as of Jan 7th, 2009) had 2.68 million articles, compared to the 75,000 articles in the Encyclopédie ou Dicitionnaire Raisonné des Arts et des Métiers. Another interesting fact is that approximately 4000 copies were made of the Encyclopédie whereas Wikipedia has over 684 million viewers annually.

“Denis Diderot.” Books and Writers. 2008. Web. 09 Mar. 2011. <http://kirjasto.sci.fi/diderot.htm>.

“L’Encyclopédie – Discussion and Encyclopedia Article. Who Is L’Encyclopédie? What Is L’Encyclopédie? Where Is L’Encyclopédie? Definition of L’Encyclopédie. Meaning of L’Encyclopédie.” Knowledgerush. 2009. Web. 09 Mar. 2011. <http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/encyclopedia/L’Encyclopédie/>.

“Denis Diderot.” NNDB: Tracking the Entire World. Web. 09 Mar. 2011. <http://www.nndb.com/people/914/000082668/>.

“10 Unique and Interesting Facts About Wikipedia | Webupon.” Webupon | Web, Internet, and Anything in between. Web. 9 Mar. 2011. <http://webupon.com/web-talk/10-unique-and-interesting-facts-about-wikipedia/>.

author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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