The Enlightenment Period

The Philosophes

What was the goal of the encyclopedists?

The goal of the encyclopedists was to gather together, in a collection of contemporary volumes, everything known at the time in all fields. Their main contributors were Denis Diderot (1713–1784), Jean le Rond d’Alembert (1717–1783), Baron Paul-Henri-Dietrich d’Holbach (1723–1789), and Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu (1689–1755), as well as Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) and Voltaire (1694–1778). Their work was humanistic and scientifically inclined. However, its anti-clerical themes resulted in royal censorship in 1750, although the project endured until 1777. There were 140 contributors and almost 150 additional writers and engravers to the project. The 32 volumes produced had more than 70,000 entries, with 11 volumes of plates and 21 of printed text.


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