Hamilton College Library

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Reception to Honor Diderot

By Christian Goodwillie

August 28, 2013

The European Enlightenment of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries encouraged the investigation of the world through the paradigms of science and reason. Intellectuals collected, codified, and published existing knowledge and new discoveries in massive compendiums. As the Enlightenment flowered in France the philosophes—led by Voltaire and Rousseau—challenged the existing order of both Church and State, laying the groundwork for the Revolution of 1789.

At the root of this process was the work of Denis Diderot and and his co-editor Jean D’Alembert, who in 1747 began the compilation of a new work intended to collect all human knowledge: the Encyclopédie. The resulting work was published in twenty-eight volumes beginning in 1751 and ending in 1772. It stands as a monument of Enlightenment thought. Select volumes of Hamilton College’s copy of the Encyclopédie are currently on display in the Burke Library to honor the 300th anniversary of Diderot’s birth at Langres, France, on October 5, 1713.

Please join us in the Burke Library Commons at 4:15 on Thursday, September 26 for a reception featuring shared insights on Diderot and his Encyclopédie by Professors Philip Stewart and John O'Neal. As an added enticement we will be serving French-stylesucré and salé (sweet and salty) treats. 

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