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Encyclopédie: the triumph of reason in an unreasonable age

Encyclopédie: the triumph of reason in an unreasonable age

Blom, Philipp, 1970-

This tells the story of one of the most revolutionary books in history and the young men who risked everything to write it. The 'Encyclopédie' was so subversive that it was banned by the Pope and was seen as one of the causes of the French Revolution. The writers included Diderot, d'Alembert, Rousseau and Voltaire

Book. English.
Published London: Fourth Estate, 2004

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Details

Statement of responsibility: Philipp Blom
ISBN: 0007149468, 9780007149469
Note: Bibliography: p. 327-336.
Note: Includes index.
Physical Description: xxv, 372 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., facsim., plan, ports. ; 25 cm.
Subject: Encyclopédie Criticism, interpretation, etc.; France Intellectual life 18th century.; Encyclopedias and dictionaries, French History and criticism.; Encyclopédie.

Author note

Philipp Blom is a journalist, translator, novelist and historian. He has previously translated Geert Mak's history of Amsterdam and is the author TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, a history of collectors and collecting. He writes regularly for the TLS, Daily Telegraph. He lives in Paris with his wife.

Description

The story of one of the most revolutionary books in history - the Encyclopedie and the young men who risked everything to write it.

In 1777 a group of young men produced a book that aimed to tear the world apart and rebuild it. It filled 27 volumes and contained 72,000 articles, 16,500 pages and 17 million words. The Encyclopedie was so dangerous and subversive that it was banned by the Pope and was seen as one of the causes of the French Revolution.

The writers included some of the greatest minds of the age: Denis Diderot, the editor, who had come to Paris to become a Jesuit but found the joys of the city too enticing; d'Alembert, one of the leading mathematicians of the 18th century; Rousseau, the father of Romanticism and Voltaire, the author of CANDIDE.

During the sixteen years it took to write, compile and produce all twenty seven volumes, the writers had to defy the authorities and faced exile, jail and censorship, as well as numerous internal falling outs and philosophical differences. Yet, in the end, they produced a book that would act as a bomb that exploded at the centre of civilisation and changed the world forever.