Segments in this Video

Creating a Tome of Knowledge (02:15)


Imagine if Denis Diderot fled to Russia. Key moments in the Age of Enlightenment include France authorizing the creation of a dictionary, Empress Katherine II's offer to work without censorship, and the encyclopedia's completion.

France's Intellectual Boom (03:04)

Aristotle, Pliny the Elder, and Galen are perceived as the foundation of knowledge. Science reconciles Greco-Roman knowledge with Christianity. Scientists leading up to the encyclopedia include Nicolas Copernicus, Giordano Bruno, Rene Descartes, Isaac Newton, and Galileo Galilei.

Memory of Humanity (03:12)

The royal censors redact Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brede et de Montesquieu, François-Marie Arouet, Diderot, Jean-Jacques Rosseau, Claude Adrien Helvetius, and others. Gottfried Sellius meets with a publisher to translate the "Cyclopedia." Andre le Breton receives an exclusive authorization from the government to print and sell an encyclopedia.

Assuming Responsibility for Publication (02:41)

Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert want to encourage thinking, fight superstitions, and assure reason prevails. Diderot spends three months imprisoned in Vincennes after writing an anonymous publication. Publishers sold subscriptions of work not yet completed to finance ventures.

Seven Volumes Are Released (03:14)

D'Alembert writes a preface expounding on the author's ambitions. The French King condemns the two volumes and outlaws anyone to buy, sell, or read copies. After an attack against Louis XV, contributors are accused of undermining royal authority.

Encyclopedia Is Completed (05:10)

Volumes are printed in secret in Le Breton's workshop; Empress Katherine II proposes Diderot complete the encyclopedia in Riga away from the royal censors. Russia would have followed a similar path as France leading up to the Tsar's execution if Diderot had accepted the offer.

Avoiding Censorship (05:34)

The encyclopedists decide upon an alphabetical listing to keep all subject matter equal; a system of cross-referencing is added after each article. When articles are linked together it can convey a subversive message. The Encyclopedia's development will be prolific and profitable, leading to the creation of Wikipedia on the Internet.

Credits: Diderot, the Encyclopedia and the Age of Enlightenment (00:47)

Credits: Diderot, the Encyclopedia and the Age of Enlightenment

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Diderot, the Encyclopedia and the Age of Enlightenment

Part of the Series : Butterfly Effect (Season 3)
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $129.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $194.93
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On July 31, 1784, Denis Diderot passed away in Paris and with him, the memory of the biggest editorial epic of the Age of Enlightenment: the Encyclopedia, or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts and Crafts. This monumental work of art is the result of the fight of a man against obscurantism and of his unfailing trust in reason. Carried by men such as Voltaire or Rousseau, the adventure will last 25 years. It will encounter numerous unforeseen developments and end in clandestinity but will not fail to revolutionize the publishing world.

Length: 26 minutes

Item#: BVL183503

ISBN: 978-1-64623-361-8

Copyright date: ©2019

Closed Captioned

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