The Enlightenment was an intellectual ‘flow’ of ideologies and thoughts that spread across Europe in the C18th.
Those involved, the thinkers, were known as ‘philosophes’ and they applied scientific knowledge that was being advanced and extended at an incredible rate. The aim was to change the way people were thinking about the society in which they lived and the way they were being governed.
The thinkers railed against many things, privilege of the aristocracy, tyranny, the church, inequality and ignorance.
The spread of the printed word was used by the ‘philosophes’, to spread the word and possibly their most influential work was the 28 volume Encyclopedie, written and edited over a twenty year period, from 1751 – 1772.
- The contributors included Jacques Turgot, Voltaire and Rousseau
- It was edited over a period of twenty years by Denis Diderot and Jean d Alembert
- It’s aim was to collect together and disseminate existing knowledge and through this, educate people to view life in a different way
- It was twice banned for it’s anti – Catholic tone
This book had a massive impact and with it’s 72,000 articles covering all possible knowledge, it gave expression to some of the most important thinkers of the time
To explore the book and understand the impact it made in society go to the ARTFL Encyclopedie Project