Saturday, Oct. 5 marked the 300th anniversary of the birth of Enlightenment philosopher Denis Diderot. Diderot is best known as the editor of Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers (published 1751-72), one of the earliest and most comprehensive encyclopedias. Diderot wanted to capture all of the world’s knowledge, and the Encyclopédie is organized according to Enlightenment theories of human reason. It is especially unique for its articles on the technologies of the period, as well as articles on Enlightenment ideals of natural rights and other political issues.
Special Collections owns a complete set of the Encyclopédie as well as several early editions of Diderot’s philosophical and literary works such as the Penseés and Jacques le fataliste. They can be found in the library’s catalog by performing an author search for “Diderot, Denis” and limiting the search to HBLL Special Collections.