Publication history of L'Encyclopédie  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel


  • 1750 (November). 8.000 copies of the definitive Prospectus are issued; 10 in-folio volumes including 2 volumes of plates are anticipated. Subscription costs: 60 livres deposit, 36 livres to be paid on delivery of the first volume, announced for June 1751; 24 livres for each additional volume to be delivered every six months, 40 livres for the eighth volume with the two volumes of plates; total 372 livres.
  • 1751 (January). In the Journal de Trévoux, the Jesuit Berthier criticizes the imitation of Francis Bacon's tree of knowledge in the Prospectus.
  • 1751 (28 June). Publication of the first volume; 2.050 copies printed with the Discours préliminaire written by d'Alembert.
  • (October). Violent attacks in the Journal de Trévoux ; the Jesuits accuse the authors of the Encyclopédie of criticizing their teaching methods, denigrating kings and saints, preaching freedom of speech and plagiarizing the Dictionnaire de Trévoux. The archibishop of Mirepoix, Boyer, warns the King against the dangerous tendencies of the Encyclopédie; Malesherbes, the new director of the book trade, is required to name three censors who will look over the articles.
  • (6 February). De l'Esprit is condemned to be burned. The Encyclopédie escapes this sentence, but it will be subject to a "revision committee" comprising theologians, lawyers and scholars, all Jansenists.
  • (8 March). The royal council withdraws the Royal privilege of 1746; the distribution and reprinting of the Encyclopédie are forbidden.


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