About this Project

First published over the course of more than twenty years (1751-1777), the 32 volumes of the Encyclopédie include 21 volumes of text with more than 70,000 articles on subjects ranging from asparagus to zodiac. The remaining 11 volumes contain beautifully engraved plates illustrating many of the articles. The Encyclopédie was the major achievement of the French Enlightenment whose aim, in Diderot's words, was to "change the common way of thinking" through the expansion of knowledge and the development of critical modes of thought.

The Encyclopédie was a collaborative project, the work of a "society of men of letters," as its title page declared. By the time the last volume was published, more than 140 people had contributed articles to its pages. In the same spirit, this website is a collaborative effort of volunteer translators who share an interest in the Enlightenment and a belief in the value of making freely available to English readers articles from the Encyclopédie. The articles you will find here reflect the interests and expertise of the translators. Although we cannot hope to translate all 70,000 articles, we will continue to post new translations as they come in. This is an ongoing project to which we hope many more people will contribute.

For students and teachers, the Encyclopédie is a crucial resource as well as an important gateway into the project of Enlightenment. The Collaborative Translation Website allows you to browse articles that have been translated and to search the database of translations in a variety of ways. You will also find links to the original French versions of translated articles. Other enhancements are planned.

Project Directors

  • Dena Goodman, University of Michigan
  • Jennifer Popiel, Saint Louis University
  • Sean Takats, George Mason University
  • Kevin Hawkins, University of North Texas

Student Assistants

  • Benjamin Heller (2004)
  • Dominique Daniel (2009)
  • Thomas Zemanek (2010)
  • Joshua Handell (2010)

Michigan Publishing Staff

  • Kelly Witchen (2011–)
  • Kevin Hawkins (2004–2014)
  • Susan Lorand (2006–2009)

and countless other staff members of Michigan Publishing who have processed translations for publication.

<< Return Home