41. D’Alembert refers here to the magnificent Fontenelle (1657–1757), one of the creators of the Enlightenment and a favorite model for its writers, whose hundred-year life spanned the age of Louis XIV and a good part of the Enlightenment. He was a master at stating scientific and philosophical ideas in a comprehensible way, from whom the encyclopedists drew heavily for their articles, and, as secretary of the Académie des Sciences, he composed a celebrated collection of eulogies for its distinguished scientists. D’Alembert later performed a similar secretarial function at the Académie Française.

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