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The French Enlightenment

Research Sources & Tips



Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment
Alan Charles Kors, editor in chief; Oxford University Press, 2003

Dictionnaire Européen des Lumières. English. (Ref. B802 .D491613 2001).
edited by Michel Delon; adviser to the English-language edition, Philip Stewart; translation editor, Gwen Wells.

The Blackwell Companion to the Enlightenment (Stacks: CB411 .B57 1992)
John W. Yolton ... [et al.]; introduction by Lester G. Crocker. Oxford, UK; Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell, 1992, 1991.


Writers of the French Enlightenment
(online through Dictionary of Literary Biography)

Dictionary of Modern French Literature: from the Age of Reason through Realism. (Ref. PQ41 .D65 1986)

Entries cover major authors from 1715 through 1880. Appendix A is a chronology of historical and literary events. Appendix B contains a listing of entries grouped by subject matter or chronological period.


Dictionnaire des Institutions de la France aux XVIIe et XVIIIe Siècles (Stacks: DC35 .M3 1968)

Dictionnaire du Grand Siècle / sous la direction de François Bluche.(Stacks: DC33.4 .D48 2005)

Articles on economic, literary, cultural and political terms, personages. Covers the period 1589-1715. Accompanied by groupings of entries under rubrics such as Administration, Beaux-arts, Belles-lettres, Cour de France, Société, Vie quotidienne et santé and others.

Dictionnaire des Lettres Françaises (Tisch Book Stacks: PQ41 .D56 1994)

Notes : [v. 1.] Le Moyen age -- [v. 2.] Le XVIIe siècle -- [v. 3.] Le XVIIIe si`ecle.


Eighteenth Century Collections Online  (1701-1800)

Digital images of every page of 150,000 books published during the 18th Century. With full-text searching of approximately 26 million pages, the product allows researchers new methods of access to critical information in the fields of history, literature, religion, law, fine arts, science and more.


A. Searchable Encyclopedias by headword or text via ARTFL, American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language

Ephraim Chamber's Cyclopaedia: English precursor to the Encyclopédie.

Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers

The print version: Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers. Nouvelle impression en facsimilé de la première édition de 1751-1780. (Ref. AE25 .E53 1751a)
v. 1-17. Texte. A-Z -- v.18-21. Texte. Suppl -- v. 22-23. Planches -- v. 33. Planches. Suppl. -- v. 34-35. Table, par P. Mouchon.

B. Searchable Dictionaries (by headword and full-text entry via ARTFL)

Dictionnaires d'Autrefois
French Dictionaries from the 17th - 20th centuries, including several Dictionnaires de l'Académie française along with the Estienne, Nicot, Bayle, Moréri, Féraud, and Littré.

Search across Jean Nicot's Tresor de la Langue Française (1606), Jean-François Féraud's Dictionaire Critique de la Langue Française (Marseille, Mossy 1787-1788), Émile Littré's Dictionnaire de la langue française (1872-1877) and the Dictionnaire de L'Académie Française 1st (1694), 4th (1762), 5th (1798), 6th (1835), and 8th (1932-5) editions.

Jean-François Féraud's Dictionaire Critique de la Langue Française (1787-1788) is far from a mere general dictionary. Féraud's major concern in this wide and comprehensive release of his Dictionnaire grammatical is to provide foreigners or people from the remote regions of France with a comprehensive and easy guide to authorized, proper usage of French. Not only does he mention and criticize the major sources of good usage, such as the Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française, Trévoux's or Richelet's dictionaries, he also adds a wide range of his own grammatical remarks, proving in doing so to be one of the most penetrating observers of post-classical French language. As such, it will help many students and scholars towards a better understanding of Rousseau, Diderot, and Beaumarchais' fascinating works.

Pierre Bayle's Dictionaire Historique et Critique

Pierre Bayle's Dictionnaire historique et critique stands as the supreme achievement of one of the seventeenth century's most prominent men of letters. Originally conceived as a response to the errors in Louis Moréri's Grand dictionnaire historique, his Dictionnaire grew to be an exemplary work of critical methodology. Called the "Arsenal of the Enlightenment", it was pillaged and re-edited throughout the 18th century by believers and sceptics alike. The ARTFL Project offers here a facsimile version of the 1740 edition.

Louis Moréri, Le Grand Dictionnaire Historique

From 1671 to 1759, this important predecessor to modern encyclopedias went through twenty editions, before it finally succumbed to the Encyclopedie ou Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Metiers. Moreri designed his encyclopedic work partly as a defense of the worldview of the Roman Catholic Church, and that editorial approach prompted competition from a rival encyclopedia, Pierre Bayle's Dictionnaire Historique et Critique. Moreri's work is noteworthy for its emphasis on historical and biographical entries, neglected by Bayle as well as by other competitors such as Ephraim Chamber's Cyclopedia.

C. Classical French Writings

Over 2600 texts ranging from classic works of French literature to various kinds of non-fiction prose and technical writing from the 12th to the 20th century. Users can create a dictionary and frequency count of words used in a text, trace origins of words or phrases. (via ARTFL)

Plus the following collections:

B.A.S.I.L.E.: Le Corpus de la Littérature narrative du Moyen Age au XXe Siècle: Romans, Contes, Nouvelles.

Voltaire électronique


Begun in 1997 as the major digitization project at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Gallica includes full-text of over 100,000 volumes and 300,000 images covering the Middle Ages to the beginning of the twentieth century, with an emphasis on nineteenth-century material. Residing in Gallica are dictionaries and encyclopedias, journals, manuscripts, recordings and images. Various collections compose "Les Dossiers de Gallica," such as Gallica Classique (Garnier editions), La Bibliothèque de Voltaire à la Bibliothèque nationale de Russie, Le dossier “Sociétés Savantes.”


In print

Dictionnaire des Littératures de Langue Française. Jean-Pierre de Beaumarchais, Daniel Couty, Alain Rey. Nouv. ed. mise à jour et enrichie. (Ref. PQ41 .B4 1994)

Dictionnaire des &Oelig;uvres Littéraires de Langue Française. Jean-Pierre de Beaumarchais, Daniel Couty. (Ref. PQ41 .B42 1994)

Rousseau Dictionary. N. J. H. Dent. Oxford, UK; Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell Reference, 1992. ( Ref. PQ2042 .D46 1992)

Short articles and bibliography.

Dictionnaire de Jean-Jacques Rousseau. publié sous la direction de Raymond Trousson et Frédéric S. Eigeldinger. (stacks: PQ2042 .D53 1996)

Entries cover important figures, themes, concepts and notes on manuscripts.


Notable Journals on the Subject in Tisch Library

Diderot studies. (Bookstacks: PQ1979 .D495 (1949-2007)

Articles and substantial book review section in each issue. Some articles present bibliographies.

Eighteenth Century Studies vols. 1-28 (1967-1995)
Eighteenth Century Studies vols. 29- (1995/1996) -

As the official publication of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS), " The journal selects essays that employ different modes of analysis and disciplinary discourses to explore how recent historiographical, critical, and theoretical ideas have engaged scholars concerned with the eighteenth century."

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last updated: 8/10/2011