The Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, par une Société de Gens de lettres was published under the direction of Diderot and d’Alembert, with 17 volumes of text and 11 volumes of plates between 1751 and 1772. Containing 74,000 articles written by more than 130 contributors, the Encyclopédie was a massive reference work for the arts and sciences, as well as a machine de guerre which served to propagate the ideas of the French Enlightenment. The impact of the Encyclopédie was enormous. Through its attempt to classify learning and to open all domains of human activity to its readers, the Encyclopédie gave expression to many of the most important intellectual and social developments of its time.
The ARTFL Encyclopédie database contains 21.7 million words, 254,000 unique forms, 18,000 pages of text, 17 volumes of articles, and 11 volumes of plate legends.