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Diderot's and d'Alembert's encylopédie: Publishing history

Subjects: French

Publishing history

It was originally intended to publish the Encyclopédie in 10 volumes. The volumes were to be published on a six-monthly schedule.

However, by the time the third volume came out in 1753 the number of subscribers had risen to 1000 and so the two previous volumes were reprinted.

When volume 4 came out the number of subscribers had risen to 4000 so vols 1,2 and 3 were reprinted.

In 1757 publication was banned and the Encyclopédie had to be published supposedly in Neuchâtel (then spelt Neufchastel) in Switzerland (although in fact volumes 8-17 continued to be produced secretly in Paris). These 'secret' volumes of the Encyclopédie were published together in 1765.  Eleven volumes of illustrations were published from 1762 to 1772.

In 1770 Charles Joseph Panckoucke (1736-1798) produced a reprint of the first three volumes which he dated as being published in 1751 but these volumes were impounded.  They would later become a composite edition combined with volumes from the earlier edition.  The composite edition was also known as the 'Riverside' edition named after one of the campuses of the University of California where it was first identifed.  It is one of the Taylorian editions.

In all there were nine editions of the Encyclopédie of which six can be found within the collegiate university.  The university with its colleges holds 15 copies of the Encyclopédie.

In 1775 Charles Joseph Panckoucke obtained the rights to re-issue the work.