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The Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, par une société de gens de lettres edited by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert is one of the crowning achievements of the French Enlightenment. Mobilizing many of the great – and the not-so-great – philosophes of the eighteenth century, it was a massive reference work for the arts and sciences, which sought to organize and transmit the totality of human knowledge while at the same time serving as a vehicle for critical thinking. First published in Paris between 1751 and 1772 in 17 volumes of text and 11 volumes of plates, this monumental work contains some 74,000 articles written by more than 140 contributors.

The Encyclopédie was a massive reference work for the arts and sciences, as well as a machine de guerre that served to propagate Enlightenment ideas. 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. It was more than a reference work, since it was compiled with the intent on overcoming superstition and prejudice, promoting a significant critical approach to existing intellectual and political orthodoxies.

The scale and ambition of the Encyclopédie inspired its editors to adopt three distinct modes of organization which, taken together, Diderot described as encyclopedic: dictionary, hierarchical classification, and the renvois (cross-references). The interaction of these three modes has led modern commentators to describe the Encyclopédie as an "ancestor of hypertext" and to depict Diderot as "l'internaute d'hier."

The Encyclopédie application for the iPad contains, in the original French, a complete copy of the first edition of this famous work, enabling users to browse its contents from cover to cover, in a manner that would have previously been impossible. The iPad Encyclopédie also includes all of the more than 2,600 thumbnail size plate images, which are available without an internet connection. When you do have internet access, this version will allow you to consult the more than 20,000 page images as well as full size plate images, allowing for the unprecedented ability to search, browse and read this 18th-century compendium of human knowledge.

The Encyclopédie for the iPad is the result of a collaboration between scholars and developers at the University of Chicago. For further information, please download and install the application or consult our WWW site:


What’s New

Version 1.2

This app has been updated by Apple to display the Apple Watch app icon.

Now compatible with iOS 8.3 and up.

Ratings and Reviews

5.0 out of 5
2 Ratings

2 Ratings

fojlz ,

Very fun to play around with for lay person

I hardly read French, but even so I can about muddle through with this. It’s presented just as you’d want it, as an extremely long single text, like a book. You can sort according to author, theme, or volume, or search for something specific. Wonderful and very fun to tinker around with even for the lay person (me). Thank you U. Chicago!

Newtonian2 ,


The complete text of one of the greatest Enlightenment texts — Diderot and D'Alembert's Encyclopédia — available, gratis, in a gorgeous edition that, instead of consuming an entire bookshelf, fits neatly on an iPad. Even those who do not read French can marvel at the engravings, which set the standard for the eighteenth-century. Since Diderot (along with Pierre Bayle) was one of the handful of eighteenth-century thinkers who appreciated what hyperlinks make possible, the University of Chicago's iPad edition of this work is a wonderful homage to a marvelous thinker.

zenfox ,

This is a treasure!

This is a great template for bringing classics to the modern reader. If others have come before, I must find them. I certainly look forward to more to follow.

App Privacy

The developer, The University of Chicago, has not provided details about its privacy practices and handling of data to Apple. For more information, see the developer’s privacy policy.

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