Originally launched in 2017, this remarkable project continues to grow in depth and substance. This collaborative and critical edition of the Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire consists of a fully digitized and searchable version of the original text and images supplemented with extensive critical commentaries. A team of more than 120 research from all walks of life aim to enrich research on the Enlightenment in a manner that Diderot himself advocated.
A summary of the project offered on the website highlights nine key objectives:
1. A first original and complete copy
2. Editorial enhancement of the original work
3. Easy navigation through the volumes of plates
4. Exploring the Encyclopedia’s network of links
5. A detailed description of the contents of the book
6. Access by nomenclature, by contributor and by domain
7. An advanced search engine, adapted to the Encyclopedia
8. A lighting of the work on several scales
9. A collaborative, dynamic, long-term oriented edition
As a primary source for numerous detailed aspects of music, the Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire offers a wealth of information concerning instruments, genres, terminology, and style valuable for research on the history of music during the Enlightenment.
Music research is greatly facilitated by “dossiers” and “domains” that help guide the researcher through the vast content of all 28 volumes. As an example of a dossier, see Christophe d’Alessandro’s concordance of information related to the clavichord, which brings together associated articles and related modern research. To explore domains for topics such as musique, danse, or opéra, navigate to the “documentation” page and then click on the pink button “Domaines.” From the drop-down menu that appears select a topic of your choice. A pop-up screen will then help you navigate all of the articles and plates related to your topic. Links take you to the full text transcription and the digital facsimile of the article. The transcription of each article also offers links to other related texts. It is also possible to search by contributor, for example, click on the blue tab “Contributeurs” and select Jean Jacques Rousseau.
To help fully appreciate the wealth of information now accessible through this digital edition, a booklet offering information on how to maximize its research opportunities titled OSER l’Encyclopédie. Un combat des Lumières is available as a free PDF download online. Also worth noting is Édith Weber’s brief review of the booklet.