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French Royal Censorship And The Battle To Suppress The Encyclopédie Of Diderot And D'Alembert, 1751-1759

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Chapter Summary

The reality of the battle over the Encyclopédie was vastly different and more complex, the arduous censorship issues which it raised affecting not only France but also several other countries, especially Italy. Under Pope Benedict XIV, for instance, the papacy followed a distinctly pro-Enlightenment policy, at least as far as moderate Enlightenment ideas were concerned, the Pope himself having written to Voltaire some years before, in 1742, expressing sympathy for his publicly stated Newtonian and Lockean standpoint and aims. There were, of course, staunch opponents of the pope's liberalism in the Vatican. During the closing years of Pope Benedict's life there arose a real likelihood that the Encyclopédie of Diderot and d'Alembert would be banned in Italy and Spain as well as France, though owing to disagreement in the Vatican, the issue was left unresolved at the pope's death and there was no immediate resolution after his death either.

Keywords: d'Alembert; Diderot; Encyclopédie; Enlightenment; French royal censorship



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