17 volumes of articles and 11 volumes of plates 18,000 pages of text, roughly
76,242 Items Identified, including:
44632 main articles, 28366 subarticles, and 2575 plate legends
134 recognized authors
20,736,912 Total Words
391,893 Unique Word Forms
Physical Description of the Encyclopédie
Each of the 17 volumes of text contains an average of 950 two-column folio pages. The entire series comprises approximately 72,000 articles, 16,500 pages, containing some 17,000,000 words. The typical article includes the head word, its part of speech and gender, the category of knowledge to which the article belongs (e.g. architecture, histoire, etc.), and the discursive, definitional text. There are multiple entries for many words that reflect the use of the term in different domains. For instance, the word "Ame" is first discussed as a theological term, and then as part of the expressions "Ame des bêtes", "Ame des plantes" and "Ame de Saturne", and as it is used in the domains of "Lutherie", "Architecture et Dessein", "Stuccateur", "Artillerie", "Boisselier", and "Ame ou essieu d'un rôle de tabac". There is no "typical" length for an article. Some are as short as one sentence; some, like "Anatomie", about 28 full pages, are almost small books in themselves.
There are also a number of preliminary texts, including the "Discours préliminaire" of the first volume, various "Avertissements" in subsequent volumes, and several "Eloges" dedicated to deceased collaborators in the enterprise. Together with such "showpiece" articles as "Dictionnaire" by d'Alembert and "Encyclopédie" by Diderot, these texts furnish insights into the actual writing and making of the Encyclopédie.
The Encyclopédie contains 2, 569 plates, grouped by theme, in 11 volumes. The original folio edition includes a mix of single-page, and double-, triple-, and quadruple-page images. Legends precede each group of plates. Individual plates frequently contain multiple figures, usually in combination with references numbers or characters that coordinate with the text of the legends.
Though the Encyclopédie was, from its inception, conceived as an illustrated reference work, the first volume of the Recueil de planches sur les sciences, les arts libéraux et les arts mécaniques avec leur explication appeared only in 1762, eleven years after the publication of the first volume of text. In addition, the original estimate of 600 plates soon proved to be insufficient. These factors made coordination of the text and the plates difficult. In some cases, the authors were able to consult the completed images while writing their articles and to give precise references to the pertinent plate and figure numbers. In other cases, the plates were drawn long after the completion of the articles, and sometimes there is very little correlation between the two.
Edition Used for the ARTFL Encyclopédie
We have used the first printing of the Paris edition as the text for the prototype, and we will continue to use this edition for the entirety of the project. In its original printing, about 4,000 copies were made.
Richard Schwab kindly agreed to expertise the microfiche version produced by IDC (Leiden, The Netherlands) and confirmed that it reproduces a good copy of the first edition, as defined in his Inventory of Diderot's Encyclopédie, volume I (Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, vol. 80 (1971), pp. 64-78).
For technical reasons, we are temporarily using page and plate images from the reprint produced by Pergamon Press, 1969, and not from the IDC microfiche copy using the for actual keyboarding of the ARTFL Encyclopédie. We have compared the text and page images and found no differences, but we cannot guarantee that the images correspond exactly to the edition used for the data capture, although, to the best of our knowledge, we believe that to be the case as suggested in our general comparison. We would be very interested in any reports of copy discrepencies between the text data and page images.