Thursday, September 12, 2013


My name is Christina Claxton, and I am a sophomore at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut who is planning to major in Philosophy and Public Policy. During the fall of 2013, I will be a fellow in the Watkinson Library, the college’s library archive. The fellowship is an opportunity for students to explore and learn from the wealth of knowledge contained in the Watkinson’s expansive collections. Artifacts range from Victrola record players from the 1920s to an original print of the Diderot Encyclopedia from the 1750s, the latter of which will be the subject of my research. I have always been interested in European history and the French language; L’Encyclopédie, as it is called in French, captures both of those subjects. Written and assembled during the Enlightenment, the goal of L’Encyclopédie was to contain all of the information in the world in a single place. Over the course of the semester, I will work with its volumes as well as related sources to understand both its impact on the time of its publication and how it has influenced present day knowledge and thinking.
As you can see, the blog is titled “Philologie de L’Encyclopédie,” which translates to “Philology of the Encyclopedia.” Philology is the study of languages in historical sources; one of my main focuses of my research will be on the language used in this historic treasure. I’m really looking forward to comparing the French I know with the French used by Diderot and d’Alembert, the two authors of L'Encyclopédie. However, though I am fluent in French from seven years of class instruction and various immersion programs, I will write this blog mainly in English. L’Encyclopédie, of course, is in French, but academic writing in a language other than one’s mother tongue is quite challenging (and the French are particularly picky about nuances and word usages). So, for the sake of quality and accuracy, I will write in English. Some French will inevitably make its way into my writing, so I will translate for any non-French speakers.
More than just being my learning experience and hobby this fall, I hope that this blog can be a casual learning tool for others as well. My objective for this project is to explore this work and to give my own perspective on an incredible composition from a very important time in history. For further information about both L’Encyclopédie and its contributors, I recommend visiting the Britannica Encyclopedia. Questions and/or comments can be sent to

Merci de votre attention, et j’espère que vous trouverez le même valeur dans ce projet que je sais j'irai!