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Le « Dictionnaire universel françois et latin » dit « de Trévoux » (1704-1771) : un projet d'éducation pour le siècle des lumières ?

Abstract : The present study questions the way the DICTIONNAIRE UNIVERSEL FRANÇOIS ET LATIN DIT DE TRÉVOUX (1704-1771) tries to reconcile in its articles, its objectivity and subjectivity as being a dictionnary of the 18th century and having as its honorary author Louis-Auguste de Bourbon, Duke of Maine, Sovereign Prince of the Principality of Dombes, legitimized child of Louis XIV.This dictionnary is still largely unknown by the public and is wrongfully considered as a "Jesuits' dictionnary". However, the DICTIONNAIRE DE TRÉVOUX is a wonderful prism of the 18th century, a time where the values of the "Ancien Régime" collide with the ideas of the Lumières' Philosophers. Written with the Jesuits' support and also with the support of the Oratorians, Dominicans, Sulpicians and lay people, the DICTIONNAIRE DE TRÉVOUX builds itself on the legacy of the DICTIONNAIRE UNIVERSEL written by the Catholic author Antoine Furetière (1690) and its revision by the protestant historian Henri Basnage de Beauval (1701).The DICTIONNAIRE DE TRÉVOUX was reprinted over a period of sixty-seven years to remain contemporary and a reference in the field of knowledge. In its articles, it tries to erase every aspect of reformed theology, to be an ongoing support for the Divine Right of Kings and to strongly reaffirm the truth and authenticity of the Roman Catholic Church, a church where the King of France and Christian life were intertwined. Due to this element, this dictionary takes responsibility to be biased and is for us, moreover, a way to understand how dictionaries in the 18th century worked.These elements allow us to direct our study in two parts ; political and theological. Due to the temporal and physical aspects (a dictionary composed of approximatively forty volumes) of the dictionary, this study illustrates several articles from the DICTIONNAIRE DE TRÉVOUX analyzed from 1704 to 1771 and only in the 1743-1752 period, if the question of the study has a comparative prospective.Following the work of analysis, all of the chosen articles are compared and put in perspective with the DICTIONNAIRE UNIVERSEL by the Antoine Furetière (1690), its revision by Henri Basnage de Beauval (1701) and the ENCYCLOPÉDIE (1751-1772) by Diderot and d'Alembert.Our research permits us to reinvestigate the debateable origins of the dictionary and to look closer firstly at the staging of political power, which we discover to be a "theater" where the King appears to be at the top of a pyramid symbolizing the society during the "Ancien Régime". He is the prime mover in a sclerotic society. By using the traits of ancient heroes, using the words of famous authors including Madame de Sévigné and Madame de Scudéry, describing the life at the Court of France and reaffirming the thaumaturgical abilities of the King of France. Our dictionnary describes a society where the peasant does not exist, where Louis XIV appears to be a god above all his predecessors and sucessors and where the bourgeois and courtier are not to be trusted. Our dictionary is the witness of the "final separation between French society and the monarchy" (Jacques Bouveresse).Finally our study focuses on the theological dimensions of our dictionnary, where we can demonstrate that its authors support a strong Roman Catholic Church despite the fact that it is facing internal divisons and ferocious opposition against the Reformers and their philosophies. Nevertheless, the study concerning divine grace proves that its authors rigidify their positions, putting in jeopardy the clarity and efficacy of their explications and make the DICTIONNAIRE DE TRÉVOUX an eternal prisoner of the age which is no longer.
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Submitted on : Monday, April 4, 2022 - 3:59:36 PM
Last modification on : Friday, April 29, 2022 - 4:09:50 PM

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Guillaume Olivier. Le « Dictionnaire universel françois et latin » dit « de Trévoux » (1704-1771) : un projet d'éducation pour le siècle des lumières ?. Littératures. Université de Lorraine, 2021. Français. ⟨NNT : 2021LORR0221⟩. ⟨tel-03629853⟩

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