A variety of academic institutes and museums in the city of Valencia will honour the 300th birthday of French philosopher and writer Denis Diderot, one of the co-founders of the French Encyclopédie. Until 23 November, the cultural centre La Nau of the University of Valencia, the Musem of Illustration and Modernity (MuVim) and the Institut français in Valencia (with the collaboration of the Valencia’s School of Art and Design, EASD) will welcome a string of exhibitions, conferences and debates about one of the most prominent figures of the Enlightenment entitled ‘Jornadas Diderot, de la Enciclopedia a la Wikipedia’, meaning ‘Diderot days; from the Encyclopedia to Wikipedia’.
One of the key components of the programme is the exhibit Las Enciclopedias del siglo XVIII y el espíritu de la Ilustración, which focuses on the 18th-century encyclopaedias and the spirit of the Enlightenment, housed in the cultural centre La Nau. For the first time ever in Valencia, the exhibit will bring together and display the six different editions, recorded in the 18th-century Encyclopédie starting from the first, published in Paris between 1751 and 1772 by Diderot and D’Alembert, until the most recent, the so-called Méthodique, which was translated into Spanish but eventually seized by the Inquisition. Secularism, universalism and the independence of reason are some of the most notable concepts brought together in this iconic work, which also includes the philosophies of prestigious historical figures such as Voltaire, Rousseau, Buffon and many more.
In fact, Valencia indirectly participated in the French Encyclopédie; the Valencian botanist Cavanilles contributed with both his involvement in the Méthodique edition and the subsequent circulation of the work around Spain via his own collection, thirty copies of which can be admired in the exhibit housed in the historical building on the Calle de la Nave in Valencia.