The Second Paper


  1. Analyze one of the Encyclopédie articles from the following list. What might have been controversial about this article for eighteenth-century readers? (English translations of these articles are at
    • History
    • Intolerance
    • Jesuit
    • Prejudice
    • Tailor (Mechanical Arts); Tailor of Suits; Tailor of Suits and Tailor of Bodices, Plates [Read all three articles, and be sure to click on the link in "Tailor of Suits and Tailor of Bodices, Plates" to see the engravings associated with these articles.]
    • Virginity

  2. The year is 1742. Imagine you are one of the following: Louis XV, the archbishop of Paris, the Turkish Ambassador to the Court of Louis XV, a wealthy aristocratic man or woman, a devout Catholic commoner (male or female), or an actor or actress at the Comédie-Française. You have just returned from seeing (or performing in) a first-run performance at the Comédie- Française of Voltaire's Mahomet. In a letter to a friend, or in a journal entry, briefly describe the scene at the playhouse, then record your reaction to the play.

  3. Consider either the case of the "great cat massacre" in the late 1730s, or the case of the "coachman's bare rump" in 1763. (But do not write about both. You may refer briefly to the case you do not analyze in detail, but focus on only one example.) Does this case suggest that the Old Regime social hierarchy is dangerously close to crumbling? Or does it indicate the resiliency of the system?