D'Holbach's Coterie

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D'Holbach's Coterie (la coterie holbachique was the phrase coined by Jean-Jacques Rousseau) was a group of radical French Enlightenment thinkers who met regularly at the salon of the atheist philosophe Baron d'Holbach in the years approximately 1750–1780. An enormously wealthy man, the Baron used his wealth to maintain one of the more notable and lavish Parisian salons, which soon became an important meeting place for philosophes and their guests, and where Diderot recruited at least a few of the contributors to the Encyclopédie. Meetings were held regularly twice a week, on Sundays and Thursdays, in d'Holbach's home in rue Royale, butte Saint-Roche. Visitors to the salon were exclusively males, and the tone of discussion was both lively and quite philosophical, extending to topics more extensive and generally more candid and more earnest than those of other salons. Few subjects were taboo, and sharp disagreements were welcomed.[1] This, along with the excellent food, expensive wine, and a library of over 3000 volumes, attracted many notable visitors. The regulars in attendance at the salon were the following: Diderot, Grimm, Marmontel, Raynal, Helvétius, Galiani, Morellet, Naigeon, Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Suard, Chastellux, Charles-Georges Le Roy, Augustin Roux, and Saint-Lambert. The salon was also well-frequented by British intellectuals, among them Smith, Hume, Walpole and Gibbon.


  1. ^ For an in-depth discussion of d'Holbach's "coterie", see Alan Charles Kors, D'Holbach's Coterie: An Enlightenment in Paris (Princeton University Press, 1976)