D'Holbach's Coterie  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

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 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 high-brow, extending to topics more extensive and often more radical and subversive than those of other salons. This, along with the excellent food, expensive wine, and a library of over 3000 volumes, attracted many notable visitors. Among the regulars in attendance at the salon were the following: Diderot, Grimm, Condillac, Condorcet, D'Alembert Marmontel, Turgot, La Condamine, Raynal Helvétius, Galiani, Morellet, Naigeon and, for a time, Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The salon was also well-frequented by British intellectuals, amongst them Adam Smith, David Hume, John Wilkes, Horace Walpole and Edward Gibbon.

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