Les Confessions du Comte de *** 1742
Considérations sur les moeurs de ce siècle 1750
Novelist, historian and essayist, in 1775 Duclos became secretary of the Academie Française. Although sympathetic towards the Encyclopédists he thought Diderot a violent fanatic and used his influence to keep him out of the Academy.
Considérations sur les moeurs de ce siècle is “a brillant essay by . . . a philosophe and a first-rate observer of his society and times”. (Gay, The Enlightenment: an Interpretation, vol 1, p.435)
Duclos thought that the “science of manners” - the critical observation of social conduct - proved that the eighteenth century was undergoing a revolution in behaviour. “The taste for literature, science, and the arts has insensibly increased, and has reached a point where those who do not have it, affect it”. (135)
“Those who live a hundred miles from the capital, are a century away from it in their modes of thinking and acting.”(13)