Diderot and D’Alembert’s Encyclopedia: Congo

The Congo:
The entry on this Geographical location reveals the describer to be of a particular world view. Through the article’s use of diction it can be implied that he is looking through the eyes of a colonizer rather than the colonized. For example, in reference to the slave trade the article states: ‘The best slaves are from San Salvador and Sondy”(3-4). What is revealing about this quote is the author’s use of the word “best” which indicates a subjective opinion or bias from the reader’s point of view. The quote is interesting because it is the only subjective statement within the entry. The rest of the entry is completely passive and merely provides a description. It single handedly destroys the entire article’s credibility. Until this sentence the reader receives a factual picture of the Congo but when this sentence drops, it seems that the author could be painting a biased picture and he may no longer be trusted.


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