Fortuné-Barthélémy de Félice
This philosopher and editor was born in Rome in 1723 and lived in Yverdon-les-Bains, at 45 Rue du Lac, from 1762 until his death in 1789. He was a professor of philosophy, physics and mathematics, and a friend of the renowned scientist Haller who lived in nearby Bern.
Félice founded a publishing house where he edited a 58-volume Encyclopedia, of which some 3000 copies were printed between 1760 and 1780. The encyclopedia was in some ways a rival of that of Diderot’s (in Paris), but its inspiration was Protestant and and European, which led Voltaire to speak slightingly of Félice as a "rascal" and an "imposter".
Félice’s encyclopedia enjoyed considerable success throughout Europe. No fewer than 2 700 copies were shipped from Yverdon-les-Bains to Scandinavia, England, Russia etc.
At present, the encyclopedia forms part of the collection of antiquarian books belonging to the municipal library of Yverdon-les-Bains. It is also available on CD-rom.