The Dark Side of Diderot published

Hanrahan & Pierse cover«This impressive collection of articles explores Diderot’s pivotal thought in close readings and broader perspectives, in canonical and lesser-known works, in contemporary and non-contemporary context. It does justice to his range of interests, from prose fiction, to theatre, philosophy, anthropology, theology and fine art. It is as welcoming to the reader studying Diderot for the first time as it is to the specialist and gives great insights into the combination of intellectual humility and bold, defiant thinking that is Diderot’s.»
(Edward Nye, Lincoln College Oxford)

This collection of essays investigates the darker aspects of Diderot, writer, art critic, philosopher and encyclopédiste. The chapters focus on the schism between positive images of the Enlightenment and an undercurrent of disorder, transgression and clandestine intellectual and social practices. Diderot’s role in this fissure is critically scrutinised through an analysis of the interface between Enlightenment and its dark side. In his reticence before authority and censorship, in the richness and complexity of his literary and philosophical works, in the emotional conflict of his theatre, or in his innovative aesthetic vision, Diderot consistently evokes the darker side of the Enlightenment.
Cet ouvrage interroge l’aspect plus sombre de Diderot, écrivain, critique d’art, philosophe et encyclopédiste. Les contributeurs traitent du clivage entre d’un côté, les images positives des Lumières et, de l’autre, le désordre, la révolte, la transgression, les pratiques sociales et intellectuelles clandestines qui en constituent son corollaire parfois sous-jacent. Le rôle de Diderot au cœur de ce clivage sera analysé dans le cadre d’une interrogation plus large du couple Ombres/Lumières. Diderot incarne – dans ses réticences devant les autorités et la censure, dans la richesse et la complexité de ses ouvrages littéraires et philosophiques, dans les conflits affectifs de son théâtre, ou encore dans sa vision esthétique innovatrice – une alternative, plus sombre, à la marche des Lumières triomphantes.

Available for purchase here.

James Hanrahan is Ussher Lecturer in eighteenth-century French studies at Trinity College Dublin.
Síofra Pierse is Senior Lecturer in French and Francophone studies at University College Dublin.

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