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Denis Diderot (Diderot Denis)

( philosopher, novelist and art critic.)

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Biography Denis Diderot (Diderot Denis)
photo Denis Diderot (Diderot Denis)
(1713-1784), born 5 October 1713 in Langres (Champagne), in the family cutler. Educated at the Jesuit college Langres, then apparently went to Paris yansenitskom Collц¬ge d'Harcourt. Rejecting the Church career, earn a living (his father refused him in the content) private lessons and occasional articles in magazines, gave a lot of money writing sermons. The circle of his friends at that time consisted mainly of the same impoverished intellectuals, and it looks like he did in this environment of unquestioned authority.
In 1741 Diderot fell in love with Antoinette (Nanette) Shampon, who lived in great poverty with widowed mother. They decided to marry, and he went to Langres to announce this and to demand its share of family wealth, but his father managed to put him in jail. After fleeing from prison, Diderot returned to Paris, where they secretly married Nanette. Spouses are not good for each other: Diderot was not a faithful husband, and Nanette over the years had become intolerable shrew, yet they never parted until death.

In early 1740-ies Diderot commissioned to translate Discourse on the dignity and virtue (Inquiery Concerning Virtue and Merit) Shaftesbury, at that time little known in France. On the pages of this work (largely independent), it appears even a theist, but a year later in the philosophical thoughts (Penses philosophiques), a kind of refutation of Pascal's Thoughts, he acts as a skeptic and freethinker. By this time, Diderot, the philosopher had already reached maturity, declaring itself as an atheist, materialist and determinist, but above all - as a champion of skepticism. Printed without the author's philosophical ideas had considerable success, also expressed in the public burning

. Together with his friend J. d'Alembert, he received an invitation to become the head of a huge new venture, called, Encyclopedia, or Dictionary of Science, Arts and Crafts (Encyclopdie, ou Dictionaire raisonn des sciences, des arts et des mtiers)
. The publisher initially considered the dictionary just as a translation Encyclopedias E. Chambers (1728), but the efforts of Diderot and d'Alembert that turned into a comprehensive review the current state of knowledge in France. At the same epicurean Diderot published the novel in the spirit of 'libertinstva' immodest treasures (Les Bijoux indiscrets).

After the Philosophical letters to Diderot's reputation has undergone a new test, when in 1749 he published a provocatively daring Letter on the Blind for the edification of seeing (La Lettre sur les aveugles l'usage de ceux qui voient). Diderot was imprisoned in Vincennes fortress-prison, where he spent nearly four months.

Upon emerging from prison work on the Encyclopedia resumed her attracted many prominent representatives of science and art, including Voltaire. Diderot was engaged in the history of philosophy and crafts. Editors based their encyclopaedia in accordance with the principle of 'the tree of knowledge' Francis Bacon, however, several modifying 'tree', so that it is simply a branch of religion, philosophy, and history are brought modest section of memory. Special care was a combination of editors 'lexicon' (alphabetical) order of articles, . convenient for the ordinary reader, . with presumably more philosophical, . 'encyclopedic' coverage of the material, . what was invented by a complex hierarchical system of cross references,
. Through these art references, for example, orthodox religious content was linked to another article refuting the main theses of the first. The work eventually comprised 17 volumes of text and 11 volumes of tables, required many years. At first supported by the authorities, then it has acquired powerful enemies, especially among the Jesuits, and several times suspended Royal Edict. When she was brought to the middle, another blow was the defection of d'Alembert, Diderot recently experienced the shock to discover that the publisher without his knowledge carried censorship of articles.

One of the main suppliers of articles for Diderot was P. Holbach, whose house became a kind of factory, where the translated and distributed from the works of radical and atheistic nature. At dinner at Holbach, Diderot met and made the acquaintance of D. Hume, D. Garrick, D. Wilkes and L. Stern.

Soon after the appearance of the first volumes of the Encyclopedia of Diderot published the letter of the deaf and dumb (La Lettre sur les sourds et muets), lasted more than an early letter of the Blind. Both letters are based on the theory Dzh.Lokka which Diderot and his fellow educators considered indisputable truth: there is no 'innate ideas', all the knowledge acquired from experience. Letter of the deaf and dumb contains an unexpected turn of thought: thinking about how to represent the origin of language, where there are deaf, the author comes to the 'hieroglyphic' theory of the nature of poetry. In both letters was dominated by expensive for Diderot's thought: the philosopher may need to 'blind themselves', to really see, and 'be deaf' to be heard as.

Related to letters and other compositions of this period Diderot - Thoughts on the explanation of nature (Penses sur l interprtation de la nature, 1753), a series of reflections on the role of 'speculation' in science. Shortly before this naturalist J. L. Buffon criticized the claims of mathematics at the absolute role in cognition, . Diderot followed him to prove, . that the domination of Mathematics, . which is a set of conditional formulas and deals with abstract entities, . not identical to the real events, . coming to an end, . and it must give way to science,
. This change, argued further Diderot, leading to what is new and creatively enhanced role will belong to the empirical knowledge

. About 1,756 under the impression from accidentally fell into his hands comedies C. Goldoni A true friend of Diderot wrote the drama of an illegitimate son (Le Fils naturel), . in the development of action closely follows the play by Goldoni (sometimes two of these works are almost indistinguishable), . however, tends to make conflict more serious philosophical,
. In the accompanying play hero treatise outlines the program of the new, reformed theater, broke with the conventions of classical. Diderot's detractors were quick to accuse him of plagiarism, and the play had modest success in France, but the second play Diderot, father of the family (Le Pre de famille), included in the repertoire 'Comedie-Francaise'. Edition, in which he outlined his understanding of theater and the concept of a new, domestic drama had a significant impact, especially outside of France.

A M-Zh.Russo Diderot met with the German writer FM Grimm, who published a handwritten journal 'Korrespondans literer', introduced the royals with the cultural life of Paris. Starting from 1759 Diderot covered in it arranged biannual exhibition of paintings in the Louvre - Beauty (Salons). In preparing these articles, he visited the studio of the famous French artists. His lengthy 'reviews' on the form have often been the story of the narrative or philosophical fantasy, covering various subjects.

From these and other works of Diderot's thought out and there is a clear system of aesthetic views are closely related to its ethical concepts. This relationship is clearly evident in the paradox of the actor (Paradoxe sur le comdien). The writing was started as a review of the book devoted to the British actor, D. Garrick, but has taken the form of dialogue about art and acting game. Subsequently discussed and contested by many actors, . they affect and the broader theme, . as Diderot justifies paradox, . according to which the talent is paid a high price - the gifted talent of people become insensitive monsters,

In mid-1760's, when work on the Encyclopedia's almost over, Diderot, worrying about the dowry for his daughter, decided to sell his library. His friend and employer Grimm, thanks 'Korrespondans literer' familiar with Catherine II, invited her to purchase library. Queen agreed, on condition that Diderot would remain the custodian of the library and her own personal librarian. Diderot became an adviser to Catherine II in matters related to the painting, helped to initiate the collection of the Hermitage. In 1773 he went to St. Petersburg, where he was received with special honors. In several treatises written for Catherine II, at this time and later, Diderot tried (without much success) to explain the evil of absolute power, which tend to liberate the peasants from serfdom, written comments on the draft Nakaz.

Travel undermined his health, but Diderot few years gave a lot of energy literary projects. He has prepared extensive material for his friend G. Raynal, . write the history of both Indian (Histoire de deux Indes), . sharply criticized the colonial policies of France, published an extensive essay on Seneca (Essai sur Snque), . which tried to justify the philosopher and statesman, . which routinely saw the embodiment of hypocrisy, in the manuscript has remained a complete treatise on the physiology of large,
. In February 1774 he broke the strike, and 31 July of that year, Diderot died, and his wife, Nanette hinder attempts to draw the dying in the bosom of the church. In accordance with his wishes his daughter Angelica sent a copy of unpublished manuscripts of Catherine II. In St. Petersburg and the library was moved Diderot, Empress bought more in 1765.

Diderot's literary heritage are two groups of works. One - it works, published during his lifetime, and representing a large but essentially only of historical interest, the other - some great works of prose, hardly known contemporaries Diderot, but a lot of speaking the modern reader. The earliest of them - the novel The Nun (La Religieuse), which provides excellent study psychology, monastic life, as well as her sharp rebuke. Apparently, Diderot did not show nun with a friend, though at the end of life published a novel in the 'Korrespondans literer'. Of even greater reticence he displayed with regard shortly sketched, and probably a fair copy written dialogue Rameau's Nephew (Le Neveu de Rameau). This unusual work, . which is so fond of JW Goethe (perevedshy it to German), . GWF Hegel (who turned to him in the Phenomenology of Spirit), . Karl Marx (Diderot were giving preference to all other prose writers) and Freud (who found, . that are anticipated by the Oedipus complex), . undoubtedly, . Diderot himself did not intend to publish,

The work is open to many interpretations, but in some respects is a reflection on the nature of genius. The dialogue involved philosopher (you can call it a second 'I' Diderot) and his friend Jean-Francois Rameau, . nephew of famous composer Jean-Philippe Rameau - himself a failed composer, . scum, . which is mired in poverty and became famous only extravagant theories and jokes,
. Necessity compels him to lead a parasitic existence, pre-election joggling purify their bread and shelter, and he gives the entire science of parasitism. The second 'I' Diderot is amusing, it feels disgust to his companion, but acknowledges that his arguments difficult to refute. This, however, and there is no special needs, as well as for the Rameau's no secret that its construction is a fatal flaw. Deceived in all his hopes, he tries to gain support in the cynicism, but cynicism is an unreliable reference point.

In 1769 Diderot wrote a full parody of fantasy Socratic dialogue about materialism Dream of d'Alembert (Rve de d'Alembert). Diderot and d'Alembert talk about Descartes, Diderot, and develops one of his favorite materialist paradox consists in the fact that all matter is endowed with the ability to feel, so no need to follow the Cartesians say 'soul'. Last outstanding literary work Diderot, Jacques-fatalist (Jacques le fataliste), written a year or two later, inspired by L. Sterne's Tristram Shandy. This pikareskny romance, interrupted by digressions, inside of which has its own retreat, in the middle - ring master and his servant Jack, the action is in their competition with each other for power, and the top can easily take Jacques. Relations between the heroes and the transfer of power from the hands are seen as a parable, . having multifaceted content: it is about the nature of literary fiction, . and the refusal to serve as a humble servant of the narrator or the reader an accomplice, . and the French society and the dependence of the nobility of the third estate, . and the fate of, . the need for everyone to recognize its supreme authority,
. In the dialog Dream of d'Alembert, Diderot reflects on the essence of materialism in the novel - about the omnipotence of determinism. A lively and cheerful character of the narrative recalls the works of Stern, but the paradox and depth - the merit Diderot.

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