FR30280 Diderot: Creative Iconoclast

Denis Diderot (1713-84), a key inventive figure behind the vast French Enlightenment project ‘L’Encyclopedie’, was one of the most radical and original writers of 18th-century France. However, this philosophe’s ground-breaking works -mainly published posthumously- were composed in a unique pre-revolutionary literary climate when censorship prevailed, silencing innovative, offensive and subversive writings. Typically, his texts play with ideas, voice, satire, narrative, actors/spectators, art, music, and the reader; they challenge contemporary norms of genre and register; they fuse narrative and philosophical ideas; they stretch the rules of aesthetics and morals. In this module, students engage in close reading and literary analysis of a number of Diderot’s key prose texts across different genres (e.g. novel/ satire/ philosophical dialogue/ short story), while situating theym within the challenging contemporary Enlightenment and pre-revolutionary literary world.

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