Denis Diderot

(2600 words)
  • David J. Adams (Manchester University)

Denis Diderot was born, the son of a cutler, in Langres in Champagne on 5 October 1713, and died in Paris on 31 July 1784. He is one of the most original figures of the French Enlightenment, and also, in some ways, one of the most intriguing. Much of his early life, unlike that of equally famous contemporaries such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau or Voltaire, is shrouded in mystery. Many of the works which he published during his lifetime were anonymous, or were ascribed to other writers, and even today his role in their composition is not always clear. Some of the works for which he is now most noted appeared many years after his death. During his lifetime, his most often reprinted works were two plays, though they were hardly ever performed. …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Citation:
Adams, David J.. "Denis Diderot". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 May 2003
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=1261, accessed 25 October 2014.]

Articles on Diderot's works

  1. Encyclopédie [The Encyclopedia]
  2. Jacques le Fataliste et son Maître [Jacques the Fatalist and his Master]
  3. Le Neveu de Rameau [Rameau's Nephew]
  4. Le Père de Famille [The Family Father]