Denis Diderot was born at Langres in eastern France in 1713. After graduating in Paris in 1732, he was nominally a law student for ten years, but was actually leading a precarious bohemian but studious existence. In the early 1740s he met three contemporaries who were of great significance to him and to the age: a'Alembert, Condillac and Rousseau, who assisted Diderot in the compilation of the Encyclopedie, which he worked on until its completion in 1773. Interested in the mind-body dichotomy, his work was a bold mixture of science and philosophy. He died in 1784.
The Nunby Denis Diderot, Russell Goulbourne
Denis Diderot (1713-84), editor of the Encyclopedie and supreme figure of the Enlightenment, began writing The Nun as a practical joke.The joke got out of hand and resulted in one of the most remarkable novels of the eighteenth century. Through the story of a girl without a religious vocation, enclosed against her will in the unnatural environment of a convent, Diderot takes issue with misconceived Christianity in a social system where the civil law protects the persecutor and penalizes the victim. In an atmosphere intense with gossip, intrigues, favouritism, persecutions and pettiness, Diderot exposes the young nun to what he regards as the four great dangers of convent life: madness, the paralysing effect of a powerful saintly personality, sadistic cruelty, and febrile sexuality.
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