Reading Andrew S. Curran’s “Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely” will, among other things, make you feel very lazy. On a typical day, Curran points out, Diderot might “write on ancient Chinese and Greek music first thing in the morning, study the mechanics of a cotton mill until noon, help purchase some paintings for Catherine the Great in the afternoon, and then return home and compose a play and a 20-page letter to his mistress in the evening.” The 18th-century French philosopher (he was called “le philosophe” by his contemporaries; “the philosopher,” not “a philosopher”) was the most famous atheist of his generation. He edited the “Encyclopédie,” for which he wrote 7,000 articles. He was also an art critic, a novelist, a political writer and a satirist, though much of this was known only long after his death. He wrote dozens of manuscripts that he meant to be discovered after he was gone, hoping and trusting that future generations would better sympathize with his more radical thoughts. Below, Curran talks about grave robbers, Diderot’s political prescience, how he was like Benjamin Franklin and more.
When did you first get the idea to write this book?
It starts in 2013, with The New York Times, when I wrote an op-ed about Diderot’s 300th birthday. Right after that happened, Other Press contacted me and said, “Do you want to write a biography?” I jumped at the chance. I had had it in the back of my mind that it would be great to do something different than what was out there. All the biographies had been 700 pages, 800 pages, and very useful and scholarly for people who study Diderot. But I thought that for somebody who was so interested in posterity, it was important to work for him and help him out with that posterity, to make him more accessible.
He’s so interesting and human. He’s vulnerable, open, complicated and very fun to read about. He’s like Montaigne or Benjamin Franklin, too, in that he can become your friend — a lifelong companion. My thesis adviser at N.Y.U., who died last year, once told me the only man she has loved, other than her husband, is Diderot.
What’s the most surprising thing you learned while writing it?
I always knew he was a complete workhorse, just an intellectual beast. But I really didn’t grasp how important he was as a political thinker until I worked on him. He went to Russia to speak with Catherine the Great, who was his benefactor, and tried to democratize the Russian empire. He didn’t get too far.
But later on — and this was discovered only in the 1940s — he was a ghost writer for one of the best sellers of the 18th century, “Philosophical and Political History of the Two Indies,” in which he tackled major subjects that were incredibly influential. He ultimately wrote about 20 or 25 percent of it. He criticized Louis XVI for income inequality. He said France was a powder keg that was going to blow up, nine years before the revolution. And he was also a great antislavery voice, around 1780. What’s remarkable is that he didn’t just say slavery is bad, he refuted all the racial stereotypes in a way no one else was doing at the time. The name of the guy who ostensibly wrote the book was Raynal; he got kicked out of France, whereas Diderot, who wrote the most incendiary parts, got to stay.
He was a genius, for sure, but in his first gig, the drummer got ticked off and threw a cymbal at him. He went back and worked at his craft. There’s something that anyone who’s a musician or a visual artist or a filmmaker can aspire to: that unbelievable spontaneity that comes from really knowing what you’re working with. I know I’m no Charlie Parker, but he provides this model for hard work, initially, and later on, the kind of spontaneity that’s almost invisible.
Persuade someone to read “Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely” in 50 words or less.
This is a book about a person who fought to change the way that people thought about everything in the 18th century: from religion to politics to human sexuality. It’s also a book about a sympathetic and complicated genius you’d die to spend time with.
This interview has been condensed and edited.B:
大乐透近十期开奖结果【老】【林】【的】【目】【光】【中】，【带】【着】【深】【深】【的】【困】【惑】，【以】【及】【对】【新】【知】【识】【的】【渴】【望】。 【站】【一】【个】【不】【算】【队】【的】【队】…… 【好】【高】【深】【的】【感】【觉】…… 【看】【着】【面】【前】【也】【就】【比】【茶】【几】【高】【出】【半】【个】【身】【子】【的】【小】【豆】【丁】【儿】【子】，【他】【忍】【不】【住】【问】【道】：“【什】【么】【意】【思】？” 【林】【淼】【反】【问】【道】：“【你】【觉】【得】【老】【彭】【算】【得】【上】【是】【王】【建】【新】【的】【对】【手】【吗】？” 【老】【林】【茫】【然】【问】：“【不】【算】【吗】？” 【林】【淼】【嘴】【角】【一】【扬】，【对】【老】
【进】【入】【七】【月】，【总】【选】【单】【首】【先】【在】【电】【视】【台】【的】【音】【番】【上】【披】【露】【了】。 《【心】【意】【告】【示】【牌】》【质】【量】【其】【实】【还】【是】【不】【错】【的】，【很】【传】【统】【的】【偶】【像】【歌】【曲】，【适】【合】【麻】【友】，【走】【的】【也】【是】【朗】【朗】【上】【口】，【不】【太】【需】【要】【唱】【功】【的】【路】【线】，【给】【麻】【友】【这】【样】【一】【首】【歌】【显】【得】【理】【所】【当】【然】。 AKB【的】【几】【张】【总】【选】【单】，【真】【正】【走】【红】【的】【就】【是】《HR》【跟】《【幸】【运】【曲】【奇】》，《HR》【靠】【的】【是】AKB【最】【红】【时】【期】【的】【那】【个】
【胡】【安】【马】【塔】【在】【发】【角】【球】【前】，【朝】【着】【莫】【德】【里】【奇】【做】【了】【个】【奇】【怪】【的】【手】【势】。 【莫】【德】【里】【奇】【看】【到】【以】【后】，【默】【默】【点】【了】【点】【头】。 【胡】【安】【马】【塔】【迈】【着】【小】【碎】【步】，【开】【始】【助】【跑】。 “【嘭】！” 【胡】【安】【马】【塔】【一】【个】【大】【脚】，【足】【球】【在】【空】【中】【划】【过】【一】【道】【诡】【异】【的】【抛】【物】【线】，【直】【落】【一】【个】【无】【人】【的】【角】【落】。 【看】【到】【足】【球】【落】【了】【下】【来】，【巴】【黎】FC***【的】【球】【员】【们】，【如】【潮】【水】【一】【般】【纷】【纷】【涌】【向】【了】【足】
“【怎】【么】？【凤】【主】【打】【算】【出】【尔】【反】【尔】？”【天】【剑】【老】【人】【脸】【色】【一】【沉】，【不】【悦】【道】。 【陶】【弃】【也】【皱】【起】【了】【眉】【头】，【他】【可】【不】【希】【望】【自】【己】【被】【人】【贴】【上】【小】【人】【的】【标】【签】，【而】【且】，【他】【是】【个】【非】【常】【骄】【傲】【的】【人】，【最】【看】【不】【起】【的】【就】【是】【出】【尔】【反】【尔】，【言】【而】【无】【信】【的】【行】【为】【了】。 【他】【以】【为】【凤】【主】【身】【为】【凤】【族】【的】【族】【长】，【理】【应】【也】【是】【一】【个】【骄】【傲】【之】【人】，【可】【她】【现】【在】【如】【果】【毁】【约】【的】【话】，【那】【就】【会】【让】【他】【对】【凤】【主】【的】【印】【象】【大】【为】大乐透近十期开奖结果“【锟】【铻】，【那】【三】【条】【雷】【蟒】【已】【经】【钻】【进】【了】【那】【个】【土】【盾】？【你】【这】【个】【灵】【技】【可】【以】【瞬】【移】？” 【陈】【锡】【盯】【着】【上】【空】【的】【剧】【烈】【爆】【炸】，【那】【土】【盾】【甚】【至】【已】【经】【被】【炸】【的】【崩】【裂】，【透】【露】【出】【里】【面】【的】【丝】【丝】【雷】【光】！ “【咿】【呜】！”【锟】【铻】【点】【头】，【又】【摇】【头】。 【陈】【锡】【有】【些】【疑】【惑】，【这】【又】【点】【头】【又】【摇】【头】【的】，【是】【什】【么】【意】【思】？ “【哈】【哈】，【不】【管】【怎】【么】【说】，【这】【下】【子】【可】【够】【这】【两】【只】【魔】【兽】【吃】【一】【壶】【了】。”
【所】【以】【她】【只】【给】【宋】【尧】【回】【了】【一】【条】【短】【信】：【谢】【谢】【老】【公】，【我】【又】【可】【以】【了】～ 【她】【的】【消】【息】【刚】【一】【发】【过】【去】，【宋】【尧】【的】【电】【话】【便】【打】【了】【过】【来】。 【迟】【疑】【了】【十】【秒】【钟】，【她】【还】【是】【点】【了】【接】【通】。 “【喂】！【没】……”【宋】【尧】【气】【势】【汹】【汹】【地】【喂】【了】【一】【声】【后】，【顿】【时】【就】【没】【了】【气】【焰】，【带】【着】【鼻】【音】【问】，“【没】、【没】【事】【吧】？” “m……【咳】【咳】、【咳】……”【就】【连】【一】【个】【音】【节】【也】【发】【不】【出】【来】【了】【吗】？【陈】
【比】【起】【骑】【马】，【顾】【心】【更】【喜】【欢】【身】【上】【这】【套】【新】【衣】【服】，【所】【以】【她】【选】【择】【坐】【马】【车】。 【挑】【了】【一】【辆】【云】【盖】【青】【帷】【的】【单】【人】【马】【车】【坐】【上】，【顾】【心】【坐】【好】【了】，【宋】【恒】【就】【把】【马】【场】【配】【的】【车】【夫】【给】【遣】【退】【了】，【他】【自】【己】【坐】【在】【前】【头】【挥】【鞭】【赶】【车】。 【两】【匹】【雪】【白】【的】【骏】【马】【嘚】【嘚】【跑】【了】【起】【来】，【步】【子】【稳】【得】【很】。【车】【上】【有】【小】【茶】【桌】，【茶】【碗】【里】【的】【水】【面】【只】【是】【轻】【微】【晃】【动】，【不】【会】【溢】【洒】。 【今】【日】【是】【晴】【天】，【一】【丝】【风】【也】