Cosponsored by Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States/San Francisco
Denis Diderot is often associated with the decades-long battle to bring the world's first comprehensive Encyclopédie into existence. But his most daring writing took place in the shadows. Thrown into prison for his atheism in 1749, Diderot decided to reserve his best books for posterity. In this illuminating biography, Andrew S. Curran vividly describes Diderot's tormented relationship with Rousseau, his curious correspondence with Voltaire, his passionate affairs, and his often iconoclastic stands on art, theater, morality, politics, and religion.
Andrew S. Curran is the William Armstrong Professor of the Humanities and Professor of French at Wesleyan University. His last book, The Anatomy of Blackness: Science and Slavery in an Era of Enlightenment (A Choice Outstanding Academic Title; Prix Monsieur et Madame Louis Marin 2018 de l’Académie des sciences d’outre-mer) is the first comprehensive study of the birth of race in French thought. Published by Johns Hopkins University Press (2011, 2013), this study recently came out in French translation at Classiques Garnier in fall of 2017. Curran is a fellow in the history of medicine at the New York Academy of Medicine and a Chevalier dans l’ordre des Palmes Académiques. 2
Mark Calkins, PH.D. (moderator) is on the Lecturer Faculty in the Department of Comparative and World Literature, College of Liberal and Creative Arts, San Francisco State University. He has been the moderator of Mechanics' Institute's dedicated Proust Group for over eighteen years.