Professor Andrew S. Curran discusses his new book, Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely, at a University Club luncheon. This is a ticketed event. For more information or to make your reservation, please call The Book Stall at 847-446-8880.
Can't make it to the event? Call us at 847-446-8880 and we are happy to arrange to get an autographed copy of Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely for you!
Andrew S. Curran is the William Armstrong Professor of the Humanities at Wesleyan University. The author of two previous books, Sublime Disorder: Physical Monstrosity in Diderot's Universe and The Anatomy of Blackness: Science and Slavery in an Age of Enlightenment, 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.
Denis Diderot is often associated with the decades-long battle to bring the world's first comprehensive Encyclopâedie into existence. But his most compelling and personal writing took place in the shadows. Thrown into prison for his atheism in 1749, Diderot decided to reserve his most daring books for posterity--for us, in fact. In the astonishing cache of unpublished writings that he left behind after his death, Diderot dreamed of natural selection before Darwin, the Oedipus complex before Freud, and genetic manipulation centuries before Dolly the Sheep was born. Even more audaciously, the writer challenged virtually all of his century's accepted truths, from the sanctity of monarchy, to the racial justification of slave trade, to the limits of human sexuality. He was also keenly aware of the dangers of absolute power, about which he wrote so persuasively that it led Catherine the Great not only to support him financially but also to invite him to St. Petersburg. In this thematically organized biography, Andrew Curran vividly describes Diderot's tormented relationship with Rousseau, his feud with Voltaire, his tortured marriage, his passionate affairs, and his often-paradoxical stand on art, morality, and religion. But what this book brings out most brilliantly is how a man's character flaws and limitations are often the flip side of his genius and his ability to break taboos, dogmas, and conventions.
Please note: The Club adheres to a no denim and no athletic wear dress code at this particular event. If you are bringing a guest please make sure to share this policy with them.
Best Book of the Year – Kirkus Reviews
A spirited biography of the prophetic and sympathetic philosopher who helped build the foundations of the modern world.