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In a dual biography crafted around the famous encounter between the French philosopher who wrote about power and the Russian empress who wielded it with great aplomb, Robert Zaretsky invites us to reflect on the fraught relationship between politics and philosophy, and between a man of thought and a woman of action.
"Catherine the Great: A Reference Guide to Her Life and Works has an extensive A to Z section which includes several hundred entries. The bibliography provides a comprehensive list of publications concerning her life and work"--
I t is only relatively recently that serious attempts have been made to rescue Diderot's political writings from obscurity and neglect, and ascribe to the ideas expressed therein their due place in the panoply of his intellectual and artistic achievements. This has been largely made possible by the transference of the Fonds Vandeul from Diderot's descendants to the Bibliotheque Nationale in 1954. This important collection of manuscripts and papers, to which scholars have previously had very inadequate access, contains the bulk of the political writings, most of which had either never been published, or were only obtainable in badly prepared or rare editions. In recent years, however, excellent critical editions of the most impor tant political texts have appeared; the Textes Politiques edited by Yves Benot, and the Oeuvres Politiques and the Memoires pour Catherine II edited by Paul Verniere are all notable contributions. Meanwhile Jacques Proust has written a major thesis on Diderot et l'Encyclopedie which con tains a detailed study of Diderot's political ideas during the years he de voted to the construction of that great intellectual monument. Most re cently Yves Benot has published a general work with an important study of Diderot's hostility to European colonial policies, Diderot, de l' atheisme a l'anticolonialisme. Furthermore, Diderot's contributions to the three editions of Raynal's Histoire des deux Indes have been identified with virtual certainty by Michele Duchet and Hans Wolpe, thereby opening up a further valuable source for his political ideas.
The book features the ideas of individuals and groups of people who made direct contributions to projects initiated by their monarchs, above all those of Catherine the Great. A special theme of the book is attention given to the theory and practice of educating young women in Russia.
Drawing from a range of critical perspectives, in particular postcolonial, this book examines the relationship between perceptions of Russia and of Eastern Europe and the making of a 'Western' identity. It explores the ways in which the perception of certain characteristics of Russia and Eastern Europe, whether real or attributed, was shaped by (and used for) the construction of a liberal narrative of the West, which eventually became dominant. The focus of this inquiry is French culture, from the beginning of the debate about Russia among the philosophes (c.1740) to the consolidation of a professional field of Slavic studies (c.1880). A wide range of writing - literature, travel accounts, histories, political tracts, scientific journals, and parliamentary debates - is examined through the work of major authors (from Montesquieu, Diderot and Rousseau to Tocqueville, de Maistre and Guizot, from Mme. de Staël, Hugo and Balzac to Dumas, Michelet and Comte), as well as that of many less well known figures. The book also explores possible continuities between those first academic accounts of Russia and Eastern Europe and present-day scholarship in Europe and the USA, to show that the liberal ideological accounts constructed in the nineteenth century still to a great extent inform contemporary academic studies.
A research monograph that discusses the influence of Catherine of Russia on the leading figures of the French Enlightenment through her use of patronage, largess and political pressure. Also discusses French as the language of the Russian Court and the widespread distribution of French ideas and philosophical concepts in 18th c Russian society.
One of the most eclectic and enigmatic of the philosophes, Denis Diderot left an intellectual legacy that has the capacity to stimulate, perplex and even confound. Particularly challenging are his writings on the natural sciences, an area largely neglected by scholars over the past fifty years. In Diderot: natural philosopher Kurt Ballstadt examines the entirety of Diderot's scientific works from the Lettre sur les aveugles to the Eléments de physiologie, investigating his fascination with mathematics, experimental physics, chemistry, natural history and medicine, and drawing out the crucial points of contact between these disciplines. Diderot is shown to have a well-constructed philosophy of science and an integrated, sophisticated vision of how the world functions. We are led away from the image of a radical Diderot, champion of disorder, to an analysis of a more systematic thinker whose underlying search for structure characterized both his attitude to the world around him, and the way he wrote about it. Situating these writings on natural philosophy in the intellectual landscape of the Enlightenment, this book will engage Diderot scholars and historians of eighteenth-century science alike.
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