<i>Mediating</i> Le Philosophe

Anne Fastrup

in This Is Enlightenment

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780226761473
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226761466 | DOI:
Mediating Le Philosophe

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This chapter analyzes a marked tension in Diderot's account of the position of the philosopher in society in some of the “media” he personally favored (articles in the Encyclopédie, dialogues, paintings, essays in ekphrasis). It begins with a general and introductory account of Diderot's (and, by implication, the encyclopedists') view of the philosopher, of journalism, and of the printed media (newspapers, periodicals, and newsletters). It then discusses Diderot's representations of other, ideal ways of public communication in the form of a mise-en-scène: the philosopher introduces his private person into the object of his analysis in order to represent les philosophes in a favorable light—as noble defenders of humanity, truth, equality, and reason, while denigrating the partiality of the journalists.

Keywords: philosopher; society; Encyclopédie; journalism; print media

Chapter.  7965 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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