The Paris Review

When Diderot Met Voltaire

François-Marie Arouet, a.k.a Voltaire, and Denis Diderot.

In mid-December 1776, the eighty-three-year-old Voltaire pulled out a piece of paper and dashed off a note to Diderot. Having been exiled from Paris for more than twenty-five years, the now wizened and virtually toothless philosophe lamented the fact that the two men had never laid eyes on each other: “I am heartbroken to die without having met you … I would gladly come and spend my last fifteen minutes in Paris in order to have the solace of hearing your voice.”

Fifteen months later, Voltaire rolled into the capital in his blue, star-spangled coach. Quite ill with prostate cancer, the famous humanitarian, essayist, and playwright nonetheless organized a feverish schedule for himself. In addition to finishing work on a five-act tragedy—he lived long enoughon the corner of the rue de Beaune and the quai des Théatins. Here, for hours at a time, Voltaire received visits from a long list of adoring friends and dignitaries, among them Benjamin Franklin and his son. Sometime during Voltaire’s three-month stay, Diderot also came to pay his respects. Journalists who wrote about the meeting hinted that some relationships are best conducted solely by correspondence.

Anda sedang membaca pratinjau, daftarlah untuk membaca selengkapnya.

Lainnya dari The Paris Review

The Paris Review8 mnt membaca
Re-Covered: A Blisteringly Honest Lesbian Suicide Memoir
In her monthly column Re-Covered, Lucy Scholes exhumes the out-of-print and forgotten books that shouldn’t be. Photo: Lucy Scholes In April 1962, after a day of sailing in Dorset, the fifty-year-old English writer and teacher Rosemary Manning got int
The Paris Review3 mnt membaca
Redux: In Memoriam, Susannah Hunnewell
Susannah Hunnewell in 2017, at the magazine’s Spring Revel. Courtesy of The Paris Review. The Paris Review is mourning the loss of our publisher and friend, Susannah Hunnewell. Over the course of her long affiliation with the magazine—she began as an
The Paris Review6 mnt membaca
Sorry, Peter Pan, We’re Over You
Sabrina Orah Mark’s monthly column, Happily, focuses on fairy tales and motherhood. On the day before Halloween, my son’s teacher tells me, with the seriousness of a funeral director, that Noah has decided he does not want to be Peter Pan after all.