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The Solidarity of a Philosophe

Diderot, Russia and the Soviet Union


Peter H. Kaufman

This study links, for the first time, three separate areas of research: Denis Diderot's visit to Petersburg in 1773-74, Diderot in Soviet criticism, and Marxism and the French Enlightenment. Diderot's relations with Russia, Catherine the Great, other Russians, the Russian language and Slavophilism are all discussed in the light of western, Russian and Soviet sources. A detailed analysis of Soviet criticism of Diderot in the key areas of his political and religious thought then follows. From this examination a more accurate portrait of the eighteenth-century philosophe emerges, while the tracing - and linking - of three centuries of European intellectual history provide an enhanced perspective from which to view current events.