Other highly distinctive works by Diderot include La Religieuse [the nun] (1796), a psychological novel; Jacques le fataliste (1796), a rambling novel in the manner of Sterne; and Le Neveu de Rameau [Rameau's nephew], a brilliant satire in dialogue. His philosophical writings include his Pensées philosophiques (1746) and Lettre sur les aveugles [letter on the blind] (1749), which contains the most complete statement of his materialism. Through his Salons, articles published in newspapers from 1759, he pioneered in modern art criticism. Diderot's vast correspondence forms a brilliant picture of the period. His later years, until he came to enjoy the patronage of Catherine II of Russia, were filled with financial difficulties. His influence was great, both on his immediate successors, Holbach and Helvétius, and on the writers and thinkers of France, Germany, and England.
See his Selected Writings, tr. by D. Coltman and ed. by L. G. Crocker (1966); Diderot on Art, ed. and tr. by J. Goodman (2 vol., 1995); biographies by A. M. Wilson (1972), P. N. Furbank (1992), and A. S. Curran (2019); studies by G. Bremner (1983), J. H. Mason (1984), A. S. Curran (2019), and R. Zaretsky (2019).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: French Literature: Biographies