Thursday, August 12, 2010

Soviet Diderot

Miller, Arnold. "The Annexation of a Philosophe: Diderot in Soviet Criticism 1917-1960," Diderot Studies XV. (Geneve: Librairie Droz, 1971.)

Most of the first 75 pages are readable online. The history of Soviet work on Diderot up to 1960 is covered here. A landmark was I. K. Luppol's 1924 book on Diderot. Lupol asserts that Diderot was a dialectical thinker. The argument as reported here seems pretty lame. Miller begins by asserting that Luppol was brilliant, then makes short shrift of his work. I can only hope that Luppol's analysis was not as childish as it appears to be from reading about it second-hand. Miller also points out discrepancies between the different editions of Luppol's work.

I have one Soviet work which may be more substantial:

Dlugach, Tamara. Denis Diderot, translated by Catherine Judelson. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1988. 237 pp. Originally published in Russian, 1975.)

The Soviet perspective presumably influenced the framing of this important anthology:

Diderot, Denis. Diderot, Interpreter of Nature: Selected Writings, translated by Jean Stewart and Jonathan Kemp, edited and with an introduction by Jonathan Kemp. 2nd ed. New York: International Publishers, 1963. (1st ed. 1937)

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