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Writing Biography: Denis Diderot, a Case Study

FIST 225
Spring 2019 not offered
Certificates: Writing

How does one re-create someone else's life, in words? How does one conjure up the historical context that surrounds a far away existence? How does one bring together different forms of evidence--from the archive, primary sources, secondary sources, and written shreds of a life--to create the illusion of knowing the dead? In this course, we will ask these questions about the most fascinating figure of the French Enlightenment, Denis Diderot (1713--1784). In addition to editing the greatest encyclopedia of the 18th century, this would-be priest turned atheist also dreamt of natural selection before Darwin, the Oedipus complex before Freud, and a form of genetic manipulation centuries before Dolly the Sheep was born, all the while making significant contributions to art criticism, dramaturgy, natural history, and political philosophy. His private life, which includes affairs and prison, is also worthy of scrutiny and examination. While reading about his existence and studying a selection of his works, students in this class will undertake a series of biography-related written exercises that seek to resurrect various aspects of this intriguing thinker or members of his cohort. This course and readings are in English.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA RLAN
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (FRST-MN)(FRST)

Last Updated on APR-13-2024
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