The World in Time

Andrew S. Curran

Friday, April 19, 2019

Vincennes (Vignette), engraved by W. Miller, after Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1836. Photograph © Tate (CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

“Despite repeated allusions to the importance of posterity, Diderot has not made life easy for his biographers,” Andrew S. Curran writes at the beginning of his book Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely. In this week’s podcast, the William Armstrong Professor of the Humanities at Wesleyan University explains how he set about exploring the life of the French philosopher and editor of the Encyclopédie—and shows how the best way to start thinking about Denis Diderot is to split his seventy years on earth in two parts, his prison sentence in Vincennes serving as the point of bifurcation.


Lewis H. Lapham talks with Andrew S. Curran, author of Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely.


Thanks to our generous donors. Lead support for this podcast has been provided by Elizabeth “Lisette” Prince. Additional support was provided by James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr.

Discussed in this episode

More Podcasts

November 11, 2011

The World in Time:

Death Is Nothing to Us

Lewis Lapham talks with Stephen Greenblatt, 2011 winner of the National Book Award in nonfiction.  More

April 17, 2017

The World in Time:

Andrew Bacevich

Lewis Lapham talks to Andrew J. Bacevich about America’s shift from the Cold War to war in the Middle East. More

Midwinter rural scene in far-west Texas. February 15, 2014. Carol M. Highsmith. The Library of Congress.

November 10, 2017

The World in Time:

Roger D. Hodge

Lewis H. Lapham talks with Roger D. Hodge, author of Texas Blood: Seven Generations Among the Outlaws, Ranchers, Indians, Missionaries, Soldiers, and Smugglers of the Borderlands. More

December 07, 2018

The World in Time:

Joseph J. Ellis

Lewis H. Lapham talks with Joseph J. Ellis, author of American Dialogue: The Founders and Us. More

September 15, 2011

The World in Time:

Green Mountain Boy

Willard Sterne Randall and Lewis Lapham talk about the life and adventures of Ethan Allen.  More

October 12, 2018

The World in Time:

Jill Lepore

Lewis H. Lapham talks with Jill Lepore, author of These Truths: A History of the United States. More