Rameau's Nephew / D'alembert's Dream

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Penguin Books Limited, Jul 29, 1976 - Fiction - 237 pages
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One of the key figures of the French Enlightenment, Denis Diderot was a passionate critic of conventional morality, society and religion. Among his greatest and most well-known works, these two dialogues are dazzling examples of his radical scientific and philosophical beliefs. In Rameau’s Nephew, the eccentric and foolish nephew of the great composer Jean-Philippe Rameau meets Diderot by chance, and the two embark on a hilarious consideration of society, music, literature, politics, morality and philosophy. Its companion-piece, D’Alembert’s Dream, outlines a material, atheistic view of the universe, expressed through the fevered dreams of Diderot’s friend D’Alembert. Unpublished during his lifetime, both of these powerfully controversial works show Diderot to be one of the most advanced thinkers of his age, and serve as fascinating testament to the philosopher’s wayward genius.

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Review: Rameau's Nephew / d'Alembert's Dream

User Review  - Elizabeth Moffat - Goodreads

I wasn't sure what I was going to make of this book but I found parts of it incredibly interesting, particularly the more philosphical statements. The rest of it however, just wasn't my bag, but I can understand why others would enjoy it. Read full review

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About the author (1976)

Denis Diderot was born at Langres in eastern France in 1713, the son of a master cutler. He was originally destined for the Church but rebelled and persuaded his father to allow him to complete his education in Paris, where he graduated in 1732. For ten years Diderot was nominally a law student, but actually led a precarious bohemian but studious existence, eked out with tutoring, hack-writing and translating. His original writing began in 1746 with a number of scientific works setting out the materialist philosophy which he was to hold throughout his life. Along with his editorship of the Encyclopedie (1747-73), he wrote works on mathematics, medicine, the life sciences, economics, drama and painting, two plays and a novel, as well as his Salons (1759-81). His political writings were mainly composed around 1774 for Catherine II, at whose invitation he went to St. Petersburg. Diderot's astonishingly wide range of interests, together with his growing prediliction for the dialogue form, led to the production of his most famous works: D'Alembert's Dream, The Paradox of the Actor, Jacques the Fatalist and Rameau's Nephew. During the latter part of his life Diderot received a generous pension from Catherine II, in return for which he bequeathed her his library and manuscripts. He died in 1784.

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