The function of the dream and the body in Diderot's works


The function of the dream and the body in Diderot's works

Jennifer Vanderheyden

(The age of revolution and romanticism : interdisciplinary studies / Gita May, general editor, v. 31)

P. Lang, c2004

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Based on the author's thesis (Ph. D.--University of Washington, 1999) presented under the title: Halfway to empathy: the painted body as a disjunctive syllogism in the works of Diderot

Includes bibliographical references (p. [151]-159) and index

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In addition to his philosophical works and innovative novels, the eighteenth-century writer Denis Diderot is most often recognized as one of the major authors of the Encyclopedie. Described by scholars as a modern and provocative thinker and writer, Diderot inspired intellectual discussion with his theories of artistic mimesis, in which he placed special emphasis on what is not stated in words, but is conveyed through gestures and other non-verbal methods of communication. This book explores Diderot's representation of the body as a tableau vivant - a literary painting in which the narrator portrays his characters as if suspended in a state of oscillation between pralysis and movement. The Function of the Dream and the Body in Diderot's Works discusses how Diderot's depiction of the body poses problems of interpretation for the serious reader/spectator, who, as in Freudian dream analysis, must generate a narrative based on a visual painting of the body's silent speech.

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