Magazine
Latest Issue

When Diderot met Catherine

The philosopher felt let down by the enlightened despot

By Ada Bronowski   April 2019
Catherine the Great: lover of philosophy, oppressor of serfs. By Fedor Rokotov © Wikimedia commons

Catherine the Great: lover of philosophy, oppressor of serfs. By Fedor Rokotov © Wikimedia commons

In this riveting book—part biography, part historical fiction, part philosophical commentary—Robert Zaretsky brings to light the historic encounter between the great 18th-century French philosopher Denis Diderot and the empress of Russia, Catherine the Great. The meeting promised an effusion of friendship, visionary policy-making and historic new directions for an enlightened Russian nation; in reality, it ended in the proverbial…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect