The Polish Contexts of the Philosophical Diderot`s Miniature

Marian Skrzypek

In November 1768 Kazimierz Adam Czartoryski visited Diderot in his house. Mrs  Geoffrin gave him a smart dressing-gown to make Diderot look noble. According to an aesthetic theory that a part of a picture must harmonize with every other to form a whole, Diderot was obliged to change the modest design of his house to make it match the dressing-gown. He soon claimed that his old dressing-gown was his complaisant friend whereas the new one a despotic master. As a result of this event, Diderot engages in philosophical deliberation about the dialectics of a master and a slave and fetishizing the household articles. The deliberation is included in his philosophical miniature which was written after Czartoryski’s visit: „Les regrets sur ma vieille robe de chambre”. In this work Diderot criticizes luxury and a lust for riches: „poverty gives freedom, wealth restricts”. Wealth is a courtesan, Lais, who must be possessed before it possesses you.

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Keywords: Diderot · Czartoryski · Enlightenment · dressing-gown

Marian Skrzypek — Professor emeritus at IFiS PAN. Romanist and historian of philosophy and religion. He specialized in the Enlightenment Thought, chiefly French and Polish. Author of the monographs on Diderot, Holbach, Maréchal; he also translated their works into Polish. He wrote: French Enlightenment and rudiments of religious studies (1989); he also published within the book series „700 years of Polish thought” a volume regarding Polish philosophy between 1700 — 1763. Laureate of the French Academic Palms.   »  

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