Denis Diderot

(1713-1784 / Langres)

Denis Diderot Quotes

  • ''The general interest of the masses might take the place of the insight of genius if it were allowed freedom of action.''
    Denis Diderot (1713-1784), French philosopher. repr. In Selected Writings, ed. Lester G. Crocker (1966). Observations on the Drawing Up of Laws (1921). Written 1774 for Catherine the Great.
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  • ''The pit of a theatre is the one place where the tears of virtuous and wicked men alike are mingled.''
    Denis Diderot (1713-1784), French philosopher. repr. In Selected Writings, ed. Lester G. Crocker (1966). On Dramatic Poetry (1758).
  • ''Genius is present in every age, but the men carrying it within them remain benumbed unless extraordinary events occur to heat up and melt the mass so that it flows forth.''
    Denis Diderot (1713-1784), French philosopher. repr. In Selected Writings, ed. Lester G. Crocker (1966). On Dramatic Poetry (1758).
  • ''Shakespeare's fault is not the greatest into which a poet may fall. It merely indicates a deficiency of taste.''
    Denis Diderot (1713-1784), French philosopher. repr. In Selected Writings, ed. Lester G. Crocker (1966). On Dramatic Poetry (1758).
  • ''Poetry must have something in it that is barbaric, vast and wild.''
    Denis Diderot (1713-1784), French philosopher. repr. In Selected Writings, ed. Lester G. Crocker (1966). On Dramatic Poetry (1758).
  • ''It is not human nature we should accuse but the despicable conventions that pervert it.''
    Denis Diderot (1713-1784), French philosopher. On Dramatic Poetry (1758). repr. In Selected Writings, ed. Lester G. Crocker (1966).
  • ''In order to shake a hypothesis, it is sometimes not necessary to do anything more than push it as far as it will go.''
    Denis Diderot (1713-1784), French philosopher. repr. In Selected Writings, ed. Lester G. Crocker (1966). On the Interpretation of Nature, no. 50 (1753).
  • ''Are we not madder than those first inhabitants of the plain of Sennar? We know that the distance separating the earth from the sky is infinite, and yet we do not stop building our tower.''
    Denis Diderot (1713-1784), French philosopher. repr. In Selected Writings, ed. Lester G. Crocker (1966). On the Interpretation of Nature, ch. 4 (1753).
  • ''There is no kind of harassment that a man may not inflict on a woman with impunity in civilized societies.''
    Denis Diderot (1713-1784), French philosopher. repr. In Selected Writings, ed. Lester G. Crocker (1966). On Women (1772).
  • ''I have often seen an actor laugh off the stage, but I don't remember ever having seen one weep.''
    Denis Diderot (1713-1784), French philosopher. repr. In Selected Writings, ed. Lester G. Crocker (1966). Paradox on Acting (first published 1830).

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