In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: Diderot (Dennis Diderot)

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Undated

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00175

Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Transcribed from digital images of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the marginalia and annotations, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: This note may date from around 1856, when Whitman lived on Classon Avenue.

Contributors to digital file: Lauren Grewe, Nicole Gray, Ty Alyea, and Matt Cohen

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Diderot (Dennis Diderot)

1713–1784 (71 years)

His father a cutler, good man—mother also good

D. educated well by the Jesuits.

Came to Paris a young man—lived ten years a loafer, a rascal, a literary hack

Emerged by degrees—is the back‑bone and brain of the French Encyclopoedia

(The Enc. was some years (12, 16, or 20) in being finished.)

Diderot was befriended by the Russian Empress Catherine—she gave him £3000.

It is said of him that he had the most encyclopoedical head ever in the world, and was a most superb talker.

Diderot with his mouth of gold

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Walter Whitman

Classon Avenue

near Myrtle Av



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