Denis Diderot   “This Is Not a Story” & Other Stories.
Translated from the French, with an introduction, by P.N. Furbank.
University of Missouri Press, 166 pages, $27.50

reviewed by Renee Winegarten

Why has this particular moment been chosen to publish in translation five short tales by Denis Diderot, perhaps the most encyclopedic of eighteenth-century French philosophes? Journalist, social reformer, pioneer dramatist and original art critic, experimental writer of fiction—to name but a few of the spheres that attracted his endless curiosity and his open, probing intelligence —Diderot can certainly appear as a charmer. We have only to read his fond farewell to his old dressing gown (charitably replaced along with other outworn belongings by the wealthy salon hostess Madame Geoffrin) to be seduced by his wit and amiability. Doubtless, his short stories are not as well...

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