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Blindness and Enlightenment: An Essay: With a new translation of Diderot's 'Letter on the Blind' and La Mothe Le Vayer's 'Of a Man Born Blind' Paperback – August 18, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1441119322 ISBN-10: 1441119329 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Diderot's study of cognitive deprivation as a way of understanding cognition itself is one of the most innovative moves in a century of intellectual innovation. Kate Tunstall's brilliant new translation and edition, accompanied by a lucid, witty and incisive essay that initiates the reader admirably into the complex problems raised by the Letter, will be a major resource for anyone wishing to understand core issues in the Enlightenment." - Terence Cave, Emeritus Research Fellow, St John's College, University of Oxford, UK



"Diderot's Lettre sur les aveugles is one of the strangest and most powerful texts of the Enlightenment, an apparently rambling and jokey discussion of an abstruse philosophical problem, which culminates in a disturbing vision of a godless universe. Kate Tunstall's highly original and beautifully-written analysis is an outstanding treatment of its complexities, ironies, and anomalies, offering a much enriched understanding of the context in which it was produced and of its complex relations with a host of philosophical and literary texts." — Michael Moriarty, Professor of French Literature and Thought, Queen Mary, University of London, UK



"Kate Tunstall's precise new translations of Denis Diderot's Lettre sur les aveugles and François de La Mothe Le Vayer's 'D'un aveugle-né' are most welcome resources for the Enlightenment scholar and teacher. Her introductory essay will prove to be even more useful, as it elegantly situates one of the most peculiar yet important of Diderot's early epistemological reflections in the complex of Enlightenment intellectual, theological and medical concepts that furnished its meaning and urgency for Diderot's contemporaries. Under Kate Tunstall's erudite treatment, the allusions, the ironies, the seeming confusion and the politically unsayable resolve into remarkable clarity. Just as importantly, Tunstall's own exposition is elegantly witty and delightfully playful, so we not only comprehend intellectually why this most disconcerting of Diderotian performances was scandalous. In her stylistic evocation of Diderot's voice, Kate Tunstall provides her modern audience with a readerly experience closer to that of Diderot's contemporaries so that we feel as a result something too often lost in this pragmatic age: how much of Diderot's—or any major author's—message depends on a deeply literary culture. A work to be enjoyed on many levels, this book should be on every Enlightenment lover's bookshelf." — Wilda Anderson, Professor of French, The John Hopkins University, USA


"Diderot’s study of cognitive deprivation as a way of understanding cognition itself is one of the most innovative moves in a century of intellectual innovation. Kate Tunstall’s brilliant new translation and edition, accompanied by a lucid, witty and incisive essay that initiates the reader admirably into the complex problems raised by the Letter, will be a major resource for anyone wishing to understand core issues in the Enlightenment." - Terence Cave, Emeritus Research Fellow, St John's College, University of Oxford, UK



“Diderot's Lettre sur les aveugles is one of the strangest and most powerful texts of the Enlightenment, an apparently rambling and jokey discussion of an abstruse philosophical problem, which culminates in a disturbing vision of a godless universe. Kate Tunstall's highly original and beautifully-written analysis is an outstanding treatment of its complexities, ironies, and anomalies, offering a much enriched understanding of the context in which it was produced and of its complex relations with a host of philosophical and literary texts.” — Michael Moriarty, Professor of French Literature and Thought, Queen Mary, University of London, UK



“Kate Tunstall's precise new translations of Denis Diderot's Lettre sur les aveugles and François de La Mothe Le Vayer's 'D'un aveugle-né’ are most welcome resources for the Enlightenment scholar and teacher. Her introductory essay will prove to be even more useful, as it elegantly situates one of the most peculiar yet important of Diderot's early epistemological reflections in the complex of Enlightenment intellectual, theological and medical concepts that furnished its meaning and urgency for Diderot's contemporaries. Under Kate Tunstall's erudite treatment, the allusions, the ironies, the seeming confusion and the politically unsayable resolve into remarkable clarity. Just as importantly, Tunstall's own exposition is elegantly witty and delightfully playful, so we not only comprehend intellectually why this most disconcerting of Diderotian performances was scandalous. In her stylistic evocation of Diderot's voice, Kate Tunstall provides her modern audience with a readerly experience closer to that of Diderot's contemporaries so that we feel as a result something too often lost in this pragmatic age: how much of Diderot's—or any major author's—message depends on a deeply literary culture. A work to be enjoyed on many levels, this book should be on every Enlightenment lover's bookshelf.” — Wilda Anderson, Professor of French, The John Hopkins University, USA

About the Author

Kate E. Tunstall is University Lecturer in French at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Worcester College. She is Programme Director of Oxford's Besterman Centre for the Enlightenment, a Director of the Oxford Amnesty Lectures, and she co-authored and co-presented (with Caroline Warman) a series of BBC radio programmes on Diderot.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; 1 edition (August 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441119329
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441119322
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #758,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Oberg Andrew on December 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although this book's audience has likely been a largely academic one so far, it deserves to be more widely read. Tunstall's opening essay, which takes up most of the book, is thought-provoking, insightful, entertaining, and entirely readable. Her translations are lucid and nuanced, and readers familiar with the original works will enjoy seeing them placed within the text here rather than in lengthy endnotes or appendices. Those interested in philosophy, creative writing, literature, or history will find Tunstall's work well worth their time.
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Blindness and Enlightenment: An Essay: With a new translation of Diderot's 'Letter on the Blind' and La Mothe Le Vayer's 'Of a Man Born Blind'
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