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The relationship was based on romantic love, but the marriage was not a happy one owing to incompatible interests.

The bond held, however, partly through a common affection for their daughter, Angélique, sole survivor of three children, who was born in 1753 and whom Diderot eventually married to Albert de Vandeul, a man of some standing at Langres.

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In 1755 he met Sophie Volland, with whom he formed an attachment that was to last more than 20 years.

The liaison was founded on common interests, natural sympathy, and a deepening friendship.

His correspondence with Sophie, together with his other letters, forms one of the most fascinating documents on Diderot’s personality, enthusiasms, and ideas and on the intellectual society of Louise d’Épinay, F. Grimm, the Baron d’Holbach, Ferdinando Galiani, and other deistic writers and thinkers ( as coeditor but soon profoundly changed the nature of the publication, broadening its scope and turning it into an important organ of radical and revolutionary opinion.

He gathered around him a team of dedicated litterateurs, scientists, and even priests, many of whom, as yet unknown, were to make their mark in later life.

Diderot was the son of a widely respected master cutler.

Last modified 05-Sep-2016 03:53