Monday, 16 November 2015


Upon reflection, shoving the consciousness of Diderot inside a robot wasn't the best of all possible decisions. Apart from its habit of accosting priests and rabbis and asking which religion they reckon is second best, Diderot had a few problems with being a disembodied intellect plugged into a CP-30 lookalike.

'How am I supposed to commune with nature?' he grumbled. 'I don't think that Goethe would have written Faust if he'd had metal hands and a slightly camp posture. Part of being a philosopher is to actively engage with human life - it's the philosopher who tells the judge what justice is, you know. I can't do that if I am bumbling about with a Dusty Bin cos-player.

'Bep-doop - beeeeep,' added Voltaire. 

'That is not the point,' I told him. 'We built you because, frankly, we've got a few questions about your theories on theatre. Specifically, some of the things you said in Enretiens sur le Fils Naturel.'

Turning to R2-D2, Diderot exclaimed: 'O you who still possess all the fire of genius! You would write this new genre for us, the bourgeois and domestic tragedy!' Then he turned his head quizzically. 'Will this do?'

'No,' I growled. 'I want to know what that jibber-jabber about the artist was all about. You have Dorval, the main character in that Bastard play, describe the artist in romantic terms, mincing about the countryside and being wild and sensitive. It's a pretty early - about 1757 - depiction of a romantic artist, a depiction that started getting popular around 50 years later.'

'It reflects the rise of the bourgeois, and the need to compartmentalise the artist. That is to say, a new dramatic form is needed... for the entrepreneur, the rising classes excluded by aristocratic rule.'

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