Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Paris. France’s capital city was the center of all the nation’s social and intellectual activity in the eighteenth century. Paris was also where Diderot spent the majority of his working life. Throughout his novel, Diderot mentions familiar places in Paris—places that he and his friends and acquaintances frequented. Diderot wrote Rameau’s Nephew not for publication, but rather for his own use and to share with a few close friends. For this reason, the Paris in which his book is set is the Paris that he experienced and shared with his friends. For example, he provides very realistic details about the Palais Royal gardens in which he often walked and relaxed on evenings when the weather was fine. He even mentions the banc d’Argenson, an actual bench located in the Allée d’Argenson where he often sat.

*Café de la Régence

*Café de la Régence (kah-fay deh lah ray-gahns). Café located in the Palais Royal Square that Diderot frequented when the weather was bad. This café was renowned for the men who played chess there, and Diderot was often among the spectators. The café serves as a catalyst to the novel’s action, for it is at the café that Diderot encounters Rameau’s nephew, Jean-François Rameau, the “He” of the dialogue (to Diderot’s “Myself”).

Parisian homes

Parisian homes. Rameau’s nephew finds sustenance in the fine homes of the...

(The entire section is 431 words.)