Dedicated to classics and hits.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


The Nun
by Denis Diderot
published in 1780
Penguin Classics edition published 1972
Translation and Notes by Leonard Tancock

                  I'm down to the BOTTOM FIVE of the 1700s portion of the 2006 edition of 1001 Books To Read Before You Die. That five includes this book, Confessions, Revories of a Solitary Walker and Julie or The New Heloise all by Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Justine by Marquis De Sade. I actually bought this edition of The Nun after learning that it would cost me just as much to buy the one cent physical copy used as the digital edition. If that's the case- meaning the digital copy is more then four books at a minimum- I'll go with a physical book.

           Denis Diderot is one of the three main figures of the French Enlighenement, along with Voltaire and Rousseau. All three are represented on the 1001 Books To Read Before You Die list, but none of their books are what I would call "fun" unless you are a philosophy student, in which case their fiction is more fun than their philosophy. The Nun is stylisticly closed to being a modern Novel, in that it is the purported autobiography of a Nun. Compared to other Novels written around the same time, The Nun has a bracing pace and command of technique and art that surpasses his contemporaries. It's also more then a little bit naughty, since the second episode of The Nun concerns the attempted seduction of the titular Nun by the Mother Supieror of her convent.

            Coming in at a brisk 180 pages, The Nun is an easy read and might well provide some sort of spark of inspiration in a modern reader- 18th century French Nuns? That shit is hot.

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