This is an 18th century novel and when it was written by this Frenchman Diderot one 1 in every Frenchwomen was a nun. Young, beautiful French girls were being sent to convents against their will for all sorts of reasons e. The country then remarkably had more nuns than monks: It would have been not much a problem had these nuns and monks been allowed to socialize or interact with each other but these were Catholic nuns and monks so celibacy and chastity were rigid rules--at least on paper. Through a character in the novel Diderot passionately lashes at this system, at these rash, forced and unnatural vows taken by these creatures of the flesh: Do all those doleful ceremonies that are performed at the taking of the habit and at the profession, when a man or woman is dedicated to the monastic life and to misfortune, actually suspend our animal instincts?
On the contrary, are not those very instincts stirred up in the silence, constraint, and idleness, and with a violence unknown to people in the world outside who are swept along by a host of distractions? Where does one see minds obsessed by impure visions which haunt them and torment them? Where does one see that profound boredom, that pallor, and those skeletal forms which are all symptoms of nature languishing and wasting away?
Where are the nights troubled by groans and days filled with tears shed needlessly and preceded by some mysterious melancholy? Where does nature, revolted by a constraint for which it is not intended, smash the obstacles put in its way, become enraged, and throw the whole animal system into incurable disarray? Where have spite and whim destroyed all social qualities? Where does man, considering himself but an ephemeral, transitory being, treat the sweetest relationships of this world with disinterest, as a traveller treats the things he comes across?
Where is the dwelling place of coercion, disgust, and hysteria? Where is the home of servitude and despotism? Where is undying hatred? Where are the passions nurtured in silence? Mother Superiors having orgasms while newly entered nuns, fresh and innocent, sat on their laps? Or one, after having touched and praised every part of a young nun's body, who would piously intone: All God's ways are just! View all 6 comments. Diderot, the philosopher who knows how to write: Suzanne was conceived outside marriage.
Her two half-sisters are well endowed for the wedding, not her. His mother forced him to pay his own "fault" by being religious all his life, she who wanted to be free. When making her wishes, her mother blackmails her, and in addition, Suzanne has a sadistic upper mother who does not even ask her opinion. This woman, afterwards, harasses her with bullying and lesbianism In add Diderot, the philosopher who knows how to write: In addition to being a thriller worthy of those of John Grisham will it escape?
Does a mother superior have the right to be mean, while "God is love"? Can we force someone into orders? Denis Diderot knows well the "milieu", he who almost became a priest. At the end of his life, in , after collaborating in the Encyclopedia, he wrote this violent book, probably remembering his youth and the life of his little sister Angelique, who died mad at the convent.
But he was wary of religious institutions, still very powerful in the eighteenth century, and left this writing without dissemination. The publication will be posthumous. The "Age of Enlightenment" and philosophers is an opening of thought. Open to Knowledge it's a co-birth, a second birth , and another vision of God and of Jesus. No, men have invented, artificially created orders and liturgy, to subdue the people to their will.
The "men of God" are as rotten as the others ". The awful death of the superior seems to be a sanction of God.
Le Monde reported the wording of the Minister's objections: Where does man, considering himself but an ephemeral, transitory being, treat the sweetest relationships of this world with disinterest, as a traveller treats the things he comes across? Suzanne completes her novitiate, but as a result of her rebelliousness is transferred to the convent at Longchamp. This article about an 18th century novel is a stub. And to think that this book started as a hoax on a good friend: Russell Goulbourne 's translation is clear and fluent, and the Oxford World's Classics edition has a great introduction with the original letters printed in the appendix. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.
Diderot finished The Nun in , but it wasn't published in book form until , twelve years after Diderot's death. What's interesting about this is that the novel is based on a practical joke played on the Marquis de Croismare. The Marquis had stayed in Normandy for several years, when one day he received a letter, where a young nun asked help after having escaped from a convent. This "nun" was actually Diderot and his friends. The story was believable, because the letter was based on Margue Diderot finished The Nun in , but it wasn't published in book form until , twelve years after Diderot's death.
The story was believable, because the letter was based on Marguerite Delamarre 's case, in which de Croismare had been involved details here. The joke failed, because the Marquis, instead of returning to Paris, offered the girl a sanctuary in Normandy, so naturally the girl had to be "killed". Surprisingly, after finding out the truth, the Marquis just laughed and didn't mind at all. Diderot then developed his novel from these letters. His sister went mad and died in a convent, and as one of the leading figures of the Enlightenment, a critic of religion, and a defender of women or at least he was aware that they were treated as children , Diderot's stance on the convent system doesn't come as a surprise.
Although, to be more specific, the novel deals with the practice of sending girls to convents against their will for various reasons Delamarre was three when she began her convent life.
Financial difficulties and too many mouths to feed? Off to the convent! Difficult to gather up a dowry, so that your daughter can't get married? In midth century every th Frenchwoman was a nun, and there were double as many convents and nuns 55 than monasteries and monks. Suzanne, the protagonist, is genuinely religious, but she doesn't have a calling to be a nun. Her parents force her into a convent, because she's a consequence from her mother's affair, so her step father's and mother's hate and guilt lead to Suzanne feeling like she has a duty to move away from her family's, especially her siblings' who worry about their inheritance, range of vision.
In short, she has way too much understanding toward her mother's situation. When Suzanne realizes the truth about convent life, it's already too late. She's forced to suffer from physical abuse and the childish bullying of the nuns and the Mother Superior. A Mother Superior, who brags about how she's able to turn the nuns into monsters at any given moment. It's distressing to read how Suzanne tries to escape her predicament by appealing to outsiders and by getting a lawyer, because the canon law had great weight in 18th century France.
An individual, especially a girl, had very little power to decide about their own life. In real cases, the lawyers who appealed on behalf of their clients, drew attention to the women's passiveness, childlikeness, and their inability to make decisions. One case had a monk, and he was described with the same terms, so that he appeared more feminine and pathetic.
The society simply considered those who wanted to get out of the convents hysterical and too keen on independence. The vow you made to God was binding, and if you tried to sever that tie, the society's family values were practically about to get destroyed Convents and Nuns in Eighteenth-century French Politics and Culture by Mita Choudhury. When Suzanne switches convents, her inexperience once again leads to trouble with the Mother Superior, but this time just causes confusion in the girl's naive mind.
Diderot addresses women's sexual frustration boldly but not scandalously, and Suzanne isn't unhappy because she lost her loved one, so The Nun isn't comparable to earlier semi-pornographic nun fantasies written by men. The Nun , however, is vastly different, because suicidal nuns who tear their hair and go mad mostly just make you sad. There are many similarities with Delamarre's story, but you can find out yourselves what kind of an ending Suzanne has.
So far probably the most accessible 18th century novel I've read, but still very thought-provoking and intelligent. Russell Goulbourne 's translation is clear and fluent, and the Oxford World's Classics edition has a great introduction with the original letters printed in the appendix.
Diderot's criticism of religion is sharp, but he avoids preaching, and instead focuses on Suzanne's thoughts and experiences. There were times when the story lagged quite a bit, because the plot is pretty nonexistent, but that's minor. So where's the harm in loving one another, in saying so and in showing it? Jul 01, Rebecca McNutt rated it really liked it Shelves: The Nun tells the story of a woman forced into convent life by her family. This classic book, set in France, gives readers an accurate, vivid and at times frightening glimpse of the past. The story of Denis Diderot 's The Nun started life as a practical joke on the Marquis whose name is mentioned in the first paragraph.
But the more that Diderot looked at it, the more he thought there was a good work of fiction there. It was rather shameful how young women were locked up in cloistered nunneries because 1 their families were poor and 2 the young women in question were not legitimate. Diderot's Sister Sainte-Suzanne is a case which could conceivably happen. Her second convent was The story of Denis Diderot 's The Nun started life as a practical joke on the Marquis whose name is mentioned in the first paragraph.
Her second convent was run by a sadist; and her third, by a lesbian.
Eventually Suzanne manages to escape, but the author deliberately leaves the ending open. Jan 16, Alex rated it really liked it Shelves: Doesn't get into the hot girl-on-girl action 'til like halfway through the book, and then it's super not hot. If you're looking for hot 18th-century girl on girl action, you gotta go with Fanny Hill. It's pleasant and enjoyable to read.
If you're only going to read one blasphemous 18th-century lit book this ear, it has to be The Monk, and you can put that on your movie posters. So, yeah, there you go. Better evil clergy in The Monk; better lesbian sex in Fanny Hill.
Jul 18, Dams Naima rated it really liked it. Sadisme, Saphisme, fanatisme religieux etc Peut-elle tracer votre destin? Dec 12, Jose Moa rated it really liked it Shelves: We have to see The Nun in its historical context in the Enlightement age,Denis Diderot a main autor in this time,a enciclopedist that as others put in question allstablished dogmas and ideas. The novel tell We have to see The Nun in its historical context in the Enlightement age,Denis Diderot a main autor in this time,a enciclopedist that as others put in question allstablished dogmas and ideas.
By all this, a scandalous novel till not long ago, and by obvious reasons only recently accesible in Spain as many others this could be matter for a whole book Published over two hundred years ago, I can only imagine what kind of uproar and scandal it must've caused, because it's still pretty caustic and racy, even by today's standards. Telling the sad story of a young woman forced into a convent, Diderot takes aim at organized religion and the social stigmas of his time.
The violence, both physical and emotional, is brutal. And Diderot doesn't shy away from frank depictions of lesbianism. While on the surface the book is certainly aiming to shock, the Published over two hundred years ago, I can only imagine what kind of uproar and scandal it must've caused, because it's still pretty caustic and racy, even by today's standards. While on the surface the book is certainly aiming to shock, there's a lot going on beneath the surface, particularly a strong, feminist polemic that was centuries ahead of its time.
Though certainly anti-religious, it's never anti-God, which I found refreshing. Yes, the ending does feel a bit rushed, and at times, the prose does get a bit dense. But it maintains strong momentum and characterization throughout. Von Trier's "Dancer in the Dark" came to mind a lot while reading this. I would definitely love to see what he could do with this material. Retrieved 28 February Women in Richardson and Diderot.
French Wikisource has original text related to this article: This article about an 18th century novel is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it. Further suggestions might be found on the article's talk page. In practical terms, it had done Rivette's career no harm at all.
Beauregard had been quick to trade on the film's notoriety and sold it to distributors from eight countries, so that " La Religieuse became [Rivette's] only solid financial success. So what, then, had the director been hoping to achieve by bringing La Religieuse to the screen? Rivette's involvement with La Religieuse began with work on a stage adaptation.
While he was still editing his first full-length film, Paris nous appartient [ Paris Belongs to Us ] , the director was approached by that film's co-screenwriter, his actor friend Jean Gruault, who had composed the draft of a stage play of Diderot's novel in hotel rooms while on a theatrical tour in Brussels and Switzerland. Since Rivette's various accounts of his own motives in tackling Diderot tend towards the gnomic, not to say cryptic, 21 it is Gruault's recent book of memoirs, Ce que dit l'autre [ What the Other One Says ], which offers the clearest and most substantial statement of what the filmmakers found appealing in La Religieuse.
A man who had spent the better part of three years of his youth in a seminary himself, Gruault introduces the possibility that he was working out some autobiographical themes in his screenplay, only to dismiss it. No, Gruault says, what really appealed to him was the chance to write dialogue rather more elegant and sparkling than the ponderous ruminations and sibylline apophthegms which had filled Paris nous appartient. Besides which, he continues, he found himself moved by the plight of a hunted, persecuted young woman who, rather than submitting passively to her fate, fights back with an energy which reminded him of Lillian Gish in Orphans of the Storm.
Gruault's completed play had its initial staging in by the Theatre Quotidien in Marseille, with Betty Schneider in the title role, and was a great success.
In later years, Rivette was diffident about this staging: Luckily, there was Anna Karina, who wanted to play the main part. She gave an interest to the play, which was otherwise quite unsuccessful. Critical response to the production appears to have been at best lukewarm, though Cahiers du Cinema was appropriately loyal: When he was interviewed in about the place of this film between its predecessor Paris nous appartient and its successor, L'amour fou , Rivette was modest and frank: He saw La Religieuse , he said: At first, I felt like doing it only as an adaptation, in order to get people to know the book; then there was directing the play, and I felt like filming the play and sometimes wanted to see passages of it become a film while still remaining within a theatrical performance.
I wanted to play on the fact that there were some very theatrical passages, which were intentionally played for a theatrical effect, and that sometimes it became more just physical actions and therefore became cinematic. Rivette's interest in bringing some of the qualities of the theatre to his film work was not, it should be stressed, an accidental byproduct of his brief career digression onto the stage. The theatre -- and, particularly, the process of staging -- was the ruling obsession of Rivette's early work.
Rivette's gargantuan, all but unseen film Out One: Noli Me Tangere and its slightly more available shortened four hours and twenty minutes version Out One: Spectre also depict, among various other matters, the efforts of two rival theatrical troupes as they prepare, but never stage, productions of Aeschylus's Prometheus and Seven Against Thebes.
In the light of this fascination, La Religieuse appears not so much a contradiction of Rivette's usual procedures as a logical complement to them. Where Paris nous appartient , L'Amour fou , and the Out One films show the process of bringing or failing to bring a play to the stage, La Religieuse displays the end product. In fact, Rivette goes out of his way to signal the theatricality of the enterprise: The film's first shot also drops a strong hint about the nature of what is to come. Rivette pans to the right over a seated gathering of spectators -- our on-screen surrogates -- before coming to rest on the image of Suzanne, dressed as a Bride of Christ, being led to her vows behind the grille which separates the sacred world from the profane.
Screaming "I have no vocation," she rebels, is dragged away howling, and the tragedy begins to unfold. The religious ceremony, in other words, is regarded as a species of staged performance. Rivette later revealed that he had wanted to sustain the analogy between ritual and performance throughout the film, but had been hampered by the production budget; above all, he regretted that "I couldn't show the ceremonies, the paraphernalia of the offices.
Well and good, and no doubt an accurate account of his aims and errors. But what is odd, almost bizarre about Rivette's repeated emphasis on the essential theatricality of the film is that it so blithely disregards all the qualities which made La Religieuse scandalous.
He never seems to have abandoned this puzzling reticence. When asked about his rea-sons for making the film, Rivette gave any number of different accounts, but the property common to all his responses is that they refer exclusively to formal ambitions: At one point, he suggested that "The original idea of La Religieuse was a play on words: The idea was that each shot had its own duration, its tempo, its 'color' that is, its tone , its intensity and its level of play.
Now, contradictory statements, to paraphrase Johnson's Imlac in Rasselas , cannot both be true, but they may both be honest, and when Rivette insists that he started La Religieuse with an idea about music, or with a pun, or with a desire to investigate theatricality, or with the ambition to imitate Mizoguchi or what have you, what he is presumably saying is that his mind was teeming with all sorts of ideas about his film, some of which found their way into the finished product, some of which became compromised en route, and some of which were simply forgotten or dropped.
But not once does he let slip any indiscretion about wanting to attack nuns. In fact, Rivette's words are so thoroughly sober in tone, so guilelessly unruffled by La Religieuse 's still very recent standing as the greatest popular scandal of French cultural life, that it is almost tempting to see him here as a hapless victim of other people's malign intentions -- as a sort of holy innocent, albeit a highly thoughtful innocent, who had simply stepped into a trap built for him by the Church and its fellow travelers.
Suzanne Simonin, c'est lui? In other words, perhaps the most baffling aspect of the affair of La Religieuse is the yawning gap between the way in which the film was conceived by its creators and that in which it was perceived by the pious. On the one side, we have Rivette and Gruault, the director wholly preoccupied with austere questions of cinematic form, the writer full of imaginative sympathy for Diderot's Lillian Gish-like heroine and her fight for freedom; on the other, the irate protestors and their belief that France was threatened by indecency, blasphemy, and sedition.
One need not be particularly soft on censorship matters to feel that the splenetic reaction was excessive, especially since it is by no means self-evident that either the novel or the film need be construed as even remotely irreligious. To make this point is not or not necessarily to play the rhetorical card which is often brought out when liberal secularists rush to defend works which have outraged the faithful, from Scorsese's Last Temptation of Christ to Rushdie's Satanic Verses -- that is, to argue, however implausibly, for the deep if paradoxical underlying piety of the offending piece.
This somewhat embarrassing ploy tends to satisfy neither the faithful who remain unconvinced nor the secularists who do not much care for questions of dogma. Still, the records imply -- more than imply -- that both Diderot and Rivette had quite other things on their minds than besmirching the good name of the Catholic Church.
It is an enlightening fact that the Church, though it certainly put many of Diderot's works on the Index of prohibited books side by side with the entire oeuvre of Voltaire, chose to let La Religieuse go free; that decision indicated greater powers of discrimination than the Index's tarnished reputation would suggest. By and large, modern critics seem to agree with the verdict of the novel's English translator, Leonard Tancock: The tone throughout is respectful of sincere religion.
The attack is against misconceived Christianity, applied by ignorant, warped and unnatural people in a social system where the civil law protects the persecutor and penalises the victim. Diderot does not seem to have pursued the religion of his fathers with great venom," and proposes that Diderot's "attitude to nuns is like his attitude to the blind: Thinking about monasteries and convents, he asks: What happens to normal human beings in such to him unnatural surroundings? The novel is like the account of a scientific experiment.
In so far as La Religieuse may legitimately be regarded as a satire -- and it remains debatable how much real crusading intent can be ascribed to a work deliberately kept private for so many years -- it is a satire on the ways in which human beings are driven to cruelty, fanaticism, and despair by their own institutions.
Rivette's private views on Christianity may come as a still greater surprise. Far from sharing the derisive or dismissive atheism of so many young intellectuals of his generation, he seems to have been a startlingly ardent believer, and his youthful critical writings bear witness to his wish to bear Christian witness. Take his extraordinary essay on Rosselini's film Voyage to Italy , a magnificent and anguished portrait of a marriage in crisis which ends, or appears to end, with the couple being reconciled by the action of Divine Grace.
A fig for the skeptics, the rational, the judicious; irony and sarcasm have had their day; now it is time to love the cinema so much that one has little taste left for what presently passes by that name, and wants to impose a more exacting image of it. There is not a single sequence in La Religieuse which suggests that Rivette had, a decade later, come to rue his fervent expressions of Catholic belief, or his hopes for the cinema he thought adumbrated in Rosselini's great film.
As in the novel, the genuinely pious characters of Rivette's work are treated with due respect, and Suzanne's own yearnings towards the comforts of faith -- her prayers and claspings of the cross -- are never made to seem hypocritical, hysterical, or grotesque. To an agnostic viewer, the film will appear either to be dispassionately neutral towards Christian faith or, possibly, to be exercised with distinctions between sincere religion and the corrupt exploitation of religious institutions by their senior members. It will also -- recall the words of Gruault's memoir and Godard's protest to Malraux -- appear to be a film greatly preoccupied with the question of freedom, and not only the freedom of the cloistered.
With the hindsight of three decades, it becomes clearer than ever that those who opposed La Religieuse were frequently objecting not so much to any particular repugnant aspect of the film -- loyal as it demonstrably was to Diderot's readily available novel -- as to its having been made as a film at all.
The wording of Bourges's original complaint repays attention: All highly dubious assumptions, all ripe for vigorous rebuttal; and yet the young Rivette who said that the cinema is "necessarily fascination and rape" was conceding that the powers of his adopted medium are indeed peculiarly overwhelming.
To take this article of faith as seriously as Rivette did may involve the surrender of at least one patch of the moral high ground to those driven by the urge to keep cinema safely under wraps.
In short, at a deeper, quieter level than the rowdy to-and-fro of public debate, Rivette and his censors were in a surprising degree of accord. To be sure, the affair of La Religieuse was, like the Chatterley trial and other highly publicized censorship cases, something of a media circus and a five minutes' wonder, but -- again, like other such cases -- it also touched on issues of policy and aesthetics which have yet to be settled at all satisfactorily.
The fight to free La Religieuse can easily be presented as nothing more than an all-too-familiar conflict between faith and secularism, conservatives and progressives, censors and libertarians. In another light, though, while it was indeed a battle over issues of faith, the contesting beliefs were not only those of Christianity and Enlightenment humanism. They included the convictions held by those puritans who instinctively dread the power of moving images to stir unruly emotions, and those held by all the filmmakers and viewers who are -- at least at times -- willing to invoke and relish that potentially hazardous power.
On all these grounds, we firmly protest against this project -- however advanced that it may be in its realization -- and we urgently appeal for the total banning of its projection. Blind man that I was!
Lettres de la religieuse portugaise: Lettres portugaises (GF) (French Edition) eBook: Gabriel de Guilleragues: uzotoqadoh.tk: Kindle Store. Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Voltaire (Francois-Marie Arouet) ( ) was one of the key thinkers of the European Enlightenment. Of his many.