Libertine novel

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The libertine novel was an 18th-century literary genre of which the roots lay in the European but mainly French libertine tradition. The genre effectively ended with the French Revolution. Themes of libertine novels were anti-clericalism, anti-establishment and eroticism.

Authors include Cyrano de Bergerac (L’Autre monde ou les états et empires de la Lune, 1657) ,[1] Claude Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon (Les Égarements du cœur et de l'esprit, 1736; Le Sopha, conte moral, 1742), Denis Diderot (Les bijoux indiscrets, 1748), Marquis de Sade (L'Histoire de Juliette, 1797-1801), Choderlos de Laclos (Les Liaisons dangereuses, 1782).

Other famous titles are Histoire de Dom Bougre, Portier des Chartreux (1741) and Thérèse Philosophe (1748).

Precursors to the libertine writers were Théophile de Viau (1590-1626) and Charles de Saint-Evremond (1610-1703), who were inspired by Epicurus and the publication of Petronius, and John Wilmot (Sodom, or the Quintessence of Debauchery, 1684). .

Robert Darnton is a cultural historian who has covered this genre extensively.

English translations[edit]

In alphabetical order by author's last name:

  • Argens, Marquis d’ (2020). Thérèse Finds Happiness (aka Therese The Philosopher). New Urge Editions/Black Scat Books. ISBN 9781734816631.

Further reading[edit]

In alphabetical order by last name:

  • DeJean, Joan (1981). Libertine Strategies: Freedom and the Novel in Seventeenth-Century France. Ohio State University Press. ISBN 9780814203255.
  • Hölzle, Dominique (2012). Le Roman libertin au XVIIIe siècle: une esthétique de la séduction [The Libertine Novel of the 18th Century: An Esthetic of Seduction] (in French). Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780729410458.