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Title : Manon Lescaut
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ISBN : 18925136
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 184 Pages
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Manon Lescaut Reviews

  • Dolors
    2019-01-26 09:39

    Manon Lescaut is a deceptive novel in multiple ways.It could be easily labeled as a classic, picturesque short tale of a doomed love affair between a noble young man, Chevalier des Grieux, and a beautiful maiden from a lower breed, set in the Paris of The Régence, a convulsive era where class structures and ancient regime ruled the world. Told from the male lover point of view in a fast-paced, flowing narrative, the reader is presented with the irrevocable passion, almost obsession des Grieux is consumed with when he first sets his eyes on Manon, a fatal moment which will make his inner peace crumble down and bring him to perform all sort of dubious acts, even to commit murder, to keep his beloved with him.Des Grieux constructs his own story in retrospection, using a nameless narrator who crosses paths with him almost at the end of his misadventures, giving this way a foreboding tone to the story. "Love has made me too soft, too passionate, too faithful and perhaps over-indulgent of the desires of a most charming woman; and that is the sum of my crimes" says des Grieux, talking about his beloved Manon, the temptress, and the one to blame for his forthcoming misdeeds.The fact that we only get to hear Manon’s voice throughout des Grieux’s account leaves the reader completely blind about her character, devoid of her motivations or her true feelings. Des Grieux describes her as a fickle, capricious creature prone to take other lovers in order to live lavishly. So Manon appears as a cold, calculating character, becoming a sort of desirable object to possess, an object des Grieux rightfully believes to belong to him. But still, in the rare passages where Manon can voice her quiescent values, we can envisage a strong spirit who keeps defying des Grieux’s views with her struggles to remain her own mistress. Couldn’t it be that in challenging him to broaden his conservative views about relationships, Manon would also be challenging the imposed gender politics of the time? In any case, the driven plot of the story takes sweet revenge separating the lovers again and again in myriad forms: family, legal authority and the gulf between social classes keep preventing them from being together until they receive the ultimate punishment in being exiled to the colonies in New Orleans, where against all odds and once set free of the French, rotten social pressures, the idea of a simple, bare existence in a new world impregnates them with a wish to live at peace with rekindled values of virtue and morality, flirting even with an improbable happy ending, which makes the final twist in the story even more brusque and cruel than expected.As I stated at the beginning of this rambling review, this self-righteous account, this seemingly lineal plot and simple, direct style can be misleading. My first instinctive reaction to the story was to doubt the veracity of des Grieux’s biased tale for he is a flawed hero and unreliable narrator. His constant search for self-excuse, his vain urge in blaming others for his own acts, his theatrical, almost parodic explosion of emotive outbursts and his unremorseful confession of using them to take advantage of others made it very difficult to empathize with him. But what most struck me when trying to add perspective into the story was the shameful realization that my dislike for des Grieux came from recognition, as his futile attempts at trying to hold on to Manon revealed the universal impossibility of a mutual understanding, the hopelessness of a complete possession of the other.No simple tale then, but a novel which oozes with the complexity of human relationships and the tragic consequences of trying to cross the barrier of subjectivity in appealing to raw emotions, as one can’t disengage from individual consciousness , however much we try."What fatal power had dragged me down to crime? How came it that love, an innocent passion, had turned for me into the source of all misery and vice" wonders a despairing des Grieux.Exalted existential questions about the tragic consequences of being in love, as being infected by an incurable disease, which robs us of our former selves, blinding us with passion, making it difficult to find our place in a material world where authority and order prevail over emotions.And in this sense, I’d say that Manon Lescaut is a disruptive novel because in giving free expression to des Grieux’s feelings, even if charged with subjectivity, Prévost is encouraging us to reach our own truths through language, although he also whispers a warning, reminding us that our own reached reality might be easily misunderstood by those we love the most and by the world we live in.

  • Edward
    2019-02-16 04:43

    IntroductionNote on the TextNote on the IllustrationsSelect BibliographyA Chronology of the Abbé Prévost--Manon LescautExplanatory Notes

  • Nathan
    2019-02-06 08:19

    This is a novel that puts me in the not completely unfamiliar position of attempting to balance my extreme distaste for the narrator - and even for his story - against my admiration for the way the story is told. Let's get the aggravations out of the way: objections so strong, they caused me to put this relatively short novel down twice before I finally finished it.The Chevalier de Grieux is nothing short of an idiot. A young man from a wealthy family, he falls in rapturous love with a lower class waif, Manon, and proceeds to squander his fortune, his education, his career, and his principles for her. Which is bad enough, but the net result is that he squanders HER, too - his inept actions put her in greater and greater jeopardy, until he has no choice but to follow her to the penal colony of New Orleans, (view spoiler)[ where his final set of bad choices ultimately cost her her life.(hide spoiler)]And Manon is bringing little or nothing to the table. Aside from her apparently ravishing looks and ability to cry on command, it's difficult to understand why anyone would devote himself to her. She's easily distracted by other lovers, only seems genuinely interested in the Chevalier when he has large quantities of money to spend on her, and at several points seems completely ready to throw him over for a wealthier suitor, until he bumbles in with another disastrous rescue attempt and she has no choice but to throw her lot in with him again.The part that brought my irritation to a full boil was the very end. (view spoiler)[ The Chevalier has spent the book insisting that he would prefer to die than to lose Manon. On several occasions when Manon appears to be lost for good, he seriously considers suicide as the preferable alternative to life without her. Which would be at least vaguely romantic, I suppose. But after he has dragged Manon into the wilderness of Lousiana, causing her to die from some combination of exhaustion and exposure, does he immolate himself on her pyre? Does he run himself through to mingle his blood with hers? Does he blow out his brains in hope of joining her in the idiot's lounge in heaven? No. He goes home to France. End of story. Seriously. The book practically ends with, "So I made my way back to France, to see where life would take me next."There's that Alanis Morissette lyric that reminds her ex-lover that he told her he'd hold her until he died, so now their love is over, why is he still alive? That's the question I would ask the Chevalier, who is exposed in the end, by his own admission, as a melodramatic twit for whom Manon was the world... until she wasn't.(hide spoiler)]I almost believe Abbe Prevost wrote the story as an endurance read, to see if anyone would care to stick with these two repulsive people until the end, though from what I understand, the novel received quite a different response in 1731 - it was found to be salacious, ribald, and titillating enough to be banned, likely because the two leads never get married, and Manon engages in a number of sexual liaisons to raise funds over the course of this steeplechase.So why bother, then? Why see this novel through? Because there is a quality in the narration that makes it difficult to believe this writing dates to the eighteenth century. There is an almost relentless immediacy in the way it is told, even though the entire story is a long flashback. We are shackled to the Chevalier's side, almost in real time, and he drags us through his desperate story, daring us to question his obviously questionable judgment. In short, it is because of the richness of the Chevalier's monologue that I can hate him as rabidly as I do. It is because of the relentlessness of his self-inflicted misadventures that I can be so provoked by them.Even though the modern romance novel is in many ways the mirror opposite of Manon Lescaut, it is a direct descendant of this novel - in which romantic love no longer inspires noble gestures, but pratfalls and reversals of fortune, and in which passion translates not into gallantry but impetuousness and self-sabotage. The Chevalier is the anti-hero, the Don Quixote, and if only Manon were his unseen, unharmed Dulcinea - instead she bears the full brunt of all his windmill-tilting.There is a reason to read Manon Lescaut - it is a key link between Cervantes and later writers like Alexandre Dumas. It is with that perspective that I would recommend approaching this text.

  • knig
    2019-02-13 04:22

    Manon Lescaut is a slut. A priestess of the highest order: and, made to order. Its hard to know if she is real, or the uber male fantasy wet dream, she juxtastruts about so: think John Cage 4.33.Its the Chevalier whose lament we witness. Not in the ordinary-esque tableau. Which latter didacts a scene like this:[image error]And this:Notice the lamented: stone inarticulate. Dodo-ed out. Now, where is the fun in that? Prevost, see, anticipated Indecent Proposalin 1731 and had the decency to be indecent, which If you have a handsome, monied, upper class but not uppity, suave but not swine-y, witty not wily, besotted but not beguiled, generous but not geriatric, brainy but not bovine, in short a beau who does not blight, and he offers you ‘the whole wide world in your hand’, are you (Manon) going to say no, or spread your legs and think of England? Especially if it means keeping your true love (Chevalier) on the side, and in the style YOU are accustomed to? Which is what Manon doeth. Does. Repeatedly. What does the Chevalier do? Well, whine like a little bitch. (the usual: his heart is broken, the infidelity is killing him. Oh, OK lets do it one more time then. Three times over, in fact. ) Why three times? Because the cock crows three times silly. You can’t read 18c without some Bible under your belt. Heck, you can’t read this if you ARE in the Bible Belt. God will smite you. But rest assured: sluttery gets slated. Now I don’t think I’m letting slip any spoilers here: we all know that all women who have sex outside the marriage bed die a horrible death just before the mid 20c. Madame Bovary: dead. Therese Raquine: dead. Anna Karenina: even deader. Catherine Linton: dead as the dodo (mind, she only thought about sex: off with her head). La boile suife: ok maybe not dead, but bet she wished she was. Or might as well be. (in fact, maybe she DID die by end of journey). A lot of dead-i-ness going about, see?What then is the Chevalier doing, whilst Manon is putting about for his 401K and edging towards decided deadness? Well, he is...pontificating. And credit to him: he is trying to put paid all kinds of classical rhetorical oratorical methods, Ciceronian and others, in justifying an ideal (ised) love which ‘bends not with the remover to remove’ (and who wants to remove a plethora of ducats), and failing miserably, and pre-empting scores of texture-laden sound bytes from all kindsof bildungrommen (not) and maybe my favourite Nathaniel West And surviving the debauchery, because, he is....a man. And, well, men. You just have to let men play with their toys, right? Ummm. Jean Rhys? Please. Can you Saragossa this one? Any way you can? Posthumously is OK.

  • ·Karen·
    2019-02-14 07:17

    My love is as a fever longing still,For that which longer nurseth the disease;Feeding on that which doth preserve the ill,The uncertain sickly appetite to please.My reason, the physician to my love,Angry that his prescriptions are not kept,Hath left me, and I desperate now approveDesire is death, which physic did except.Past cure I am, now Reason is past care,And frantic-mad with evermore unrest;My thoughts and my discourse as madmen's are,At random from the truth vainly expressed; For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright, Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.William Shakespeare: Sonnet 147Shakespeare's notorious Dark Lady, black as hell, dark as night; she was no more faithful to the poet than Manon is to her lover, des Grieux. Men complaining of women who feel they have every right to bestow their favours where they please - both see themselves as past reason, but for Shakespeare that is sickness, madness, a disease that needs curing. Des Grieux, curiously, does not. This is love, unconditional, irrational, inexplicable, a force of nature that comes over you, that overcomes you, that turns everything upside down. He knows in his mind that it is unreasonable, and he cannot be sure if his Manon really loves him best, and cannot be sure if she would have loved him and him alone if only he'd had enough money to keep her in the manner to which she'd like to become accustomed. But he doesn't want the cure, he doesn't even see this as sickness. He gives up everything for her, follows her even to the New World, to a world that they can make new, according to their rules. It nearly works, until the machinery of French Ancien Régime government, transposed to this brave new world with such goodly creatures in it, once again cranks into action. The Governor of New Orleans discovers that Manon and des Grieux are not married at all, as they have been claiming. In which case, as in the Old World, she is disposable goods, once more. Poor Manon. What surprised me most about this is how French of close to 300 years ago doesn't feel terribly different to French nowadays. Once or twice I checked on a phrase in the online English version and found sweetly archaic sounding sentences: "Alas!' replied I, after a moment's silence, 'it is but too true that I am the unhappy victim of the vilest perfidy." Oh woe is me, alack and alas, but strangely, the rest doesn't sound nearly as stuffy in French. Maybe that explains why des Grieux didn't make me fume with frustration, an effect that he seems to have on a lot of reviewers hereabouts. "Idiotic" is one of the more polite epithets. A lot of people seem to think he's blind. Hasn't a clue about love, as this is obviously nothing but lust. But love is sparked by desire - what you make out of it, to go along with the desire, is up to each individual. Des Grieux stays with her through thick and thin, follows her all the way to America - surely that must count as real love? (Sorry, that came out wrong. It's a long way, is all.) And he is blind it's true, but only to the fact that he and Manon are operating on different codes. She is sweet, and compliant, and fond of pretty things and going to the theatre, which is precisely what he loves about her. But it means, in her pragmatic way, that she can be sweet and compliant with rich men too, which is a useful way of getting her the pretty things and the visits to the theatre. But that is separate. Her heart belongs to her Chevalier, not her body. Get over it Chevalier.

  • Teresa
    2019-01-31 01:42

    This is a fast-paced, flowing read, though I can see that some will become annoyed with the Chevalier's constant protestations, especially of nothing being his fault. I'm sure the story was quite scandalous for its time.The fact that the Chevalier's story is actually being told by another narrator might be easily forgotten. The unnamed narrator says near the beginning that he is quoting the Chevalier's words with no interference, thus as verbatim as possible, which to my 21st-century mind immediately brings up the idea of an unreliable narrator, and whether that might be the narrator himself or the Chevalier. While the motivations for deceptive narrating are very easy to see in the case of the Chevalier, and are undoubtedly within the text, thus adding to the complexity of the Chevalier's character, what would be the motivation for the narrator? To avoid looking like one of the Chevalier's dupes? In that case, the veracity of the whole story would come into question, though I don't think that should be the case. Then there is the character of Manon. We only know what the Chevalier says and thinks about her, and there is a case to be made that she is very different from his depiction.I'm sure the Abbe intended this to be a tragedy, but it read as a comedy to me with its over-the-top adventures, even through to the climax, which at first seemed tragic but only for a moment as the next thing we learn becomes another event in a sort of 'comedy of errors.' The Chevalier calls all of this his "fate."In the unhistorical depiction of colonial New Orleans, I found humor as well, perhaps unintentional (and perhaps because I am from N.O.), especially in a passage where the Chevalier is rapturous about the colony, sounding almost like a tourist brochure. I do think it very significant, though, that the lovers end up in a land where their class difference no longer matters, though religion and the law do.I have no doubt that I am imposing my 21st-century sensibilities onto this 18th-c novel. The theme of trying to make sense of an irrational emotion such as love, however, seems universal.

  • Rowena
    2019-01-26 01:16

    Des Grieux is a nobleman who falls in love with the irresistible Manon Lescaut, a woman from the lower classes. They run away together and during the course of their relationship, Manon betrays des Grieux three times. He takes her back every time after experiencing some angsty thoughts, such as “But in my heart I was so overjoyed at seeing her again that I could scarcely bring myself to say a hard word to her, despite all the grounds I had for being angry. Yet my heart was bleeding at the cruel outrage she had done me. I quickly called all this to mind in an attempt to fan the flames of my indignation, and I tried to make my eyes blaze with other fires than those of love.”The blurb on the back of the book describes Manon Lescaut as a femme fatale so I was expecting her to be really evil, akin to Mildred in Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage. Well, she really wasn’t as bad as I thought she was, just silly and childish, as was her lover, Chevalier des Grieux.I really enjoyed reading the book, although des Grieux quite annoyed me. Some may say that it was romantic that he left his inheritance for love but I found him more and more irritating as the story went on. The language was quite poetic and it was obvious that the author had some religious training or knowledge. De Grieux was the narrator for the majority of the book, and he told his story in a very engaging way. Definitely a book I’d read again.

  • Bruce
    2019-02-13 02:30

    There must be few among us who cannot identify to some extent with the adolescent blindness of sexual passion, with the impulsiveness born of desire, with the naiveté that refuses to look at reality, viewing wisdom as timidity, caution as cowardice, and calculation as callousness. Prévost’s short novel is a mirror that makes one squirm as one reads and remembers, while eliciting a tut-tut only from those too sanctimonious to be honest with themselves or too emotionally thwarted to be willing to remember. How often in reading this tale of inconstancy, lack of self-restraint, and predictable woe does one wish to take the hero by the shoulders and shake sense into him, and how ineffective one knows that would be, since his is a story of repeatedly returning to what is most destructive to his happiness. Love and anxiety are inextricably linked in this tale. Love and commercialism are as well, since money or lack thereof is always what keeps the lovers apart, and prostitution becomes the means of getting enough money to stay together. Every value except obsessive determination on the part of de Grieux is sacrificed – family, church, friendship, career, honor, all being shouldered aside - and we see the situation only through his limited and biased perspective, just as he insists on narrowing his own vision to the extent of figuratively blinding himself to everything but his possessive love. The story reads like a parable, a cautionary tale that can come to but one possible conclusion, a conclusion that we foresee long before the end. The heart of the story is framed by the narrator to whom the hero tells the story, reminiscent of Coleridge’s famous poem, “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.”Prévost does not hesitate to include philosophical discussions contrasting the pursuit of pleasure with the dedication to religion and religious virtues, and his ponderings reflect Enlightenment influences that continue to impact our ideas and discussions today. Like so many people today (and at all times, I suppose), our hero focuses so much on self-interest that he uses his claims regarding the purity, intensity, and hallowedness of his love to ignore or at least to justify his descent into theft, deception, prostitution, and murder. How easy it is to rationalize the pursuit of what we desire. Not only that, but de Grieux is credulous beyond belief, endlessly willing to excuse Manon, endlessly willing to accept her protestations of innocence and love, protestations coming from a lover entirely amoral, entirely fixated on her own luxury and prospects for financial security to the extent that she is able at every turn to deceive not only de Grieux but probably also herself.Is it ever easy for each of us to see his own obsessions, his own blind spots and rationalizations, his own justifications that pave the way to the achievement of his own desires, and is it ever easy to derail the train that seems so obviously the way to the fulfillment of our cravings? Instant gratification is the mantra of our times, and delayed or sublimated gratification seems puritanical at best, stunting to the expansion of our precious egos at worst. How many of us are willing to pause, step back, and take stock of our lives with the goal of assessing the appropriateness of the path we are on? This book invites such honest and difficult contemplation.Ultimately, the reader must decide for himself whether de Grieux is idealist or scoundrel, hero or dupe, faithful or foolish. Perhaps he is a combination of these, as perhaps are we all.At least two notable operas have been based upon this work, Puccini’s Manon Lescaut and Massenet’s Manon, both well worth experiencing.

  • Milena
    2019-02-04 09:14

    Dakle, za neopreznog i naivnog čitaoca iz 21. veka koji bi mu pristupio sa neosnovanom pretpostavkom neke sopstvene prednosti ili preimućstva, ovaj roman predstavlja jamu punu zamki za medvede.Takav čitalac bi od društvenog romana napisanog i objavljenog 1731. godine – čitav vek pre Balzaka – možda donekle opravdano očekivao konvencionalan izbor tematike, možda naivan stav autora/pripovedača, nešto što bi moglo da se okarakteriše kao jeftino i davno prevaziđeno moralisanje i nedvosmisleno i linearno izlaganje.E pa, „Manon Lesko“ je anything but that.Početak romana zatiče glavnog lika, viteza De Grije, mladog plemića iz dobre i bogate kuće, u krajnje nezavidnom položaju u kom se neimenovani i neidentifikovani narator sreće sa njim. Ovaj nepoznati pripovedač vrlo brzo ustupa mesto samom De Grijeu dopuštajući mu da nam sâm ispriča okolnosti koje su dovele do njegovog sunovrata i propasti.Rekao bi čovek: pa da, gde ćeš pouzdanije od toga da ti neko sâm ispripoveda sopstvenu životnu priču, kome verovati ako ne njemu.Šipak.Iako je De Grije, kao glavni pripovedač, sveznajuć budući da retrospektivno iznosi događaje iz sopstvenog iskustva – dakle u trenutku pripovedanja je već upoznat sa celom pričom i njenim ishodom – on je visoko nepouzdan i sve vreme manipuliše čitaocem. I upravo se u tome sastoji najveća vrednost ovog romana napisanog – da podsetimo – ČITAV VEK pre Balzaka i ostatka realističke ekipe koja je kanonizovala pripovedački prosede. Osim što nas upoznaje sa događajima iz svog života, hronološkim redosledom, tj. onako kako su se nizali, pripovedač sve vreme zauzima i vrlo čvrst stav o njima i donosi sud o svojim i tuđim postupcima. Takođe, pošto je čitava priča u rukama jedinog svedoka koji nam je dostupan, njemu je ostavljeno na izbor šta će uopšte da ispriča, a šta da izostavi. Na taj način on usmerava pažnju čitaoca kuda želi, i što je još važnije: iskušava čitaočevo moralno osećanje neretko iznoseći zaključke koji su, u najmanju ruku, sumnjivi. Tako smo, u ulozi čitaoca, primorani da neprekidno i budno pratimo svaku njegovu reč, distanciramo se od iskaza i odmeravamo ga, i pokušamo da iz njega izvučemo objektivne informacije na osnovu kojih bismo mogli da donesemo sopstveni sud o onome što nam je ispričano.Sve ovo – pored bogate i razgranate fabule, zanimljivih likova i zbitija i prikaza života iz osamnaestog veka – čini čitanje ovog romana vrlo izazovnim i uzbudljivim, a posebno je zanimljivo posmatrati ga imajući u vidu svakoliku pripovedačku tradiciju koja mu je usledila, do današnjih dana.

  • Dfordoom
    2019-02-12 04:20

    The books of Antoine François Prévost (1697-1763) or the Abbé Prévost as he’s generally known are all forgotten, apart from one short novel, Manon Lescaut. It’s one of the classic tales of obsessive (and destructive) love.It was originally written as part of a much longer work, Memoirs and Adventures of a Man of Quality, but achieved enormous success when published separately.The Chevalier des Grieux is a young man who had been studying for the priesthood. His life was irrevocably altered by his meeting with the young and beautiful Manon Lescaut. His affair with Manon causes him to be disowned by his father and leads him on a downward spiral towards ruin and crime. Manon betrays him repeatedly, but his devotion to her is unwavering. In fact it seems as if the more she betrays him the more he loves her. He becomes a swindler and a card shark in order to find the money he needs to keep Manon in the style to which she is accustomed. The manner in which the story is told is more interesting than the story itself. It is told by the des Grieux himself and he can be seen as a kind of unreliable narrator in the sense that we only see Manon through his eyes and it is obvious that he does not see her clearly at all. Whether she is a better person that the narrative will lead us to believe, or (as is perhaps more likely) a much worse person, remains uncertain. In any case we know virtually nothing of Manon’s real motivations or of her real feelings (if any) for the hapless narrator.The Chevalier des Grieux is in some ways just as interesting as Manon, being an object lesson in the perils of self-pity. He displays monumentally bad judgment and is incapable of understanding the extent to which he is the author of his own calamities. The Abbé Prévost himself was torn between his conflicting desires for a religious life on the one hand and his taste for worldly pleasure in the other. It seems likely that the character of des Grieux is based at least partly on the author and there may even have been a real-life counterpart to Manon.The book’s message is certainly somewhat ambiguous. It’s as much a celebration of the joys of sacrificing everything for love as it is a warning of the dangers of doing so, this ambiguous message being undoubtedly part of the reason the book was banned in France.Manon Lescaut is probably better known as the source material for no less than three 19th century operas.

  • Apostolia
    2019-01-30 04:33

    This was the first of a series of books I'm reading for a "Coursera" course about the Relationships in Fiction. It reminded me a lot of Justine (or the Misfortunes of Virtue) by Marquis De Sand: same critique on ethics of the time, same exaggeration, but on the whole a more pleasant reading than the aforementioned book.

  • Jacek
    2019-02-16 05:29

    Wow, how do I start this? Because trying to collect my thoughts about this book is a bit like trying to collect body parts of a pedestrian smeared all over the road by a car. This is one train wreck of a book, because it doesn't work on any level - it fails to be a compelling story, it blows as a cautionary tale and it is most certainly is not a believable psychological portrait. But, as spectacular accidents do, it is weirdly fascinating to watch all the gruesome details while being repulsed by them at the same time. I'll look at some of them now to examine the true catastrophe that is "Manon Lescaut".At first, this books seems to be an innocent novel in the spirit of a morality tale. We have Chevalier des Grieux, a boy, who is desperately in love with a woman who does not deserve his noble feelings. Not the most original of plots, but there are masterpieces that use this plot device (vide "The Great Gatsby") so I won't hold this against the novel. Later on we see how the poor lad is torn between virtue, represented by his friend Tiberge who wants to become a priest, and passion/love for a young woman called Manon Lescaut. It doesn't take long to see the emerging problems. First off, all the characters are mechanical - they seem programmed to do everything, because they they react the same way to everything that happens and it looks as if they learn nothing from that. Really, take a shot each time Des Grieux does something stupid out of love, Tiberge gives Des Grieux money and/or a lecture or Manon acts as if she loves the protagonist but betrays him instead, and see how long you will stay sober. This, repetitiveness makes it impossible to invest emotionally in the story because it makes these characters seem completely retarded, because they NEVER learn from the consequences of their actions. That is particularly true for the protagonist whose "love" (I'll explain later why I've put this word in quotation marks) makes him completely abandon self-preservation of any kind, what makes him completely unrelatable to (and he is SO STUPID that I just want to SCREAM with frustration; seriously, at one point in the story he tries to dig a grave with an epee. A goddamned epee!!!). Ultimately that's what makes this book's population of characters mere symbols (des Grieux as the best possible person, young age could muster, Manon as the emptiest of women etc.) who are presented to us to teach us a moral lesson.I admit, that's a lot of hard feelings that I have, so I'll show an act of kindness and pretend this book depicts real people, not symbols. What happens now? Well, it turns out it gets worse still. First off, in a work of fiction, that is supposedly about love, I see no love whatsoever. I'll even go on a limb and say that there is not one character that truly loves another (and here I assume my definition of love, which is to WISELY care about and SELFLESSLY act on the behalf of the OTHER person). This is obvious in the case of Manon, who prefers comfort and wealth to love and Tiberge whose friendship with des Grieux – is limited to giving the latter money without thinking if it's the right thing to do and uses every opportunity to lecture him (what I see as a need to boast about his assumed moral superiority)."Well, but what about the poor, love-sick des Grieux?” some of you might ask. Well, my dear readers, this character is the worst of all of them. He thinks he loves Manon, but the truth is, he does not - he just needs an object of worship, which is supposed to give HIM purpose to live. Also, he does not act selflessly - he just does what might minimize the chance that Manon leaves him without caring if his actions will make her a better person (and I DO believe that the materialistic urges of hers that he mindlessly satisfies achieve the contrarian effect). It is worth adding that not only does this feeling serve mainly him, but it is brutally superficial too – at one point in the book des Grieux admits that he mainly admires Manon for her looks. Finally, because of this „love”, the idealistic des Grieux commits the following:-gambling-lying-cheating-murdering.This guy is a psychopath... And a selfish idiot.On a final note, I might add that this book contains some of the most skimmed over details that I have ever seen (and I like it when Haruki Murakami or F. Scott Fitzgerald does it, but Jesus Christ, it needs to be done skillfully!). The most laughable part was when (view spoiler)[ Tiberge travels to North America in search of des Grieux, gets kidnapped by pirates and escapes. All of that happened in one sentence (hide spoiler)]. Well, that is all. To sum up I'll say that this is one of the WORST books I've ever read and certainly the most annoying next to the feminist utopia „Herland” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. „Manon Lescaut” is to be avoided at all cost (especially if you highly value equality in a relationship!) unless you can approach it with a sense of humour. Because if you can you'll have a riot. To those of you I say: ”Have more fun than I did.”.

  • Tanuj Solanki
    2019-02-08 09:41

    Class-crossed lovers (as Professor Burstein says). Though this crossing here is not as loud or vivid as it was in later Romantic pieces, including even the Bengali novel 'Devdas.' There is something more fundamental in Manon Lescaut. It has to do with love's fight with the world, or perhaps with the struggle that an ideal love faces with the real world. Some of the challenges are:1. The demeanor of the loved one - the subjectivity of the object of my love may thwart whatever ideals I've based my love on2. Money as the fuel of sustained togetherness - this is where economics enters the idea3. The palpable cynicism of the real world regarding anything ideal4. The palpable antagonism of the values of the world against the value of love5. Other lovers for the loved oneAll are dealt with here. Sometimes these causes commingle to create the singular effect of lovers' separation, but what is constantly suggested is the impossibility of love's real manifestation. One has to see the usual love cliches, those that advocate a selfless pure ideal love, in a new light after this book. Do these aphorisms exist precisely because love's worldly manifestation is too difficult? Are they not pure ideas in themselves but mere consolations?Anyhow.The best line I've ever read on the topic still remains a line from a 21st century novel"Love me because it doesn't exist, and we've tried everything that does." -- Jonathan Safran Foer in 'Everything is Illuminated'

  • Yann
    2019-02-09 02:17

    Les romans ne sont pas le type de livre que je préfère, mais lorsqu'ils parviennent à peindre la nature avec une telle fidélité, on ne peut qu'être admiratif. Rien n'est digne de respect dans la conduite de nos deux héros qui ne se lassent jamais de traiter leurs faiblesses avec indulgence, en les parant des couleurs de l'amour. La folle complaisance du chevalier le conduit à descendre les degrés de malheurs successifs qui sont la juste récompense du mépris dans lequel il relègue la raison. Les efforts pour rendre à lui-même le héros prodigués par ceux dont il parvient à exciter la compassion ne sont payés que d'ingratitudes et de déceptions. Le destin de l'héroïne fait prendre en pitié les effets dus à la compagnie extravagante qu'attire les charmes de sa physionomie. La passion amoureuse, dont le prix est renfermé dans l'imagination de celui qui l'éprouve, étale dans ces pages tout l'empire qu'il exerce sur les âmes droites

  • Yan
    2019-01-22 06:34

    girl just out to have gd time & make $; nice guy gets her exiled & dead (b/c he loves her, duh).

  • Leslie
    2019-02-07 09:30

    Maybe even 1.5*…A more complete review will come but here are some thoughts I have upon finishing this French classic. I disliked the main character and also the manner in which the story is related. He is forever talking in extremes - stuff like "I was the most wretched creature that ever existed". Despite all his attention to Manon and talk about her beauty and virtues, I never got any feeling for her character; all the reader gets is how the Chevalier sees her.

  • JM
    2019-02-19 04:29

    The thing that struck me the most about this novel is that both main characters, Des Grieux and Manon, are basically emblems of what each gender perceives as one of the worst traits of the opposite sex. Des Grieux is possessive to the extent of becoming obsessed, regarding Manon almost as one of this possessions, whereas the latter is mainly preoccupied with being provided for and avoiding any discomfort to the point where she makes it clear that her feelings for Des Grieux, and the way her choices ultimately affect him, are always secondary to her personal well-being and comfort.Des Grieux, upon meeting Manon, loses himself to the idea of having her as his own, exclusively. He takes her away from her projected life in a convent and, for the most part, is only happy when he perceives himself to be the most important thing in Manon's life. He constantly expresses his disinterest in other women, both before meeting Manon, and afterwards, and even refuses the advances of the girl Manon sends in her stead the third time she leaves him for a richer man. Thus, the Chevalier never fails to remind us of his so-called fidelity, and imply that he expects at least the same from Manon herself.That is an unfortunate situation, since she perceives fidelity of the heart as separate from fidelity of the body, and sees nothing worthy in denying herself the good things in life in the name of something higher, in this case her supposed love for Des Grieux. True, Manon often shares her profits with the Chevalier and always returns to him after a prolonged separation, both of which seem to validate her professions of eternal love to him, but the fact remains that her justification that one cannot live on love alone since one must also eat seems nothing but a rationalization for her disinterest in sacrificing her comfort, just as Des Grieux's justifications for his deeds in the name of love are merely a way to avoid his responsibility for every action he undertakes during the novel. No matter how dramatic Des Grieux's narrative gets, the fact is that they're seldom in a situation where the only recourse would have been for Manon to exchange herself for riches, or for Des Grieux to lie, cheat, steal and, ultimately, even murder.There's enough evidence, both explicit and implicit, in the novel for us to have a fair amount of certainty that Des Grieux and Manon did love each other very much, even if their love wasn't the better kind. In the end, if you strip away the layers, Manon's troubles with her lover seem to originate from her idea that she is not to be owned and the irony that, despite that belief, she thinks she can, and should, sell herself to the highest bidder. Des Grieux, on his part, seems to believe that a romantic partner is something that exists only in relation to you and is, in effect, little more than an object to be owned and complement you. His sorrows stem from Manon repeatedly subverting that idea. Thus, we have a woman only interested in wealth and selling herself in exchange for the means to engage in her frivolous pursuits, and a man only interested in power and control, all the while convinced that he's a victim since the universe thwarts him by refusing to obey his will. Both are horrible stereotypes depicting one of the worst examples of a member of each gender.Although the text of "Manon Lescaut" is a few hundred years old the themes it touches upon are as current now as when Prévost wrote them, since men and women tend to oversimplify each other and themselves in order to try to gain some understadning of what we are, and that is a central theme of our experience as human beings.

  • Elizabeth (Alaska)
    2019-01-26 07:20

    This is almost exclusively plot. Throughout, I was reminded of a quote from Balzac's The Muse of the Department Formerly all that was expected of a romance was that it should be interesting. As to style, no one cared for that, not even the author; as to ideas -- zero; as to local color -- non est. By degrees the reader has demanded style, interest, pathos, and complete information; he insists on the five literary senses - Invention, Style, Thought, Learning, and Feeling.To be fair, there is a little more than that of which Balzac complained - but not much. The Kindle edition I read did not include the name of the translator and perhaps translation had as much to do with the lack of style as the author. Published more than 250 years ago and viewed with a 21st Century lens, this is amusing. Our hero, the young Chevalier de Grieux is innocent of practical matters and Manon Lescaut too practical in an economic sense to remain his faithful mistress. This would take most of you an afternoon to read. I dawdled - perhaps it would have been better had I raced through it.

  • Lacey
    2019-02-01 03:44

    I read this for my Opera and Literature class, as it is the basis for two operas. At first, I had great difficulty in feeling any sympathy for the Chévalier des Grieux, as he chases after Manon with a seemingly ridiculous amount of blindness: not only does he totally ruin his own reputation, he is forced to go begging to his friend Tiberge so that he can keep Manon in the opulence that she values even above him. I couldn't help but wonder how he could be so stupid-- at every turn there was someone willing to help him out of this disaster (and sometimes he accepts this help) but he relentlessly resumes his devotion to a woman who keeps being stolen away from him by richer men who lust after her.But by the end, after greatly suspending my disbelief (and judgment) I grew to understand Manon. I began to realize that she isn't a Jezebel, but a woman with a fatal greed. She loved des Grieux, but sadly loved many more. After finishing the book, I've been wondering how the story would have been if told from Manon's point of view, instead of her lover's. Maybe I'll have to write it someday.

  • Ana Rînceanu
    2019-02-15 08:17

    High-born teen boy falls in love at first sight with a lower class teenage girl about to enter the monastery so they run away together. Chevalier des Grieux and his lover, Manon Lescaut, are in Paris and they have expensive tastes, but no money and no desire to get a job.... Things do not go well. Shocker (T_T)More failures to build a functioning relationship follow. The fact that this book is told exclusively through des Grieux's persepctive makes it difficult to understand why this novel is named after the heroine. He keeps lays the blame for screwing away his life squarely at the feet of this passion for Manon and there were a lot of moments where I just lost patience with the book.

  • Lavinia
    2019-02-12 09:34

    I’m one of those who were never truly tempted by chivalric romance, courtly love, super-knights and endless quests, adventurous musketeers and pretty ladies with complex hairstyles and tight corsets. Though I must admit, every now and then I enjoy watching a film on the matter, if handsome actors are involved, if you know what I mean. Still, I can’t help wondering how come only the good guys, the brave and the strong ones are neat and cute, and all the others are ugly as hell and seem not to have touched water and soap (or whatever they were using) in ages. Given the premise, I basically had no reason to read Manon Lescaut, yet there I was, picking it up, thinking it was too long a time since it had been among other unread books and imagining I was going to enjoy it.Prévost, a smart and prolific man, from what I’ve read, wrote the book somewhere towards the middle of the 18th century, but it seems to have caused so much scandal that it had to be burned, so he revised the book and published it again a few decades later and it is seen, even today, one of the most touching, passionate and painful love stories in the French literature. Oh, well.It’s not that I didn’t like it, but I was constantly annoyed by des Grieux (young wannabe chevalier) and his stupid and childish decisions. So he convinces the very young Manon Lescaut not to go to the monastery, where she is sent against her will because she loves the world too much, and run away with him. Classic. But the stupid kids don’t have a penny on their name so they need to come up with plans to live in the high society, because, isn’t it so? Manon needs to go to the opera and have all sorts of amusements. Crap. To cut it short: Manon, the pure and kind and so-much-in-love-with-des Grieux, throws herself to the first guy with money (and the second, for that matter), in order to (financially) protect their love. Petite whore? I think so. Des Grieux stupidly comes back to her, time after time, agreeing to be an accomplice in Manon’s schemes, only to have her love. Questions: Why does des Grieux only starts thinking of working in Louisiana (where Manon is sent and he obediently follows)? How come in Paris none of them has the decency of thinking of something worth doing to earn some money? Yeah, I get it. You’re a chevalier, you don’t work in Paris, you rely on your father’s money. Too bad he leaves you penniless, smart ass. How easy is it to die overnight when you realize you’ve got no escape? You just wish for, and in the morning you’re cold? Come on, Monsieur Prévost!And for those around here who say Manon Lescaut is an archaic book, look up archaic in the dictionary, please. And you, who say the book is aboutsex. sex. sex.take a cold shower. Urgently.

  • Poet Gentleness
    2019-02-09 07:24

    In 18th century, Montequieu disaproved Manon Lescaut. In his opinion, it was insurrection, indiscipline, untraditional behavior and morals. What he didn’t know, it was the beginning of the Romanticism.It became popular: a tragical love affair between lovers separated by social-economical hierarchy.The story is told by De Grieux point of view. Is it fiction? Did Grieux created Manon’s thoughts or acts? We’ll never know. We only see Griex’s feelings. As I stated on my first assignment, every relationship is fiction, even the one with oneself. There’re things we are not equipped to bear.This is a story about cross-lines, cross-lovers, cross-bounds. Griex, knight, destined to church, falls deeply in love with a beautiful common girl, Manon. A scandal. Against all odds, he decided to purse his passion.Prevost builds emotions while actions, reactions and consequences develop. The couple are separated constantly, by his family and by betrayal on her part. Griex is driven insane when he discovered the betrayal and poured out his pain in lines that showed what a man feels when it happens. It causes pathological reactions. Until recently, it was a pledge of innocent if a murder was committed in such a state.Depending on the way the story is told and on the readers’ experiences, emotions scream out from the page. Griex tells us his in such a blatant way that we share them. He’s in such desperate need of Manon’s love that haywires, specially with those that helped him without second intentions. As if the others’ feelings for him – and his for them – could make up for his loss. It’s a lack of discipline, a saying ‘help me, I need you.’ It’s sadness, need, which has to be mitigated.After the calmness he had achieved during months in church, he sees her, and has an ephiphany: she’s the one. Nothing, could compensate such a loss. It’s passion at its fullest, otherworldly. As the one John Keats felt for Fanny Brown, in Bright Star.They go to New Orleans. She explains the betrayed occurred because she was afraid of dying poor. Griex discovers he has to learn about Manon and the New World. She tells him her heart’s fidelity is his but not her body’s loyalty.Interesting point: Body’s and heart’s fidelity and loyalty are not a male possession. They’re lovers’, partners’. Men can’t dictated what a women should do. It should be discussed and agreed upon.Man follows rules because they exist without think.While traveling, a steady bond is formed. Forgetting their love was more important than a piece of paper, they are trapped when ask permission to marry.A passion like theirs controls bodies, hearts and souls, never freeing one from another. As Munch’s The Kiss lovers when separated, experienced anguish and torment because they need that special connection again, I could see Grieux and Manon in Munch’s paintings.Website

  • Travis
    2019-02-07 07:42

    This short book reads like a love letter to love, it is an adventure which is an entertaining story told with boldness about the extent people are willing to go for love. De Grieux re-tells his story about falling in love with a beautiful girl named Manon who loves luxury more than remaining faithful.. This triangle leads to three downfall each worse and more eventful than the first... Is it better to keep feelings under strict control and not experience suffering, or to abandon oneself to feeling and experience great joy, but also unimaginable pain?Des Grieux struggles with this question throughout the book, experiencing many frequent lapses in judgment by choosing the beautiful Manon over a life that would of clearly been much calmer and certainly more prosperous. However, his inflexible devotion to Manon means that the question never gets answered.Overall, this book is a story about Des Grieux himself. Despite some of his less than admirable behavior, he considers himself a quality citizen. The story unfolds through Des Grieux himself as the main narrator, his untrustworthy actions brings up many questions and doubts about his story. This is highlighted by the fact that during our interactions with him, he always presents himself in the best possible light. Instead of feeling lied to or disappointed by this, I felt more intrigued all the more because Des Grieux tells us time and again that he has done everything for love. This admission adds complexity and mystery to him as a character which in turn makes you dig deeper into Des Grieux himself, an exploration of an individual, rather than a tragic love story.

  • Laura
    2019-02-21 07:20

    Free download in French available at Project Gutenberg.Free download available at Project Gutenberg.Opening lines:Je suis obligé de faire remonter mon lecteur au temps de ma vie où je rencontrai pour la première fois le chevalier des Grieux. Ce fut environ six mois avant mon départ pour l'Espagne. Quoique je sortisse rarement de ma solitude, la complaisance que j'avais pour ma fille m'engageait quelquefois à divers petits voyages, que j'abrégeais autant qu'il m'était possible.

  • Rebecca
    2019-02-02 03:16

    Oh dear, what an escapade! Definitely Pre-Romantic, and therefore none of the characters' inner lives are present, so you are just told (repeatedly) how much Grieux and Manon love each other without ever understanding why. Which makes it very hard to sympathise at all with their ridiculous exploits!The character I feel most sorry for is Tiberge, who is apparently Grieux's best friend, but Grieux only ever goes to see him when he needs money!

  • Dagny
    2019-02-10 06:23

    This French literature classic, which has been the basis for several films and operas, is set in Paris and Louisiana in the early 1700s. Manon Lescaut is maintained by the Chevalier des Grieux until he begins to have financial problems. She is then kidnapped and sold.

  • Roxana-Mălina Chirilă
    2019-01-29 08:24

    He's a young man with a beautiful future ahead of him, and he loves her desperately. So he forsakes his future for her and they run away to live blissfully ever after.Well, not so blissfully. She's in love with luxury and his fortune keeps vanishing in a bout of misfortune, so she betrays him over and over in order to satisfy her desires, while trying to improve both their fortunes through her betrayal:"I protest to you, dearest chevalier, that you are the idol of my heart, and that you are the only being on earth whom I can truly love; but do you not see, my own poor dear chevalier, that in the situation to which we are now reduced, fidelity would be worse than madness? Do you think tenderness possibly compatible with starvation? For my part, hunger would be sure to drive me to some fatal end. Heaving some day a sigh for love, I should find it was my last. I adore you, rely upon that; but leave to me, for a short while, the management of our fortunes."Misfortune follows them everywhere, however.I read this book five years ago and remember liking it a lot at the time - it was more of a whirlwind than I was expecting, and the morality in it was much grayer than I'd have thought from a classic centered on the topic of love.

  • Markus
    2019-02-14 03:34

    Manon Lescaut et le Chevalier des GrieuxAbbé Prévost (1697 – 1763)Published in 1731, the author chooses to present his novel as a story, inside a story.Events taking place in the early 18th century, in France, mostly in Paris and the near countryside.The first chapter presents the narrator of the outer story, a nobleman, the Marquis de Ronancour, who, while traveling, stops for the night in a small village, at a miserable lodging. He witnesses a group of a dozen of prostitutes, chained together, on the road to Le Havre, from where they will be taken by the next sailing boat to America, New Orleans, to be wives for the expatriate French community there. Among these, he notices one beautiful and sad crying girl. When inquiring from the guards, he learned that she will not talk or explain. However, there is a young man following the expedition since Paris, apparently desperately in love and concerned by that young girl. He seems to be from a noble background, had spent all his money in vain to buy her freedom, and now has no other option but to follow her to America, to try to save her.Ronancour in pity gives him some of his own money, hoping to help the poor lad.Two years go by. In Calais, Ronancour returning from London, while walking the streets, notices the same young man he had met at that village Inn. The two men are happy to meet again, and as they sit down at the hotel, the young man tells his adventures.At this point starts the inner story, as told by the young Des Grieux, as is his name.His story begins when he was only 17 years of age. He is of noble ascendance, a wealthy family. Of good education, a brilliant student, his father wants him to be a future Knight of the Malta congregation. His best student friend Tiberge never lets him down throughout his young life.One day, returning to his birthplace for holidays, at a village Inn, he meets the beautiful and young Manon Lescault and immediately falls deeply in love with her. Manon is on her way to a monastery where she is sent by her parents, to be secluded, most likely because of some naughty behavior of hers. Des Grieux reveals his love for her and they agree to run away together, early next morning.Even though Tiberge tries to dissuade his friend, he will not listen and by the evening of the next day, the young couple arrives in Paris. Renting an apartment and living like a married couple is fulfilling their dream of happiness. As long as their money lasted.It was not long before des Grieux had to find means to get hold of some means of payment. Young noblemen at the time did not have much of a choice, it was either from their parents, or borrowing from friends, or signing bills of debt, or gambling, or at last embezzle some rich followers of his lovely companion. He tried all of these.Manon found a much simpler way. Smiling out the window to some rich neighbor, she quickly found a replacement for her young lover. De Grieux was heartbroken but never stopped loving her, following her, gaining her back, losing her to another suitor, getting her back again, all the while going through the wildest adventures, and both of them ending up in prison. De Grieux's father could get his son free, but at the same time making sure that the wicked girl would be sent as a prostitute to America, never to see his son again. The young man followed his love on the sailing ship to New Orleans, hoping to save her there.As the outcome is near, I will now leave it to my fellow readers to discover the rest.You will enjoy this adventurous and tragic love story of a fatally beautiful girl and an extremely naïve young man.

  • Lucie Novak
    2019-02-04 03:33

    This book, in Czech translation, was surprising. I know the Czech Nezval version- a long poem/play. Brilliant, one of the best Czech poems I know. Manon LescautThis is what it was based on.For an 18th century novel, it is surprisingly easy to read, and unlike some 19th century books, it seems relevant and adult. It is also much more cynical than the poem, showing the main characters as very flawed, reckless and rather selfish. It reminded me of that other French 18th century novel Chodleros de Lalo’s Les Liasions DangereusesThe reader visits the word of characters not afraid of cheating, manipulating, gambling, just to get what they want. Using friends, family, strangers. Love? Maybe. But mostly money, comfort, entertainment, and yes, sex.If there is a moral in the book, I missed it. The main character, De Grieux somehow thinks his good deeds are punished more than his bad ones. Manon seems so manipulative I did not believe anything she said.Yet, it was a great read. Do I prefer the Czech version? Well, yes, the best love poems I ever read.

  • Elizabeth A
    2019-02-13 05:30

    I am currently enrolled in the Coursera class The Fiction of Relationship, and this is the first in the list of assigned reading. I had never heard of this French novella, first published in 1731, and am delighted to have made its acquaintance. This is the story of the Chevalier de Grieux, a nobleman who falls in love with the beautiful and poor Manon Lescaut. While on the surface it reads like a romance novel, this is really a story of obsession, passion, betrayal and class set in 18th century Paris. The entire story is narrated by Des Grieux, so we only have his version of the story, and I love how the author does not judge either character, but lays out a story and lets the reader decide how to feel about the characters.At times I had to remind myself that the narrator was only in his late teens, a time when passions can rage out of control, but this complex story asks some important questions of who we are in relation to others and how much love can blind us. This was originally going to get at least 4 stars, but I got rather annoyed by the Chevalier's reluctance to take responsibilities for his actions.