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Claude Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon (1707-1777)
Lifespan: 1700s - 1770s
Related: French literature - erotic fiction - 1740s - libertine novel
Titles: Le Sopha, conte moral (1742)
Le Sopha, conte moral (1742) - Crébillon fils [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Image sourced here.
Claude Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon (February 14, 1707 - April 12, 1777), was a French novelist.
Born at Paris, he was the son of the poet Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon. He lived there most of his life, but the publication of L'Ecumoire, ou Tanzal et Needarn, histoire japonaise (1734), which contained veiled attacks on the Papal bull Unigenitus, the cardinal de Rohan and the duchesse du Maine brought Crébillon into disgrace. He was first imprisoned and afterwards forced into exile for five years at Sens and elsewhere. With Alexis Piron and Charles Collé he founded a society that met regularly to dine at the famous "Caveau", where story-telling was the main pastime.
From 1759 onwards he was to be found at the Wednesday dinners of the Pelletier, at which David Garrick, Laurence Sterne and John Wilkes were sometimes guests. In 1748, he married an English lady of noble family, Lady Henrietta Maria Stafford, who had been his mistress from 1744. Their marriage is said to have been a happy one; and there could be no greater contrast thar that between Crébillon's private life and the tone of his novels, the immorality of which lent irony to the author's tenure of the office of censor, bestowed on him in 1759 through the favor of Madame de Pompadour.
The most famous of his numerous novels are: Les Amours de Ziokinizul, roi des Kofirans (1740), in which Zokinizul and Kofirans may be translated Louis XIV and the French respectively; and Le Sopha, conte moral (1740), where the moral is supplied in the title only. This last novel is given by some authorities as the reason for his imprisonment.
His Œuvres were collected and printed in 1772. See a notice of Crébillon prefixed to Octave Uzanne's edition of his Contes dialogues it the series of Conteurs du XVIII' siècle. Crébillon's novels might be pronounced immoral to the last degree if it were not that two writers slightly later in date surpassed even his achievements in this particular. André Robert de Nerciat produced under a false name a number of licentious tales, and was followed by Donatien, marquis de Sade. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Prosper_Jolyot_de_Cr%C3%A9billon [Sept 2005]
Excerpts in French
Un jour de lourd ennui, le Sultan des Indes Schah-Baham, petit-fils du grand Schah-Riar, le héros des Mille et Une nuits, propose que chacun, dans sa cour, dise de ces contes dont il est si friand. Le sort désigne le jeune Amanzéi, qui raconte une de ses vies antérieures, quand Brama, pour le punir de ses dérèglements, le fit sopha. (...)
--http://www.editions-du-heron.com/2_preface_juranville_sopha,crebillon_extraits.htm [Sept 2004]
Sextravaganza () - Claude Prosper Jolyot De Crébillon Fils
Sextravaganza () - Claude Prosper Jolyot De Crébillon Fils [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Sextravaganza shows Claude Prosper Jolyot de Crebillon fils at his ablest. It begins where most novels end - in the bedroom (of a fashionable lady of 18th Century France) at night. And it ends there the following morning. Its dramatis personae are two - as in the Garden of Eden. A man and a woman. The difference is that French women need no snake to tempt them. And Frenchmen no apple. Men and women had traveled far since the days of Adam and Eve. Sextravaganza is as simple, and as risque, as all that. But around this simple setting what a masterpiece of the subtle and the sophisticated does Crebillon paint! It is a most extraordinary picture of the battle between the sexes. On one side the male strategy of attack: the aphrodisiac quality of erotic conversation, the incandescent power of casual caresses, and the psychological moments of action. On the other side the female tactics of defense: the evasive changes of subject, the reprimands of mock indignation, the agitations of approaching defeat. Finally, the tumultuous surrender. Thus, in the course of one night, a man and a woman, each of whom is in love with somebody else, gradually warm up to each other until they forget past pleasures in present passions. Satire, irony, word play and scandal abound. --via Amazon.com
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