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La Religieuse (1780/1796) - Denis Diderot

Related: 1700s - 18th century literature - French literature - Denis Diderot - France - nun - nunsploitation


La Religieuse is a 18th century French novel, by Denis Diderot. Completed in c.1780, the work, however, wasn't published until 1796, after his death.

The novel was supposedly begun originally not as a work for literary consumption but as an elaborate practical joke aimed at making a wealthy philanthropist give support to a spurious cause.

La Religieuse was adapted several times for the cinema, most notably in 1966 as La Religieuse (The Nun) by Jacques Rivette, starring Anna Karina.

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La Religieuse [Nov 2005]

Diderot began writing La Religieuse in 1760, but literary folklore says the beginnings of the novel actually began as an elaborate hoax involving forged correspondence by Diderot and various conspirutors over a period in excess of three months in order to lure one of their friends, the marquis de Croismare, back to Paris. At some point, Diderot decided to use the plot of the hoax he had begun as a starting point for his novel La Religieuse, which he completed in c.1780. The work, however, wasn't published until 1796, after his death. --http://www.eroticabibliophile.com/banned_France_p_z.html [Nov 2005]

La Religieuse (1965) - Jacques Rivette

La Religieuse (1965) - Jacques Rivette [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

(Jacques Rivette, France, 1965) (F)
This blissfully domestic scene actually portrays an equally blissful all-Lesbian convent. By its very neutrality, it conveys the "secrecy" of this artist's style. Diderot's anti-clerical classic provides the basis for one of the few and certainly one of the most sophisticated anti-Catholic films yet made.

Banned by the censors, and cause celebre of post-war French cinema, this chilling melodrama is based on Diderot's famous 18th century anti-clerical classic. It traces the life of a young girl forced to take the veil, equating, ironically, the tyranny of sadistic cruelty with that of erotic love; the corruption of the convent with that of the outer world. A calculated artificiality marks the film's progression from austere cruelty to luxuriant decadence. In its relentless portrayal of the doom of the innocent, it becomes a plea for freedom and tolerance far transcending the church issue. The supreme irony comes with the nun's final "escape" to a hostile world, prostitution, and death. -- Film As a Subversive Art (1974) - Amos Vogel

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