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The nun

by Denis Diderot

From the Back Cover:

Denis Diderot (1713-84), editor of the Encyclopedie and supreme figure of the Enlightenment, began writing The Nun as a practical joke.The joke got out of hand and resulted in one of the most remarkable novels of the eighteenth century. Through the story of a girl without a religious vocation, enclosed against her will in the unnatural environment of a convent, Diderot takes issue with misconceived Christianity in a social system where the civil law protects the persecutor and penalizes the victim. In an atmosphere intense with gossip, intrigues, favouritism, persecutions and pettiness, Diderot exposes the young nun to what he regards as the four great dangers of convent life: madness, the paralysing effect of a powerful saintly personality, sadistic cruelty, and febrile sexuality.