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- Jacques the Fatalist and His Master by Denis Diderot: | parkmasigeti.cf: Books.
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Add a tag. Public Private login e. Add a tag Cancel Be the first to add a tag for this edition. Lists What are lists? Login to add to list. Be the first to add this to a list. Aug 31, Bob rated it it was amazing. Diderot, my end-notes tell me, was strongly influenced by Laurence Sterne in setting out to write "Jacques The Fatalist".
Ultimately, with a postmodern touch that anticipates Italo Calvino or whoever, he offers us three possible endings for the story of Jacques' love life. Jacques and his Master a socially superior person to whom he is barely subservient are traveling nowhere specified in a haphazard manner and tell each other stories along the way, as well as hearing those of a voluble lady innkeeper.
This being France, not England, and the 18th, not 19th century, the stories tend towards the baudy and anti-clerical; in fact, the book was not published in its entirety in Diderot's lifetime and even waiting until after the Revolution wasn't quite sufficient - 25 years later, Parisian police censors were still threatening.
Oct 01, Edward rated it liked it. I thought they might show some enthusiasm for this French "classic", or at least a "curiosity". Instead, they rolled their eyes and asked why? Good question. It's worth the read and is often a very funny book. It's "road" story about a voyage taken by servant Jacques and his Master, full of running jokes, stories told by each, authorial intrusions asking the reader what he expects from a story anyway, jokey pedantic footnotes on sources. I suppose at the bottom if there is a "bottom" of this long shaggy dog narrative, is the philosophical question of whether one follows his fantasy, disguised as reason, or his reason which is often a dangerous fantasy.
Sound like Don Quixote? Yes, and it's no accident, Diderot being a shameless and unapologetic borrower from other writers. More specifically, who sets the "rules" for what can be included in a story? Aristotle's dictums come up, of course, but they're found inadequate. Jacques undermines the rules of literature, and life, by pointing out that what we think of as "good" often leads to "evil" and apparent evil to good, so one never quite know where one is going.
His solution? One of the running jokes is a request for details on Jacques' amorous past adventures. He is not too forthcoming, but an irony is that there is plenty of sex and bawdiness supplied in most of the stories that are told as they continue on their travels which end with the Master being sent to prison for having fathered a bastard son.
What will become of the son? Who knows? Whatever happens is "written above". In an odd way, an appropriate ending - what will be the fate of Diderot's "bastard" mishmash of what could loosely be called a novel? If the reader thinks this is a impossible question to answer, Diderot suggests that he supply his own ending.
In a postcript, an "editor" finds three additions, not included in the original story. Two of which he thinks are authentic, and the third clearly spurious. More questions, more uncertainty. In Kurt Vonnegut's words, so it goes. Shelves: prose. Jan 22, Alies Vaartjes rated it it was amazing.
Jacques Fatalist His Master
Jacques, let's now continue with the story of your loves. Feb 05, Gabriel rated it it was amazing. Much is made of Diderot's rather bald appropriations from Sterne's "Tristram Shandy. Just look at Sterne's material-- war, and the wounds that result; Diderot, on the other hand, skips lightly past the battlefield to the real seat of Uncle Toby's wound, the heart, and its battles.
Jacques the fatalist and his master ( edition) | Open Library
The structure is Sterne's, but Sterne's structure itself has its roots in "Don Quixote. Whatever its provenance, Diderot's novel is as funny as any of the above-named books, and as surprising. As I was reading Barth's "Friday Book" and "Further Fridays" in tandem with this, I noticed that there are a few tales within tales here. I was not so concerned as Barth is that I noted the degrees thereof, but I was interested to note that, unlike Nights as Barth points out , at several points, those tales within tales do affect their framing tales, and threaten to affect the larger frame tale and, like Nights, frequently reflect their frames, if less explicitly than Nights.
I think it fair to say that Diderot was more interested in those effects than in the tales themselves, and took a great deal of pleasure in the bifurcations that resulted. Finally, as Robert Loy's notes point out, not only did Diderot borrow heavily from Sterne, but also from any number of other popular stories of the time as had Bocaccio, Cervantes, and Chaucer among many others in their own times.
In fact, neither book is really concerned with war or love at all, really, except as an excuse for their telling. Oct 25, Christina rated it it was ok. Mildly amusing, but mostly exasperating. I know that the point here was to be different from other novels and to bite the proverbial thumb at your traditional narrative, and all that was interesting to a point. I just didn't get that excited about any of the characters or the stories they were trying to tell.
Between the interruptions built into the novel and the actual interruptions of life, I could never remember what was going on or who anyone was. One thing that interested me that was Mildly amusing, but mostly exasperating. One thing that interested me that was mentioned in the introduction to my edition Penguin Classics was that this book pushed the boundaries of class distinction a bit.
Most obviously, Jacques the servant is more clever and interesting than his master, and a more important character. The book has a hearty dose of peasanty bawdiness and more rustic settings during a period when most novels dealt with aristocratic propriety in Paris. Actually, I think I liked the introduction better than the book itself. It reminded me of both of those though I haven't actually read the former myself. Apr 21, Vipan rated it it was amazing Shelves: , favorites. Denis Diderot, my dear, doesn't write.. Is it even a novel? I haven't a clue. One thing I know is this is, by far, the most avant-garde stuff I have ever read and to think that it was written by a man who was born over years ago!
Man, that's really something! Even the language and tone don't allow it to be older than s. For me, this book now stands at the pinnacle of timelessness. This book will serve as a reference against which timelessness of all literary narratives I would Denis Diderot, my dear, doesn't write..
This book will serve as a reference against which timelessness of all literary narratives I would refrain from the word "novel" will be measured.
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And if you think dark humor is a very twenty-first century thing, you are utterly wrong! Jun 24, D. I loved Jacques and his Master. A frustrating read, but much easier than Don Quixote or Tristram Shandy. Not as good, either. But still great. Maybe I should give it five stars. I gave Harry Potter four or five stars, and it's much better than Harry Potter. I guess it was written up high that I'd only give it four stars. Its almost stream-of-consciousness writing the author often breaking the fourth wall. Most of it are these philosophical musings interrupted by various stories.
The tales themselves are often broken up and interwoven, so at times even the characters telling them get confused as to where the stories left off. Whenever i started to 'And your Jacques is only an insipid agglomeration of facts, some real, some imagined, written without grace and distributed about with no order. Whenever i started to get bored there would be some funny moment or interesting idea thrown out. However i still might be rounding up to get to 3 stars. There were some genuinely funny parts, some of the conversations seemed like a Marx Bros sketch at times.
Edit: I seriously doubt that this translation by J. Robert Loy, is the best version. Sep 09, Jocelin rated it really liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Favorite quote: "Do we control our destiny or does our destiny control us? I just assumed that because it was written so long ago that it would be difficult reading but it's not at all. It's about a guy named Jacques who believes that everything happens because it was written in the heavens and that destiny essentially controls everything, and he's very funny.
He has a Master who argues with him a lot.
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