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Manon Lescaut

3.51  ·  Rating Details ·  7,067 Ratings  ·  328 Reviews
"'The sweetness of her glance - or rather, my evil star already in its ascendant and drawing me to my ruin - did not allow me to hesitate for a moment...'" "So begins the story of Manon Lescaut, a tale of passion and betrayal, of delinquency and misalliance, which moves from early eighteenth-century Paris - with its theatres, assemblies, and gaming-houses - via prison and ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 18th 2006 by Editions Flammarion (first published 1731)
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Mar 15, 2013 Dolors rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of subjectivity
Shelves: read-in-2013
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
Note on the Text
Note on the Illustrations
Select Bibliography
A Chronology of the Abbé Prévost

--Manon Lescaut

Explanatory Notes
May 28, 2013 Nathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 cla
Jun 26, 2013 knig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Proposal
in 1731 and had the decency to be inde
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 approve
Desire 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 sw
Jun 01, 2013 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 immedi
Oct 13, 2012 Rowena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, french-lit
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 ...more
May 21, 2013 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Jul 04, 2015 Milena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 line
Sep 01, 2011 Dfordoom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 31, 2013 Apostolia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Tanuj Solanki
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
Jul 23, 2011 Yann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Jun 03, 2013 Jacek rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Old-fashioned romantics who lack self-preservation

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
Jun 05, 2013 JM rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 choi ...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
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 li
Dec 19, 2015 Yan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
girl just out to have gd time & make $; nice guy gets her exiled & dead (b/c he loves her, duh).
Poet Gentleness
Jun 02, 2013 Poet Gentleness rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Classics, romantics
Recommended to Poet Gentleness by: Brown University
Shelves: classics
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 relat
Jun 03, 2013 Travis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 feeli
Nov 03, 2012 Lacey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 someo ...more
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.
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!
Jun 26, 2010 Lavinia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2010
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 hav ...more
Elizabeth A
Sep 01, 2014 Elizabeth A rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Coursera
Shelves: 2014
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
I've never exactly been a fan of this type of novel, but Manon Lescaut did not impress me at all. It was a quick read and I finished it in the space of a day, but only because there was so little there for me to find interest in. The plot itself is full of unbelievable turns of fortune that seem rather contrived, the two main characters are merely immature teenagers pretending to be adults, and any moral discussions seem like they could easily be copied from a modern-day high-schooler's blog on ...more
Trenutno nisam baš inspirisana da pišem neki opširniji review... Lagano za čitanje, dinamična radnja, mada (meni) ne preterano zanimljiva, glavni muški lik za moje pojmove previše patetičan (mislila sam da je Floberov Frederik Moro neprikosnoven)... S druge strane, treba imati u vidu vreme nastanka knjige - mogu misliti kakvu je senzaciju izazvala 1731. (pola veka pre Lakloovih Opasnih veza) ...
Kao i uvek, vodiću se samo opštim utiskom koji je na mene ostavila... trojka.
When you want to slap all the characters with a shovel every five minutes...but that means you at least care. Reminded me of Vanity Fair in the pursuit of luxury and self-indulgence at all costs...The style was, of course, far from Thackeray's witticism, but I was still interested, at least, I got some exercise from all that slap-shoveling.
Jul 20, 2012 Dagny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french
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.
Jan 13, 2011 Kelly marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I found this on the "Caught in the Act" list here on goodreads, which reminded me to read this. PS- That is the best idea for a book category. Well done, GR-er list creator!
Feb 07, 2013 Orion rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Manon Lescaut is a story of a young man, the Chevalier des Grieux, and his lover, Manon Lescaut. Set in the year 1721 and first published in 1731, this story of uninhibited love and its dire consequences was both quickly banned and widely read. The novel begins when a narrator, spending the night in a small town, who sees the townspeople gathered around two large wagons loaded with women criminals who are being banished to the colony of New Orleans. Amongst this "frail sisterhood" sits Manon "wh ...more
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THE LUCKY 85% RULE, INVISIBILITY AND MANON 4 28 Jan 30, 2014 09:56PM  
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Antoine François Prévost d'Exiles (April 1, 1697 – December 23, 1763), usually known simply as the Abbé Prévost, was a French author and novelist.

He was born at Hesdin, Artois, and first appears with the full name of Prévost d'Exiles, in a letter to the booksellers of Amsterdam in 1731. His father, Lievin Prévost, was a lawyer, and several members of the family had embraced the ecclesiastical esta
More about Antoine François Prévost d'Exiles...

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“The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature.” 146 likes
“It has never been matter of wonder to me that human resolutions are liable to change; one passion gives them birth, another may destroy them.” 8 likes
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