Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Manon Lescaut” as Want to Read:
Manon Lescaut
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Manon Lescaut

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  9,156 ratings  ·  452 reviews
This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most impor ...more
Paperback, 277 pages
Published May 16th 2001 by Editions Flammarion (first published 1731)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Manon Lescaut, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Manon Lescaut

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,156 ratings  ·  452 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Manon Lescaut
Mar 15, 2013 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
May 28, 2013 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
E. G.
Note on the Text
Note on the Illustrations
Select Bibliography
A Chronology of the Abbé Prévost

--Manon Lescaut

Explanatory Notes
Jun 26, 2013 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 in
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
Roman Clodia
We were just going to get into bed when he opened the door. 'Oh God!' I said to Manon, 'it's old G.M!' I leaped for my sword but, as ill-luck would have it, it was tangled with my belt.

The introduction to my Penguin edition discusses this in terms of tragic grandeur - well, call me a Philistine but I found myself smirking and giggling throughout this tale of femme fatale Manon and her unbelievably naive-to-the-point-of-silliness lover, des Grieux.

Mere teenagers when they meet, he picks her up a
Oct 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french-lit, classics
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
Jun 01, 2013 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
May 21, 2013 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
Czarny Pies
Jul 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to meet the first great man-eater in French lit.
Recommended to Czarny by: Professor Rosenberg assigned it.
Shelves: french-lit
I like the naked bottom on the cover of the Gallimard Folio edition pictured with this review. Gallimard seems to agree with me in viewing Manon Lescaut as work in the Libertine tradition of 18th century France. Professor Rosenberg who taught this work in a course that I took on the novel in Eighteenth Century French literature viewed it differently. The work is not sordid but realistic. Manon was indeed a liar, a prostitute and a chronic fraudster. However, the fact was that during that era a g ...more
Jun 03, 2013 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
Sep 01, 2011 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 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.
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Abbe' Prevost was indeed an interesting character, the author of Manon Lescaut managed to live a life full of false starts & contradictions, while authoring a series of novels of which Mano Lescaut is the best remembered. This is in great measure because the work inspired operatic renderings by both Massenet, Manon and by Puccini, the latter with the Manon's full name as its title. But what seems somewhat more unusual is that rather than the author translating his life into novel form, he wrote ...more
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
Nov 03, 2012 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
Dec 19, 2015 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). ...more
Jun 05, 2013 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
Manon Lescaut et le Chevalier des Grieux
Abbé Prévost (1697 – 1763)
Published in 1731, the author chooses to present his novel as a story, inside a story.
Events taking place in the early 18th century, in France, mostly in Paris and the near countryside.
The first chapter presents the narrator of the outer story, a nobleman, the Marquis de Ronancour, who, while traveling, stops for the night in a small village, at a miserable lodging. He witnesses a group of a dozen of prostitutes, chained together,
Poet Gentleness
Jun 02, 2013 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
Maybe even 1.5*…

A more complete review will come but here are some thoughts I have upon finishing this French classic. I disliked the main character and also the manner in which the story is related. He is forever talking in extremes - stuff like "I was the most wretched creature that ever existed". Despite all his attention to Manon and talk about her beauty and virtues, I never got any feeling for her character; all the reader gets is how the Chevalier sees her.
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
High-born teen boy falls in love at first sight with a lower class teenage girl about to enter the monastery so they run away together. Chevalier des Grieux and his lover, Manon Lescaut, are in Paris and they have expensive tastes, but no money and no desire to get a job.... Things do not go well. Shocker (T_T)

More failures to build a functioning relationship follow. The fact that this book is told exclusively through des Grieux's persepctive makes it difficult to understand why this novel is na
Jun 26, 2010 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
Jun 01, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Deeply misogynist, self-centered and completely idiotic singular narration, Manon Lescaut are possibly one of the worst novel I had ever encounter in French literature. Considering, I have read a lot of Marquis de Sade book that is an accomplishment. I think this is possibly a worst definition of romanticism in history of time.

What Stephenie Meyer's Twilight and Prevost's Manon Lescaut had in common was a complete joke of a first narrator and the confused definition of love between the two POV c
Jun 03, 2013 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
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
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!
Jul 20, 2012 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.
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I'm starting to suspect that, with the exception of Shakespeare, all books that have been turned into great operas are rubbish.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
THE LUCKY 85% RULE, INVISIBILITY AND MANON 4 31 Jan 30, 2014 09:56PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Princesse de Clèves
  • Le jeu de l'amour et du hasard
  • Les Liaisons dangereuses
  • The Nun
  • Le Mariage de Figaro
  • Le Cid
  • Persian Letters
  • Le Barbier de Séville ou La Précaution Inutile
  • Phèdre
  • Jacques the Fatalist
  • Bérénice
  • Don Juan
  • La Dame aux Camélias
  • Pierre et Jean
  • René
  • Les Fourberies de Scapin
  • Andromaque
  • L'Ingénu
See similar books…
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

News & Interviews

You might know comedian Colin Jost from his work as the co-anchor of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, or perhaps you know him as Scarlett Joha...
86 likes · 31 comments
“The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature.” 171 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.” 12 likes
More quotes…