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Jacques the Fatalist by Denis Diderot

Jacques the Fatalist (1796)

by Denis Diderot

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,317185,908 (3.81)58
Recently added by.Monkey., private library, chrisyoung, Enda135, kmzaytoon, nwhyte, DCFP, brideofabydos
Legacy LibrariesGillian Rose, Graham Greene
  1. 10
    The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne (fvenez)
  2. 00
    Jacques & His Master by Milan Kundera (txurialtea)
  3. 00
    Mist by Miguel de Unamuno (thorold)
    thorold: Although the philosophical ideas discussed are rather different, Diderot and Unamuno have a lot of common ground in the random, discursive way they tell the story.
  4. 01
    If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino (macflaherty)

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» See also 58 mentions

English (12)  French (2)  Danish (1)  Hungarian (1)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All (18)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
Confusing book. The setting changed so rapidly that i did not always know what was happening. The structure of this novel was a strange one, with a narrator that sometimes appeared to know less than the reader and references that are not too familiar for a reader in 21th century. The annotations earned the second star. ( )
  Kindnist85 | May 25, 2016 |
  Kindlegohome | Jul 15, 2015 |
Enjoyable for a view into the mind of one of the leading philosophs of France during the time of Voltaire. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
I love this book and have already started to reread it in anticipation of my French book club's discussion. Diderot pays unabashed obeisance to Sterne's Tristram Shandy with his constantly interrupted, disrupted, and recommenced tale. As noted in the Preface to the novel (or anti-novel, as Diderot might have considered it)Jacques le fataliste is composed of one long chapter (over 300 pages in this edition)and includes around 60 characters, 21 stories and 180 breaks in the narrative. This is 18th century postmodernism and more evidence (if you're not yet convinced) that contemporary literary "experiments" have illustrious antecedents. Jacques (the fatalist) questions our ideas about fate, accident, human liberty, the (im)possibility of judging the morality of human actions as well as our notions of what constitutes a novel. It's a road trip (on horseback), a more than twice-told tale, and a carnivalesque romp with some serious underpinnings. ( )
3 vote Paulagraph | May 25, 2014 |
'Jacques le Fataliste et son maître' is hardly a novel. In fact, it's a very clever parody on the clichés of narration, blind faith and many other things. One should always keep in mind that this is a conceptual novel, written to challenge the standards and thoughts of 18th century France.

Jacques is marked by a form of extreme fatalism - everything that happens to him happens because it was 'meant to be so'; everything is 'written in the stars'. There is, however, no mention of a God who determines this course of events, which points towards an atheism of Diderot's part. Ironically, the figure of Jacques dominates that of his Master, who is much more passive and lacks the talktative nature of Jacques. Whereas the conversations between Jacques and his Master challenge the philosophical and social climate of the time, the narrator exposes the problems of the novel form. Diderot often underlines the fact that this book is in fact not a novel, but a truthful representation of events. Again, this is very ironic, since the narrator intrudes often and violently. The main problems are verisimilitude (how true is a story?) and the boundaries of the author (what is and isn't possible in a novel?).

The whole makes for a very fragmented book, with lots of unfinished stories and puzzling events. This does not, however, mean that the structure of the book is completely random. The chaos of events and stories hides a very clever attempt to challenge the central themes of 18th century literature, and makes this book a very unique document. ( )
1 vote WorldInColour | Oct 12, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (48 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Denis Diderotprimary authorall editionscalculated
Enzensberger, Hans MagnusAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hubert-Reerink, J.D.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Loy, J. RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mannerkorpi, JukkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schmidt-Henkel, HinrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Come s'erano incontrati? Per caso, come tutti. Come si chiamavano? Che vi importa? Di dove venivano? Dal luogo più vicino. Dove andavano? Si sa forse dove si va? Che dicevano? Il padrone non diceva niente; e Jacques diceva che il suo capitano diceva che tutto ciò che quaggiù ci accade di bene e di male, era scritto lassù.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192838741, Paperback)

Jacques the Fatalist is a provocative exploration of the problems of human existence, destiny, and free will. In the introduction to this brilliant translation, David Coward explains the philosophical basis of Diderot's fascination with fate and examines the experimental and influential literary techniques that make Jacques the Fatalist a classic of the Enlightenment.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:23 -0400)

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