Denis Diderot: Jacques the Fatalist and his Master

14 October 2019

There comes a moment when nearly all young girls and young boys become melancholic. They are disturbed by a vague uneasiness which extends to everything and can find no consolation. They look for solitude. They weep. The silence of the cloister moves them and the image of peace which seems to reign in religious houses seduces them. They mistake the first movements of their developing emotions for the voice of God calling them and it is at the precise moment when nature is calling to them that they embrace a life which is contrary to the laws of nature. Their mistake does not last. The voice of nature becomes clearer and is heard and the prisoner falls into regrets, listlessness, swooning, madness, or despair.

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