Short summary - The Revolt of the Angels - Anatole France

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - The Revolt of the Angels
Anatole France

The great Alexander Bussard d'Eparvier, vice-president of the Council of State under the July government, left a three-story mansion and a rich library to his heirs. Rene d'Eparvier, the worthy grandson of the famous grandfather, filled up the precious collection to the best of his ability. In 1895, he appointed Julien Sariette as curator of the library, at the same time making him mentor to his eldest son Maurice. Monsieur Sariette was imbued with a quivering but jealous love for the library. Anyone who took with him the most insignificant book tore at the archivist's soul. He was ready to endure any insult and even dishonor, just to keep the priceless volumes intact. And thanks to his zeal, d'Eparvier's library has not lost a single leaf for sixteen years.
But on September 9, 1912, fate dealt a terrible blow to the keeper: on the table in a formless heap lay the books taken from the shelves by someone's blasphemous hand. A mysterious force raged in the sanctuary for several months. Mr. Sariette lost sleep and appetite while trying to track down intruders. Obviously, these were Freemasons - a friend of the family, Abbot Patouille, claimed that it was they, together with the Jews, who were plotting the complete destruction of Christendom. The unfortunate archivist was afraid of the treacherous sons of Hiram, but his love for the library turned out to be stronger, and he decided to ambush the criminals. At night, the mysterious robber hit him on the head with a thick tome, and from that day things went even worse - the books began to disappear with frightening speed. Finally they found themselves in the wing where the young d'Eparvier lived.
Maurice could not be suspected of an excessive thirst for knowledge. From an early age he managed to avoid any mental effort, and Abbot Patouille said that this young man received the benefits of a Christian upbringing from above. Keeping the gallant traditions of his nation, Maurice resignedly endured the open debauchery of the maids and the tearful adoration of society ladies. But a mysterious force intervened in his life in the most indelicate way: when he indulged in innocent passion in the arms of the lovely Gilberte des Aubelles, a ghostly shadow of a naked man appeared in the room. The stranger introduced himself as the guardian angel of Maurice and said that in heaven his name was Abdiil, and "in the world" - Arkady. He went to say goodbye, because he had lost faith, having studied the treasures of human thought in the d'Eparve library. In vain did Maurice plead with the angel to de-incarnate and become a pure spirit again. Arkady firmly decided to join his brothers, who declared war on the heavenly tyrant Yaldabaoth, whom people mistakenly consider the only god, while he is just a vain and ignorant demiurge.
Rebel Angel got a job at a printing house. He was impatient to begin the implementation of the great plan, and he began to look for comrades. Some of them could not resist worldly temptations: for example, the Archangel Mirar, who became the musician Theophile Bele, fell in love with the café-chanting singer Bushogtu and turned into a despicable pacifist. On the contrary, the archangel Iturid, known as the Russian nihilist Zita, inflamed with even greater hatred of the heavenly kingdom, torn apart by class contradictions. Cherubim Istar, passionately in love with humanity, began to make graceful portable bombs in order to erect a bright city of joy and happiness on the wreckage of the vile old world. The participants in the conspiracy usually gathered at Théophile's, and Bouchotte gave them tea with undisguised disgust. In moments of despondency and grief, Arkady visited the gardener Nektarios with Zita. This still strong, ruddy old man was the closest companion of Lucifer and willingly told the young about the first uprising of the angels. When he brad the flute in his hands, birds flew to him and wild animals came running. Zita and Arkady listened to divine music, and it seemed to them that they were immediately listening to the muses, and to all nature, and to man.
Maurice d'Eparves, having lost his guardian angel, lost his former gaiety, and even carnal pleasures ceased to please him. The parents were alarmed, and Abbot Patouille declared that the boy was in a spiritual crisis. Indeed, Maurice placed an ad in the newspaper urging Arkady to return, but the angel, absorbed in the revolutionary struggle, did not respond. Fortune-tellers and soothsayers were also powerless to help Maurice. Then the young man began to bypass the shelters and taverns, where all the rabble gathered, mainly nihilists and anarchists. During these wanderings, Maurice made a pleasant acquaintance with a singer named Bushotta, where he met his beloved angel. Since Arkady categorically refused to fulfill his heavenly duties, Maurice decided to return his lost friend to the true path and first took him to a restaurant to eat oysters. Having learned about the suspicious acquaintances of his son, Rene d'Eparvier drove the unworthy offspring out of the house. Maurice had to move to a bachelor's apartment. By his negligence, a volume of Lucretius with Voltaire's notes ended up in the hands of the greedy and cunning antique dealer Guinardon.
Arkady settled with Maurice, to whom Gilbert still visited. On the memorable night of his departure, the angel made an indelible impression on her. Arkady, having become a man, learned human habits - in other words, he desired the wife of his neighbor. Offended by such treachery, Maurice broke with Gilbert and challenged Arcadius to a duel, although the angel tried to convince him that he had retained heavenly invulnerability. As a result, Maurice was wounded in the arm, and Arkady and Gilbert surrounded him with touching care. All three regained their lost innocence, and Arkady completely forgot about the old tyrant in heaven, but then Zita appeared with the news that the rebellious angels were ready to fall on the porphyry palace of Yaldabaoth.
The chairman of the Council of Ministers dreamed of uncovering some terrible conspiracy to please the people, filled with love for solid power. The fallen angels were under secret surveillance. Having drunk hard at the next meeting, Arkady, Istar and Maurice got involved in a skirmish with the police. Istar threw his famous bomb, which shook the earth, extinguished gas lamps and destroyed several houses. The next day, all the newspapers shouted about the unheard-of crime of anarchists, freemasons and syndicalists. Maurice d'Eparvier and the singer Bouchotte were soon arrested. Paris froze in painful bewilderment. Everyone knew that young Maurice, because of his royalist convictions, broke with his liberal father. Undoubtedly, they tried to discredit the courageous young man. Abbot Patouille vouched for him as for himself. People in the know said that this was the revenge of the Jews, because Maurice was a recognized anti-Semite. Catholic youth staged a protest demonstration. The victim of the slander was immediately released, and Rene d'Eparvier personally took his son home. The triumphant return of Maurice was somewhat overshadowed by a sad incident: M. Sariette, strangling Guinardon in a fit of rage, fell into a violent madness and began to throw books out of the window, and tore the volume of Lucretius with Voltaire's notes into small pieces.
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rebel angels considered everything that happened as a signal for the beginning of the uprising. Nektarios, Istar, Zita and Arkady departed for the etheric realm to ask the great archangel to lead the battle. Over the steep banks of the Ganges, they found the one they were looking for. The beautiful face of Satan was filled with sorrow, for the wisest of the angels saw beyond his followers. He promised to give an answer in the morning. At night he dreamed that the fortress of Jaldabaoth had fallen. The rebellious army burst into the thrice holy city, and the fearless Michael lowered his fiery sword at the feet of the triumphant. Then Satan proclaimed himself God, and the Almighty was cast into hell. The new ruler of heaven began to revel in praise and worship, while the proud unbroken Jaldabaoth languished in fiery hell. The face of the exiled was lit up with the light of wisdom, and his huge shadow enveloped the planet in a gentle twilight of love. Lucifer woke up in a cold sweat. Summoning his faithful companions, he announced that the defeated god would turn to Satan, and the victorious Satan would become a god. You need to destroy Jaldabaoth in your own hearts, overcoming ignorance and fear.