Short summary - Thaïs - Anatole France

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Thaïs
Anatole France

Micro-narration: The righteous man decides to bring a harlot to God, but she turns out to be a real daughter of God and after death ascends, and he falls in love with her and lusts until he loses his mind, for which demons drag him away.

Chapter I. Lotus

On both banks of the Nile, in Thebaid live Christians, desert monks. Among the monks, the most righteous Paphnutius after Anthony, who at the age of 100 retired to Mount Koltsin. Paphnutius was born in Alexandria and raised in paganism. Until the age of 20, he "boiled in a pot of false delights." After the priest's teaching, Macrina loved the crucified Christ. He was baptized, distributed property to the poor and became a monk. Once Paphnutius remembered the beautiful dancer Thais, who seduced everyone who watched her dance. Paphnutius himself was shy then and he had no money - this saved him. Now he takes pity on her and prays to the Lord to save the lost soul. Then he sees next to him a jackal (demon), who for the first time came so close. Paphnutius crosses himself and the jackal disappears. Paphnutius consults with Elder Panteleimon about his plan to save Thais. Panteleimon advises against doing this. Paphnutius sees a vision of Thais crying and decides that this is a sign. The next morning he follows her. He sees Thais in every flowering tree. Comes to Alexandria. He comes to the house of his old friend Nikiya, Pafnutius is beaten by Nikiya's servant, but lets him into the house. Painutius asks a friend for money, a tunic and sandals. The tunic is put on a hair shirt. Paphnutius tells his friend about his plans - to take Thais to the monastery on the same day. Leaves. A friend who had sinned with Thais became disgusting to him. While waiting for the evening and the heat to subside, he sleeps on the ropes and sees a dream about hell. Homer and Timocles are in hell, but they sing and do not pay attention to demons. It is not enough to die to see God. Those who have not learned the truth on earth will never know it. Sinners do not understand divine justice, they do not understand what they are condemned for, and God cannot make them suffer. To punish - you need to enlighten, and to enlighten - to assimilate to the true. Wakes up. On the street, everyone runs to the theater to look at Thais. Paphnutius goes too. Thais plays Polixena. At the end of the play, he preaches that a beautiful woman, like an immaculate lamb, will be sacrificed to the risen God. He goes to Thais and is allowed into her house.

Chapter II. Papyrus

Thais is the daughter of a pub owner. She spent all her childhood under the tables of a tavern, slept under drunken fights, danced to sailor songs. Her parents did not feed her and she took out money, sitting on the lap of the sailors. The only kind and loving being in her childhood is the slave Ahmes, a Christian. At the age of seven, he began to tell her about God. During Holy Week, Ahmes carried her in his arms to a Christian meeting in the dungeon, and she was baptized. When Thais was 11 years old, Ahmes was sentenced to death for missing a silver salt shaker, which he did not steal. He died a martyr's death and began to be venerated as Saint Theodore of Nubians. Thais thought that to be kind meant suffering. But she was afraid of pain. She happily followed the woman Meroya, who offered her to live with her for delicious cakes (she fed the children and taught them dances, and then gave them to the sailors for the night for a fee). Fell in love with the son of the proconsul Lolly, who was the first to say tender words to her. She refused him for a long time, because she loved, then he took her to his house, and they began to live together. Meroya, who came for the girl, was caught and sent to court. Then Thais realized that she didn’t love Lollia anymore and left him to go to work as a dancer in the theater. She became incredibly popular, her house was decorated with flowers, and money was strewn her way. Once she was walking at night and went to the church of John the Baptist, where there was a holiday, the memory of St. Theodore of the Nubian was honored. There Thais experiences religious ecstasy and kisses the tomb of a slave (Fedor). He returns home and chases away his then lover Nikiya with hatred. Shouts that he despises all the happy and all the rich. Decides to live like Fedor, but in the morning he does everything as usual. She is afraid that her beauty will disappear, that she will grow old. And then Paphnutius comes to her house. Begins to speak flattering words about her beauty. Thais warns him to be careful not to fall in love. He says he loves her in God and forever and ever. Promises her a heavenly wedding and bliss. Thais taunts him, she knows all kinds of love. He convinces her that the love she knows is shame. Thais is angry and indignant, but then she thinks that eternal life will give her a remedy against old age, which she is afraid of, and decides to surrender to him. Paphnutius shows her the hair shirt and tells her who he is. Thais asks to make sure that she does not die. He preaches to her, she cries and it seems that the truth has been revealed to her. But then the slaves come to dress her for dinner and she remembers that the men are waiting for her. The monk says he is going with her.

Chapter III. Feast The

heroes are having a feast. Thais frightens the women, who have begun to gossip about her and Paphnutius, with the fact that Paphnuy will rip out their hearts at night. Everyone is drinking to the genius of the empire, talking about what the fatherland is. (Sometimes the dialogues are given in the form of Plato's dialogues, where the name of the speaker is named before each line). The conversation is about Stoicism, then in honor of the guest they start talking about Christianity. Zenothemis interprets the biblical myth: the books of the Jews were dictated by the evil spirit of Jehovah, and the serpent was filled with light and love. In the early days, Jehovah frightened Adam and Eve with thunder and terrible visions. The serpent felt sorry for them, and he wanted to enlighten them so that they would grow wiser and not be afraid of visions. At first the serpent tried to teach Adam, but he was made of red clay and studied worse. Then the serpent began to teach Eve. One of the listeners thinks that Eve resembles Pallas, and Jehovah resembles Typhon. And the serpent, if he was smart, would not trust the truth to the female. It is logical that the snake is ignorant and evil, and it was simply easier to seduce a woman. Zenofen replies that the sublime truths are comprehended by the senses, and not by the mind, women more easily comprehend the divine. When Eve ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge, Jehovah saw and began to envy. Jehovah sent thunder, and the man did not have time to eat, he was frightened. The serpent lost. Pythagoras and Plato rediscovered the signs with which the serpent tried to enlighten the first people. Jesus, on the other hand, ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge and was a divine mind. Science is the first step to knowledge, true knowledge is comprehended only by inspiration. Continuing the conversation about cognition and government. Then Mark the Arian comes to the feast and Paphnutius is so afraid of the heretic that he clings to Thais's tunic. Poppy is nicknamed the Christian Plato and the audience respects him. They begin to ask him about the basic secrets of his faith. Mark says that God is one and immortal. He gave life to the only son who created everything. The Son had a beginning, and therefore was not eternal. It is absurd to think that he existed before he was born. (Paphnutius is baptized). The conversation is about good and evil. Philosophers think the world is a play. If you have the role of a beggar, then play it well. There is no good and evil, all are roles. Judas' betrayal was foretold and redemption is built on it. Zenothemis talks about redemption on earth. Eunoe created the earth, the angels were supposed to rule, but they sinned with earthly women. From this, a frantic and violent family was born. Eunoe cried and decided to incarnate in a body and live among them, so as not to leave her creation. She was born and named Elena. She was incredibly beautiful and began to indulge in fornication to atone for all fornication. She tasted of all the fruits that she sowed and after suffering she knew death. But after death she incarnated in another body and did the same path again. And until now, she takes upon herself the sins of the world, passing from body to body. The poet Callicrates says that the last incarnation of Eunoe is Thais. Everyone is drunk, the feast is coming to an end. All philosophers end up near Thais, but she rejects everyone. Eucritus, in the midst of a philosophical conversation, kills himself. Paphnutius and Thais lie side by side and hate everyone. Then they leave. Paphnutius passionately preaches his teaching. Thais agrees to Paphnutius taking her to the convent. Moreover, Albina (the daughter of Caesar, who converted to Christianity) serves there. Paphnutius persuades her to burn down her house. It is impossible to give people objects profaned by adultery. Everything she touched must be destroyed. Thais orders to take the tunic in which she washes the floors from the last of the slaves. Thais performs, but asks to spare the ancient sculpture of Eros, as it is a work of art. Moreover, love cannot be offended. But this sculpture was presented by Nikias and Paphnutius orders it to be burned. People from the city run to the fire. The merchants cry because Thais will not buy anything from them, and they will go broke, the young men cry because there will be no one to love them. Everyone blasphemes Christ, who takes Thais away from them. The beggars cry because there is no one to feed them. People are chanting "to the monk's gallows." Stones are thrown at the monk. Nikias tries to save him, but the crowd goes wild. Paphnutius covers himself with Thais. Nikias distracts the poor by scattering money. A dump begins, Nikias covers Thais and Paphnutius with a cloak and they run away. Nikias says goodbye to them, Paphnutius showered him with curses, calls him Satan and a corrosive poison. Nikias looks at him with love and forgives him everything. Paphnutius and Thais begin their journey to the monastery. Paphnutius on the way showered her with curses, does not give her food and water, and all the time imagines Nikiya in her bed. As a result, Paphnutius spits in her face. After a couple of days on the way, seeing her bloody footprints, he kisses her feet. Takes a donkey from a passing man and takes Thais on it. After many days they come to the monastery. Albina kisses her and gives her a place among the Mary women (these women do nothing, only pray). Paphnutius asks for a single cell for her. Thais rejoices at the tightness and confinement. Paphnutius personally seals the door of the cell.

Chapter IV. Euforbia

Paphnutius returns, the disciples know about everything and praise him. Only Pavel the Fool does not recognize Papnutius and is surprised. Paphnutius himself understands that he believed in another person, his cell does not please him. When she closes her eyes, Thais sees. Paphnutius rejoices and thinks that God is so grateful to him. But for 30 days the image of Thais is in front of him. Jackals climb onto his bed and laugh in his face. Paphnutius begins to suspect that his visions are not from God. He suffers, and Thais dreams of being naked and comes to his bed. Seven jackals enter and climb under his bed. Soon 80 jackals, small as rats, are running around his cell. Paphnutius wants to go into the desert and mortify himself, consults with the elder Palemon. The elder says that Paphnutius too quickly moved from secular life to loneliness and, on the contrary, he should go to the surrounding monasteries, to people. Paphnutius does not listen to him. He has a dream about sitting on a pillar. He leaves his filthy cell and goes into the desert. Comes to the ruins of a pagan temple. One of the columns with a capital in the form of a woman's head with cow horns on her forehead seems to be quite high. He brings a ladder from the village, climbs onto a column, prays to God. Going to stay there until death. People bring him food and water, and the boys deliver him to the post. Little space, so cannot sleep. The hawks strike him with their wings. A pious carpenter builds a shed for him so that he does not get wet in the rain and does not die from the sun. The disciples come to Paphnutius and ask them to build huts at the foot of the pillar. Paphnutius preaches from the pillar. Abbots Serapion and Ephraim come to see and condemn his act. This is not by the rules and is just stupid. But he continues to persist. Many try to imitate him on other columns. Traders come here and sell food and water to pilgrims. Around the column there is a bazaar. Zucchini are being built next to the temple, and a barber shop is working. The city and the school are growing. Paphnutius begins to heal, especially barren women. Paphnutius is covered with ulcers, but when he closes his eyes, Thais can still see. The chief of the Alexandrian fleet, Cotta, comes to see him. He remembers how Paphnutius feasted at his place and how he kidnapped his dancer. He orders his scribe to write down that some Christian sects consider it laudable to kidnap courtesans and live on pillars. There are legends about Pafnutius. Paphnutius himself hears the prophecy to dismount and go to Caesar Constantius, convert him to Christianity and become the head of the Church. When Paphnutius is about to get off, the same voice says that getting down the stairs is vulgar and human, Paphnutius must jump off. When Paphnutius is about to jump, the voice laughs. The demon tells him that he is pleased with him, his behavior and obedience. Paphnutius understands everything that he has done, driven by a demon, climbs down the stairs and runs away, and the dogs bark at him. He reaches the abandoned city, chases away the snakes from one empty rich crypt and lies there. A voice tells him to look at the paintings in the crypt. The paintings depict the life of a pagan buried in a crypt. His dinners, his children, his love. Paphnutius understands that this pagan lived, and he will die without having experienced life. From that day on, Paphnutius dreams of love, passion and female beauty. It is revealed to him that Thais is the very Spartan Helena, the very Eunoe, who atones for the sins of the world. Eunoe offers him atonement for sins, you just need to love her. And if he does not agree, then after his death she will love his dead body. Persuades him to kiss her. Paphnutius sees various heretical and seducing visions. He dreams that man is a hymn to God, that happiness is not sinful. Demons are not afraid and beat and rob him. Paphnutius decides to do manual labor, turns banana skins into fibers, weaves ropes, and from them baskets. But again the vision that he lies on the girl, and she wants to leave. He cries and begs her to stay, but she leaves anyway. Paphnutius falls unconscious, defeated by demons. When he comes to his senses, monks with palm branches drive out demons from him. All people thought that Paphnutius was carried away by the seraphim. Only Paul the Fool said that demons dragged him away. Paphnutius believes that everything sensual is disgusting, and a woman is the totality of all temptations. Saint Zosima confesses to him. Everyone goes to meet St. Anthony, descending from the mountain. Paphnutius asks Anthony for blessing, but he ignores him, but talks to the holy fool Paul. The holy fool announces that the righteous woman Thais of Alexandria is dying and that three demons Pride, Lust and Doubt are holding Pafnutius. When Paphnutius learns that Thais is dying, he only wants to see her again. Understands that God is nothing compared to the grace that Thais would give. Curses God for not letting Thais kiss him. He wants to kill everyone she loved. He rejoices when he imagines how he would kill them. Paphnutius comes to the monastery where Thais left, he is told about her righteousness and modesty. Paphnutius sobs at the bed of the dying Thais and shouts that he loves her. God for him is nothing, only earthly love is happiness. Thais sees God and ascends (dies). Paphnutius kisses her lifeless body. He becomes disgusting and the nuns scatter screaming "vampire". Albina screams for him to get out of here.