Short summary - Le Roman bourgeois - Antoine Furetière

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Le Roman bourgeois
Antoine Furetière

The publisher warns the reader that this book was written not so much for entertainment as with an edifying purpose.
The author promises to tell without fancy a few love stories that happened to people who cannot be called heroes, because they do not command armies, do not destroy states, but are just ordinary Parisian burghers, walking slowly along their life path.
On one of the big holidays young Javotta collected donations in the church on Place Maubert. Collecting donations is a touchstone that unmistakably determines the beauty of the girl and the power of love of her fans. The one who donated the most was considered the most in love, and the girl who collected the greatest amount was considered the most beautiful. Nicodemus fell in love with Zhavotta at first sight. Although she was the daughter of an attorney, and Nicodemus was a lawyer, he began to look after her as is customary in secular society. A diligent reader of Cyrus and Clelia, Nicodemus tried to be like their heroes. But when he asked Zhavotga to honor him and allow him to become her servant, the girl replied that she could do without servants and knew how to do everything herself. She responded to Nicodemus's exquisite compliments with such innocence that she was bewildered by the gentleman. To get to know Zhavotga better, Nikodem made friends with her father Volishon, but this was of little use: the shy Zhavotta, when he appeared, either retired to another room, or remained silent, constrained by the presence of her mother, who did not leave her even a step. To be able to speak freely with the girl, Nicodemus had to announce his desire to marry. After examining the inventory of Nicodemus's movable and immovable property, Volichon agreed to sign a contract and made an announcement in the church.
Many readers will be indignant: the novel is somehow scanty, completely without intrigue, the author starts right from the wedding, while it should be played only at the end of the tenth volume. But if the readers have even a drop of patience, the way will wait, because, "as they say, a lot can happen on the way from the glass to the mouth." The author would have had nothing to do so that in this place the heroine of the novel was kidnapped and in the future she was kidnapped as many times as the author wants to write volumes, but since the author promised not a ceremonial performance, but a true story, he directly admits that marriage this was prevented by an official protest made on behalf of a certain person named Lucretius, who claimed that she had a written promise from Nicodemus to marry her.
The story of a young city dweller Lucretia
The daughter of a rapporteur of the judicial board, she was orphaned early and remained in the care of her aunt, the wife of a middle-class lawyer. Lucrezia's aunt was an inveterate gambler, and every day guests gathered in the house, who came not so much for a card game as for a beautiful girl. Lucretia's dowry was invested in some dubious business, but she nevertheless refused the solicitors and wanted to marry at least the auditor of the Audit Chamber or the state treasurer, believing that it was such a husband that corresponded to the size of her dowry according to the marriage rate. The author notifies the reader that modern marriage is a combination of one amount of money with another, and even provides a table of suitable parties to help people getting married. Once in the church Lucretia was seen by a young marquis. She charmed him at first sight, and he began to look for an opportunity to make acquaintance with her. He was lucky: driving in a carriage along the street where Lucrezia lived, he saw her on the threshold of the house: she was waiting for late guests. The Marquis opened the door and leaned out of the carriage to bow and try to strike up a conversation, but then a horseman rushed along the street, splashing mud at both the Marquis and Lucretius. The girl invited the Marquis into the house to clean up or wait for fresh linen and clothes to be brought to him. The petty bourgeois from among the guests began to mock the Marquis, mistaking him for an unlucky provincial, but he answered them so wittily that he aroused Lucretia's interest. She allowed him to be at their house, and he appeared the very next day. Unfortunately, Lucretia did not have a confidante, and the Marquis did not have a squire: usually it is to him that the heroes of the novels retell their secret conversations. But lovers always say the same thing, and if readers open Amadis, Cyrus or Astrea, they will immediately find everything they need there. The Marquis captivated Lucretia not only with his pleasant appearance and social life, but also with wealth. However, she gave in to his harassment only after he made a formal promise to marry her. Since the relationship with the Marquis was secret, the fans continued to besiege Lucretia. Among the fans was Nicodemus. Once (this happened shortly before meeting Zhavotta) Nicodemus, in a temper, also gave Lucretia a written promise to marry her. Lucretia did not intend to marry Nicodemus, but still kept the document. On occasion, she boasted of it to her neighbor, the attorney for public affairs, Wilflatten. Therefore, when Volichon told Wilflatten that he was marrying his daughter to Nicodemus, he, without Lucretia's knowledge, protested on her behalf. By this time, the marquis had already managed to abandon Lucretius, having stolen his marriage obligation before that. Lucrezia was expecting a child from the Marquis, and she needed to get married before her position became noticeable. She reasoned that if she won the case, she would get a husband, and if she lost, she could declare that she did not approve of the lawsuit initiated by Wilflatten without her knowledge.
Upon learning of Lucretia's protest, Nicodemus decided to buy her off and offered her two thousand crowns so that the case was immediately dropped. Lucrezia's uncle, who was her guardian, signed the agreement without even informing her niece. Nicodemus hurried to Zhavotte, but after being convicted of debauchery, her parents had already changed their minds to marry her off as Nicodemus and managed to find her a richer and more reliable groom - boring and mean Jean Bedoux. Bede's cousin - Laurent - introduced Bede to Javotte, and the old bachelor liked the girl so much that he wrote her a pompous love letter, which the simple-minded Javotta gave her father without printing. Laurent introduced Javotta to one of the fashionable circles in Paris. The hostess of the house where the society gathered was a special, very educated, but hid her knowledge as something shameful. Her relative was her complete opposite and tried to flaunt her learning. The writer Charosel (an anagram of Charles Sorel) complained that the publishers stubbornly refused to publish his works, even the fact that he was holding a carriage, which immediately showed a good writer, did not help. Filalet read his "Tale of the Lost Cupid". Pancras fell in love with Javotta at first sight, and when she said that she would like to learn to speak as fluently as other young ladies, he sent her five volumes of Astrea, after reading which Javotta felt an ardent love for Pancras. She resolutely refused Nicodemus, which made her parents very happy, but when it came to signing a marriage contract with Jean Bedoux, she quit childish obedience and flatly refused to pick up a pen. The angry parents sent the obstinate daughter to the monastery, and Jean Bedou soon consoled himself and thanked God for delivering him from the horns that inevitably threatened him if he married Javotte. Thanks to generous donations, Pancras visited his beloved in the monastery every day, the rest of the time she devoted to reading novels. After rereading all the romance novels, Zhavotta got bored. Since her parents were ready to take her out of the monastery only if she agreed to marry Beda (they did not know that he had already changed his mind to marry), Zhavotta accepted Pancras's offer to take her away.
Lucretia became very devout and retired to a monastery, where she met and became friends with Javotta. When it was time for her to give birth, she informed her friends that she needed solitude and asked her not to disturb her, and she herself, leaving the monastery and relieved of the burden, moved to another monastery, known for the strictness of the charter. There she met Laurence, who was visiting a nun friend. Loranet decided that Lucretia would be a good wife to her cousin, and Bedu, who, after his failure with the windy Javotta, decided to marry a girl taken straight from the monastery, married Lucretia. Readers will learn about whether they lived happily or unhappily in marriage if the fashion comes to describe the lives of married women.
At the beginning of the second book, in an address to the reader, the author warns that this book is not a continuation of the first and there is no connection between them. This is a series of small adventures and incidents, as for the connection between them, the author leaves it to the binder to take care of it. The reader should forget that this is a novel and read the book as separate stories about all sorts of everyday events.
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The Story of Charosel, Colantina and Belatra
Charosel did not want to be called a writer and wanted to be considered a nobleman and nothing more, although his father was just a lawyer. Evil-tongued and envious, Charosel did not tolerate other people's fame, and every new work created by others hurt him, so life in France, where there are many bright minds, was torture for him. In his younger years, he had some success, but as soon as he switched to more serious essays, his books ceased to be sold and, except for the proofreader, no one read them. If the author wrote the novel according to all the rules, it would be difficult for him to come up with adventures for his hero, who never knew love and devoted his whole life to hate. The longest was his affair with a girl who had the same evil disposition as his. It was the daughter of a bailiff named Colantina. They met in court, where Kolantina was conducting several litigations at the same time. Appearing to Colantine on a visit, Charosel tried to read her some of his works, but she incessantly talked about her litigation, not allowing him to insert a word. They parted very pleased with the fact that they annoyed each other. The stubborn Charosel decided at all costs to force Colantine to listen to at least some of his works and regularly visited her. Once Charosel and Kolantina had a fight because Kolantina did not want to consider him a nobleman. Colantine got less, but she screamed louder and, rubbing her hands with graphite and sticking several plasters, she got monetary compensation and an order for the arrest of Charosel. The frightened Charosel took refuge in the country house of one of his friends, where he began to write satire on Colantine and on the entire female sex. Charosel made acquaintance with a certain attorney from Châtelet, who opened a case against Colantine and achieved the cancellation of the previous court order. The successful outcome of the case for Charosel, not only did not restore Colantine against him, but even elevated him in her eyes, for she decided to marry only the one who would defeat her in a judicial duel, just as Atlanta decided to give her love to the one who would defeat her on the run. So, after the trial, the friendship between Charosel and Colantine became even closer, but then Charosel had a rival - the third chit-maker, the ignorant Belatr, with whom Kolantina had an endless litigation. Confessing his love to Kolantina, Belatr said that he fulfills the Gospel law, which tells a person to love his enemies. He threatened to institute criminal proceedings against Colantina's eyes, which had ruined him and stolen his heart, and promised to obtain a conviction for them, with personal arrest and compensation for the archpriest and damages. Belatr's speeches were much nicer than Colantine's than Charosel's. Inspired by his success, Belatr sent a love letter to Colantina, replete with legal terms. Her respect for Belatr grew, and she considered him worthy of even more fierce persecution. During one of their skirmishes, Belatra's secretary entered, bringing him an inventory of the property of the late Mifofilakt for his signature (under this name, Furetier brought himself out). Everyone became interested in the inventory, and the secretary Volateran began to read. After listing the pitiful furniture and orders of the testator, there followed a catalog of Mythofilakt's books, among which was The General French Fool, The Poetic Dictionary, and the Encyclopedia of Initiations in four volumes, the table of contents of which, as well as the rate of various types of praise, was read aloud by the secretary. Belatr proposed to Kolantina, but the need to end the litigation with him became an obstacle to marriage. Charosel also asked for Colantine's hand and received consent. It is difficult to say what prompted him to take this step, probably, he married in spite of himself. The young people did nothing but curse: even during the wedding feast, several scenes took place that vividly reminded the battle of the centaurs with the lapiths. Kolantina demanded a divorce and started a lawsuit with Charosel. “They have been in litigation all the time, they are in litigation now, and they will be in litigation for as many years as the Lord God wills to let them live.