Antoine-François Prévost: Manon Lescaut

(2484 words)
  • Rori Bloom (University of Florida )

Although Antoine-François Prévost was an exceedingly prolific author of multi-volume works, he is best known today for one short work, Histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut. The novel was published in 1731, but set several years earlier during the Regency period, a time of new freedoms and pleasures after the death of the long-reigning Louis XIV. The couple in the title are a Parisian Romeo and Juliet, a pair of young lovers separated by social prejudices, and while Des Grieux’s evocation of his passion for Manon uses the language of Racinian tragedy, the couple’s adventures in the Parisian underworld cast this novel as a forerunner to Balzacian realism.

From its first publication, readers …

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Bloom, Rori. "Manon Lescaut". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 August 2015
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]