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Rétif/Restif de la Bretonne (1734 - 1806)

Related: France - foot fetishism - French literature


Nicolas-Edme Rétif (October 23, 1734 - February 2, 1806), called Rétif de la Bretonne, French novelist, son of a farmer, was born at Sacy (Yonne). [The term retifism was named after him.]

He was educated by the Jansenists at Bictre, and on the expulsion of the Jansenists was received by one of his brothers, who was a curé. Owing to a scandal in which he was involved, he was apprenticed to a printer at Auxerre, and, having served his time, went to Paris. Here he worked as a journeyman printer, and in 1760 he married Anne or Agnès Lebgue, a relation of his former master at Auxerre.

It was not until five or six years after his marriage that Rétif appeared as an author, and from that time to his death he produced a bewildering multitude of books, amounting to something like two hundred volumes, many of them printed with his own hand, on almost every conceivable variety of subject. Rétif suffered at one time or another the extremes of poverty and was acquainted with every kind of intrigue. He drew on the episodes of his own life for his books, which, in spite of their faded sentiment, contain truthful pictures of French society on the eve of the Revolution.

The most noteworthy of his works are:

The original editions of these, and indeed of all his books, have long been bibliographical curiosities owing to their rarity, the beautiful and curious illustrations which many of them contain, and the quaint typographic system in which most are composed. In 1795 he received a gratuity of 2000 francs from the government, and just before his death Napoleon gave him a place in the ministry of police, which he did not live to take up.

Rétif de la Bretonne undoubtedly holds a remarkable place in French literature. He was inordinately vain, of extremely relaxed morals, and perhaps not entirely sane. His books were written with haste, and their licence of subject and language renders them quite unfit for general perusal.

The works of C Monselet, Rétif de la Bretonne (1853), and P Lacroix, Bibliographie et iconographie (1875), J Asszat's selection from the Contemporaines, with excellent introductions (3 vols., 1875), and the valuable reprint of Monsieur Nicolas (14 vols., 1883-1884), will be sufficient to enable even curious readers to form a judgment of him. His life, written by his contemporary Cubières-Palmezeaux, was republished in 1875. See also Eugène Duhren, Rétif de la Bretonne, der Mensch, der Schriftsteller, der Reformator (Berlin, 1906), and a bibliography, Rétif-Bibliothek (Berlin, 1906), by the same author. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%E9tif_de_la_Bretonne [Jan 2005]


Restif de la Bretonne, Nicolas Edme , 1734–1806, French novelist. A printer by trade, he wrote and published over 250 novels, mostly based on incidents in his own rather libertine life. His detailed realism earned him the epithets “the Rousseau of the gutter” and “the Voltaire of the chambermaids.” He was the author of many tracts on social reform. Outstanding among his novels are Le Pied de Fanchette (1769), Le Paysan perverti (1775), Les Parisiennes (1787), and Monsieur Nicolas (16 vol., 1794–97; tr., 6 vol., 1930–31).--The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2004, Columbia University Press.


1734 Naissance à Sacy, le 23 octobre, dans une maison proche de l'église, de Nicolas Restif. Fils d'Edme Restif, lieutenant du baillage de Sacy dont Restif de la Bretonne, devenu écrivain, retracera l'histoire dans "La vie de mon père". 1742 Installation de la famille Restif à la ferme de la Bretonne. 1747 Restif rejoint en décembre le curé de Courgis près de Chablis. 1750 Restif prend un intérêt trop vif aux beautés de Courgis. On l'oblige à interrompre ses études. Il regagne Sacy, où il va passer huit mois, occupé aux travaux des champs. 1751-1755 Restif fait son apprentissage chez Maître Fournier, imprimeur à Auxerre. 1755 Restif est reçu Compagnon le 9 mai, et quitte Auxerre pour Paris. 1755-1759 Restif découvre à Paris sa vocation d'écrivain durant ces années de compagnonnage dans les ateliers d'imprimerie. 1760 Restif revient à Auxerre où il se marie avec Agnés Lebègue. 1760-1767 Restif vit des années difficiles. Employé chez Quillot qu'il quitte, il commence à écrire et à imprimer lui même. "La famille vertueuse " est rédigée en 1767 1775 Parution du "Paysan perverti ou les dangers de la ville", premier succès de Restif de la Bretonne. 1780 A quarante six ans, Restif s'éprend de Sara, sa jeune voisine. Il compose "La paysanne pervertie". 1784 "La paysanne pervertie" parait en quatre volumes. Restif commence à rédiger ses "Confessions" qui deviendront "Monsieur Nicolas". 1786 Restif de la Bretonne ébauche "Les nuits de Paris". 1787 Restif de la Bretonne écrit "Le Paysan et la Paysanne pervertis". Il fréquente les cercles brillants et éclairés. 1789-1793 Pendant la révolution, Restif vit modestement à Paris, rue de la Bûcherie. Il compose "Les nuits de Paris", "Les Dames Nationales", le "Drame de la vie". 1806 Restif de la Bretonne meurt le 3 février à l'âge de 72 ans, après avoir écrit 203 volumes.

The Anti-Justine : or, the Joys of Eros (1798) - Restif de la Bretonne

The Anti-Justine : or, the Joys of Eros (1798) - Restif de la Bretonne [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
The Anti-Justine is a pornographic novelization of Restif de la Bretonne's own life and sexual debauches, which the author tried to defend "morally" by declaring his book to be an "antidote" to the supposed poison of de Sade; yet the book is a monumental odyssey of sexual depravity that often rivals de Sade in its relentless explicitness.

First published in 1798, this erotic classic is now published in a brand new translation. This novel was de la Breton's attempt to write something even more obscene than the books of his arch-rival de Sade. It is one of the last classic of erotica currently out-of-print and this new edition will restore it to an avid readership.

Newly translated by Julian Jones and with an introductory essay by Dr. Iwan Bloch, biographer of the Marquis de Sade.

About the Author
Next to the Marquis de Sade the most famous erotic writer of the Revolutionary period was the productive Restif (Retif) de la Bretonne (1734–1806). His other works include Pornography, and nights of Paris.

Le Pied de Fanchette - Le paysan perverti () - Restif de la Bretonne

Le Pied de Fanchette - Le paysan perverti () - Restif de la Bretonne [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

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