“No Tomorrow,” a Libertine Tale

Anatole France described Vivant Denon as a character who had stepped out of a Watteau’s painting. An artist and writer, Vivant Denon happens to be the first curator of Le Musée de Louvre. He left us hundreds of lithographs, valuable sketch books, and a famous libertine story, No Tomorrow. In fact he left us two versions of the same story, the 1777 version and the 1812 version. I would like to offer my reader an opportunity to compare the 1777 and 1812 variant openings, for these opening lines reflect remarkably the changes in tone that take place between the late XVIII and the early XIX centuries:

The countess took me as her lover without loving me; she cheated on me; and when I got mad, she left me; that was the sequence. Then I, who used to love her, decided to avenge myself and took her as a mistress when I no longer loved her (1777).

I loved the countess with all the naïveté of a twenty-year-old, and whenever she cheated on me, I would get mad; that is why she left me; but as soon as I repented, she took me back; so, in the end, because of my naïveté and in spite of being cheated, I remained her lover and the happiest of men (1812).


About versaillesgossip, before and after Francis Ponge

The author of the blogs Versailles Gossip and Before and After Francis Ponge, Vadim Bystritski lives and teaches in Brest France. The the three main themes of his literary endeavours are humor, the French Prose Poetry, the French XVII and XVIII Century Art and History. His writings and occasionally art has been published in a number of ezines (Eratio, Out of Nothing, Scars TV, etc). He also contributes to Pinterest where he comments on the artifiacts from the Louvre and other collections. Some of his shorter texts are in Spanish, Russian and French.
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