Denis Diderot

Jacques the Fatalist

You've got another twenty or so years of happy sinning ahead of you. Don't miss out on it. 130

In all honesty, the merit of being morally superior to me is not worth the sacrifice. 130

Madame de la Pommeraye said to herself: 'I am suffering, but I will not suffer alone. Cruel man. I do not know how long my torments will last but I will make yours last forever.'

Sometimes their heart continues for the rest of their life to feel the injury just as deeply as in the first moment, and what is wrong or unjust about that? 151

The populace is hungry for something to look at and goes there because it enjoys seeing it and even more enjoys telling others about it afterwards. The populace is terrible in its fury but that does not last long. Its own poverty has made it compassionate and it turns its eyes away from the spectacle of horror which it has gone to see, is moved to pity and goes home crying. 165

And what is this, Reader? One love story after another! That makes one, two, three four love stories I've told you and three or four more still to come. That is a lot of love stories. It is also a fact that since I am writing for you I must either go without your applause or follow your taste, and you have shown a decided taste for these stories. All of your works, whether in prose or verse, are love stories. Nearly all your poems, elegies, tragedies and poems are love stories. Nearly all your paintings and sculptures are no more than love stories. Love stories have been your only food ever since you existed, and you show no sign of ever growing tired of them. You have been kept on this diet and will be kept on it for a very long time to come, all of you, men, women and children, both big and small, and you will never grow tired of it. 166

If you are innocent you will not read my work. If, on the other hand, you are depraved, you may read me without consequence. 200

Filthy hypocrites. Leave me in peace. Fuck away like unsaddled asses but allow me to say 'fuck.' I allow you the action. Allow me the word. You boldly use words like 'kill,' steal,' 'betray' all the time but only dare to pronounce that word under your breath. Might it be that the less you allow such supposed impurities to pass your lips the more they remain in your thoughts? And what has a thing so natural so right and so necessary as sexual intercourse done to you that you should exclude the word for it from your conversation and imagine that your mouth, your eyes and your ears will be sullied by it? 200–201