Thérèse philosophe / Therese the Philosopher (1748)

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Thérèse philosophe / Therese the Philosopher (1748)


[Argens, Jean-Baptiste de Boyer d’(?)]. Thérèse philosophe, ou Mémoires pour servir à l’hi[s]toire du P[ère] Dirrag et de Mademoiselle Éradice. La Haye, 186... [Bruxelles: Poulet-Malassis, c1865]. Kinsey Institute Library: 843.6 A68 t3 1865.


One of the most popular French libertine novels of the eighteenth-century, Thérèse philosophe [Therese the philosopher], first published in 1748 and continually reprinted thereafter, is an erotic version of a roman philosophique [philosophical novel], in which fictional characters discuss ethical and metaphysical questions, as in works by Voltaire, Denis Diderot, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, among others. The philosophical dimension is not absent in Thérèse philosophe, which notably deals with the question of atheism; this soon gives way, however, to obscene or pornographic themes. The novel nevertheless contains social criticism concerning the sexual oppression of women and the abuse of religious authority (the young protagonist Therese having been confined in a convent against her will). The copy here exhibited, clandestinely published by Auguste Poulet-Malassis in Belgium around 1865, includes twenty eighteenth-century engravings attributed to Antoine Borel (1743-1810).

First edition:

Full text of the 1910 edition:


“Thérèse philosophe / Therese the Philosopher (1748),” Banned Books, accessed July 13, 2024,

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