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Thais

Anatole France

Book Overview: 

The fourth century ascetic Paphnuce, journeys from his remote desert hermitage to urban Alexandria determined to locate the stunningly beautiful and libertine actress, Thais. He earnestly desires that she convert to Christianity. Gaining an audience by deception, the hermit passionately speaks to the actress of eternity. Remarkably, Thais repents and retires to a convent for the rest of her days. The hermit however, cannot rid his mind of her charms, not even with the help of the most severe austerities. After years of anguish the monk learns of Thais' immanent demise and hastens to her side. There he confesses the unspeakable.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .God and those produced by evil angels. Such discernment is useful to the hermit, who lives surrounded by apparitions, and who, in avoiding men, is sure to meet with spirits. The deserts are full of phantoms. When the pilgrims drew near the ruined castle, to which the holy hermit, Anthony, had retired, they heard a noise like that which goes up from the public square of a large city at a great festival. The noise was made by the devils, who were tempting the holy man.

Paphnutius remembered this memorable example. He also called to mind St. John the Egyptian, who for sixty years was tempted by the devil. But John saw through all the tricks of the demon. One day, however, the devil, having assumed the appearance of a man, entered the grotto of the venerable John, and said to him, "John, you must continue to fast until to-morrow evening." And John, believing that it was an angel who spoke, obeyed the voice of the demon, and fasted the next day until the vesper hour. . . Read More

Community Reviews

While staring at my bookshelves dedicated to literature Nobel Laureates (and a bunch of other books that didn't fit anywhere else), Thais fell into my hands.

I wasn't impressed with the book at first since I took it for yet another one of those conversions of the sinful woman by a holy...more

Thaïs = Tais, Anatole France (1844 - 1924)
Thaïs is a novel by French writer Anatole France, published in 1890. It is based on events in the life of Saint Thaïs of Egypt, a legendary convert to Christianity who is said to have lived in the 4th century. It was the inspiration for the opera of...more

This review is dedicated to T.R.G.T.

This novel presents the parallel story, of some sorts since it is intertwined, of a double metamorphosis.

On the one hand we have a beautiful courtesan. Thaïs, transforming from a state of golden splendor in which she relishes in her glamour and smiles to the pleasures tha...more

يبدو أن ارسطو كان محقا حين قال " الحب الذي ينتهي ليس حبا حقيقيا" ..فها هو بافنوس بعد سنوات من الرهبنة يحن إلى تلك الفتاة التي تعلق بها قلبه ( تاييس) فيجوب الصحار و يسافر ، بدافع من الرغبة فيها أخفاه وهم القداسة التي سولت له واجب انتشالها من مستنقع الفجور و الآثام التي تغرق فيه ، و هدايتها إلى الل...more

France mon amour
Di Anatole France, premio Nobel tra i più trascurati, avevo letto - con sommo divertimento, anzi, colgo l'occasione per consigliarlo, L'isola dei pinguini. Qui ho trovato una voce diversa, sempre critica e crudelmente ironica, che rivisita in maniera originale la storia (il mito?) di San Paf...more

حكاية الراهب بافنوس كاهن بلدة أنصينا تقع في صعيد مصر والغانية الحسناء تاييس التي تعيش في الإسكندرية. بطلا الرواية. التي تجري وقائعها في القرن الرابع الميلادي يمثلان للوهلة الأولى ثنائية الخير والشر أو الخطيئة والطهارة غير أن أناتول فرانس لا يهدف إلى تبيان هذا الفرز الحاد بقدر ما يسعى إلى استكشاف...more

" الناس يتألمون لأنهم محرومون مايظنونه خيرا ، وإذا نالوه خشوا أن يفقدوه .. أو لأنهم يعانون مايظنونه شرا ، فإذا بطل كل اعتقاد من هذا القبيل زالت جميع الشرور "

الرواية تناقش فكرة : الايمان الذى لم يختبر . اذا لم نوضع فى تجربة و نجتازها لن نعرف أبدا حقيقة أنفسنا و هويتنا. وحدها التجربة هى التى تكشف لنا و تزيل الغموض عن كينونة أنفسنا

I quote:

By having in mind the idea of original sin, refused to their bodies not only the pleasures and contentment but even those that care, according to the ideas of the century, are considered indispensable. They were united by the belief that diseases of our members purify our souls (..../>By

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