Book 22 of 50 – Paul et Virginie

Paul et Virginie by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre is a classic French novel of the 18th century. I bought my copy a long time ago, in 1992, in Romania, but never read it.

Paul et Virginie

My copy of “Paul et Virginie”

The story fits the century in which de Saint-Pierre lived. On Mauritius, a French colony at the time, two single mothers (one widowed and the other never wed) raise a daughter and a son almost as siblings. When puberty kicks in and the platonic feelings turn to romantic, Paul and Virginie face some choices.

Virginie’s aunt from France writes, inviting Virginie to live with her and become her heiress. French society would open all sorts of good marriage prospects to Virginie. Will she choose to stay on a poor island off the coast of Africa or travel to France and gain a title, an inheritance, and a wealthy husband?

Paul et Virginie inside pages

Paul et Virginie inside pages showing my name, date, and location where I bought it

De Saint-Pierre hung out with Jean-Jacques Rousseau and that should tell you about his philosophy. Paul et Virginie extols nature and virtue while railing against French nobility’s values.

You can find it in French for free on Amazon sometimes, on Kindle. Of course, you can get an English copy at any time at your local library or from a bookstore.

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