Most likely written in the 1760s but first published in 1805
I actually just read this novel in the last two hours. The reason that this post took so long to come up is because of my boundless ego. You can get this book free on eBooks. The catch is that it is only available in French (unless you want to pay like $85). I had one of those "inspired" moments and vowed to challenge myself by trying to comprehend the novel anyway. Consequently, I did not pick up the novel until today which is when I decided to Google it. 'Lo and behold, the full text is available online anyway. Isn't that the darnedest thing?
Now that I have dazzled you with my fascinating history, we can get on with the review. You are still reading right now which is, at least, a good sign. This novel is about 75 pages (maybe less) and consists of a dialogue between a traditional philosopher and a cynic. The traditional philosopher believes that virtues outweigh pleasures and that wealth is not that important. Rameau's (a famous composer) nephew trains his son to value money above all else and never learn music because it does not lead to money. Diderot, however, makes the nephew seem like the wise one and never makes him seem like a hypocrite. This was, of course, very controversial for the time because it criticized Parisian nobility.
I have really loved the Enlightenment authors so far and this was no exception. The entire novel reminded me of the conversations they had in movies like Diner or Reservoir Dogs (although a lot less dirty). Sometimes, I get in a really philosophical mood and just feeling like musing about everything. Of course, it is hard to do that without sounding really pretentious. Let those feelings out with this novel; it is free online!
Diderot did not publish this in his life time because he had already had some brushes with the law and wanted to avoid anymore jail time.
Click here for complete text.
This is a great video I found on YouTube that will help you get to know P.Didi as well as I do (that is a private joke between me and Diderot).