When Jonathan Died  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

When Jonathan Died is a novel by Tony Duvert, translated by D.R. Roberts. It was first published in France as Quand Mourut Jonathan in 1978.

Plot introduction

Jonathan is a 27-year-old artist living in Paris who befriends a single mother and her six-year-old son, Serge. When Serge is eight, his mother asks Jonathan to look after him for a week, which they spend together at Jonathan's country house in southern France.

Plot summary

Jonathan and Serge become intimate friends and their intimacy is highly erotic and sexual. Jonathan, smitten with the boy, is distraught when Serge returns to Paris. They are thrust together again when Serge is age ten and their frequent sex continues. Serge is, sexually, a very demanding child and Jonathan obliges his every whim. Eventually, the molestation graduates to anal sex.

While Jonathan and Serge are separated, the sexual side of Jonathan's paedophile desires begins to dominate his behaviour. He eventually seeks out other young boys and encounters several in anonymous sexual liaisons; he is rejected by some and finds no real satisfaction in sex with the others.

Serge, fatherless and miserable at home with his aloof and demeaning mother, decides to run away to be with Jonathan. He sets off to find him, but becomes overwhelmed by hopelessness, and when confronted with a busy road to cross at night, commits suicide by throwing himself under a fast-moving car.

The story is not narrated by Jonathan, but it is told in some parts from his point of view. The novel is an unusually frank depiction of love between a man and a boy, and presents what Duvert considers such relationships' potential faults and beauty. The story forms a part of Duvert's radical critique of present-day Western culture's views and valuation of the nuclear family, child sexuality, sexual abuse, paedophile desires, and the nature of love.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "When Jonathan Died" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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