Sunday, August 6

The Sentimental Education - Gustave Flaubert (1869)


"I once spent a year in the manuscript room of the old French National Library on the Rue de Richelieu. Toward the end of my stay, the curator offered to give me a going-away present: a day at my carrel with any manuscript in her archives. I had nearly all of French literature to choose from, but there was no contest. I asked for Flaubert's 'The Sentimental Education.' This greatest Bildungsroman, one of the first modern novels, tells the mock-epic, tragicomic story of Frédéric Moreau, a provincial dilettante who fritters away an inheritance on the wrong women, friends, pleasures, investments, and causes, and whose ambitions are thwarted as methodically as his illusions are demolished. The book was published in 1869, thirteen years after 'Madame Bovary,' to excoriating reviews. Writers of an ironic temperament revere it for the qualities that have alienated the larger reading public: its arduous purity of style; its uncompromising pessimism, free of cant; and its refusal to ennoble human nature. ..."
New Yorker: An Unsimple Heart
W - Sentimental Education
NYBooks: Flaubert and the Sentimental Education (April 1971)
Washington Post: ‘Flaubert in the Ruins of Paris,’ by Peter Brooks
amazon: Sentimental Education, Flaubert in the Ruins of Paris: The Story of a Friendship, a Novel, and a Terrible Year

2012 August: On Cataloguing Flaubert, 2013 March: Sentimental Education - 1(1869), 2016 December: Three Tales (1877)

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