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by Frederick Brown

ePub Flaubert: A Biography download
Author:
Frederick Brown
ISBN13:
978-0316118781
ISBN:
0316118788
Language:
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company; First Edition edition (April 6, 2006)
Category:
Subcategory:
Arts & Literature
ePub file:
1638 kb
Fb2 file:
1952 kb
Other formats:
txt mbr azw doc
Rating:
4.8
Votes:
293

Flaubert: A Biography. National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist for Biography

Flaubert: A Biography. National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist for Biography. A New York Times Notable Book. Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. In this riveting landmark biography, Frederick Brown illuminates the life and career of the author of Madame Bovary. He describes Flaubert's fraught relationship with his longtime mistress Louise Colet, his liaisons with many other women, and his friendships with luminaries such as Turgenev and Zola.

Includes bibliographical references (p. -608) and index

Includes bibliographical references (p. -608) and index

Frederick Brown tries to encompass Flaubert's massive . Frederick Brown tries to encompass Flaubert's massive, contradictory nature in a huge biography of literature's most obsessional stylist, says Adam Thorpe.

Frederick Brown tries to encompass Flaubert's massive, contradictory nature in a huge biography of literature's most obsessional stylist, says Adam Thorpe. Sat 29 Jul 2006 0. 3 BST First published on Sat 29 Jul 2006 0. 3 BST.

Brown, Frederick, Flaubert: a Biography, Little, Brown; 2006. Barnes, Julian, Flaubert's Parrot, London: J. Cape; 1984. Fleming, Bruce, Saving Madame Bovary: Being Happy With What We Have, Frederic C. Beil, 2017. ISBN 978-1-929490-53-0.

Flaubert: A Biography. You lament the monotony of ass," Flaubert wrote to his young disciple Guy de Maupassant in 1878, two years before the master's death of a heart attack at age fifty-eight. There's a simple remedy for that-don't avail yourself of i. Maupassant had complained that he was as bored with women's asses as he was with men's minds.

Brown's exhaustive biography of the great French stylist is a natural companion to his smart, significant Zola (1995). Get weekly book recommendations

Brown's exhaustive biography of the great French stylist is a natural companion to his smart, significant Zola (1995). Brown’s exhaustive biography of the great French stylist is a natural companion to his smart, significant Zola (1995).

In his biography of Flaubert, Frederick Brown compares the narrator to other literary adolescents, such .

In his biography of Flaubert, Frederick Brown compares the narrator to other literary adolescents, such as Chateaubriand's Rene (1802), Antoine François Prévost's Chevalier des Grieux (1731), Goethe's Young Werther (1734), Musset's Octave and others, who also fail to become adults due to their inability to reach maturity (psychological), although parents are not mentioned in November, unlike similar contemporary. Marie, in Frederick Brown's interpretation, is understood to be a fictionalised rendition of Eulalie Foucauld, the Toulon innkeeper who provided Flaubert with his own sexual initiation in 1840.

From the highly acclaimed author of Zola: A Life comes the definitive biography of Gustave Flaubert, author of Madame Bovary. From the highly acclaimed author of Zola: A Life comes the definitive biography of Gustave Flaubert, author of Madame Bovary. Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880), whose Madame Bovary outraged the right-thinking bourgeoisie, is now brought to life as the singular person and artist he was.

From the highly acclaimed author of Zola: A Life comes the definitive biography of Gustave Flaubert, author of Madame Bovary.Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880), whose Madame Bovary outraged the right-thinking bourgeoisie, is now brought to life as the singular person and artist he was. As Frederick Brown reveals, Flaubert was fraught with contradiction--a sedentary man who took epic voyages through Egypt and the Middle East; a man of genius who could be flamboyantly uncouth, but was fanatically devoted to beautifully cadenced prose. While making much of his camaraderie with male friends, Flaubert depended upon the emotional nurture of maternal women, notably George Sand, with whom he engaged in a justly celebrated correspondence. His assorted mistresses--French, Egyptian, and English--fed both his richly erotic imagination and his fictional characters, and his letters provide a record of them.Flaubert's time and place literally put him on trial for portraying lewd behavior in Madame Bovary. His milieu also made him a celebrity and, indirectly, brought about his financial ruin. Flaubert died suddenly at the age of fifty-nine, and soon afterward, his beloved retreat near Rouen was torn down and converted into a distillery to cover his niece's debts. He privately dreamed of popular success, which he in fact achieved with Madame Bovary, but never sacrificed to it his ideal of artistic integrity. Frederick Brown's magisterial biography honors his subject's life, times, and legacy.
  • Gustave Flaubert has never occupied a central place in my thoughts, nor in my reading experience. However, he is known as the teacher or inspiration for a legion of famous writers---Zola, de Maupassant, Turgenev, Daudet, Kafka, Vargas Llosa and many a 20th century French philosopher. "Madame Bovary" is on everyone's list of great novels of world literature. So, I decided to read Brown's FLAUBERT to find out more about this author because I knew very little.
    The news is that in FLAUBERT you will find out far, far more than you ever wanted to know, unless you are a French Literature major (or professor) and need to dig deep. This is no doubt one of those masterworks which appear from time to time on great writers or figures in world history. Every detail of Flaubert's 58 years in this vale of tears is here, dug from letters, documents, and no doubt thousands of devoured pages by the indefatigable Brown. Everything is laid out in a vast panorama of 570 pages. In the first forty pages alone you will read about the state of medicine and medical education in France in the 1820s, about Rouen and Flaubert's antecedents, drama and the stage in the 1820s and '30s, and the psychological effects of living in a hospital where dissections were conducted daily. French education in the 19th century and Flaubert's school experiences, the development of railways in France, epilepsy and "cures" of the time , and the political atmosphere surrounding the events of 1848 are all included in a tremendous amount of detail. Indeed, I would say that often Flaubert disappears into this mass of detail. His trips to Corsica and the Middle East involve hardships and a great amount of sexual hijinks.
    I don't wish to criticize the book or the author. It is a masterpiece, as I said. However, unless you REALLY need so much detail, this may prove to be a bit too rich for your blood. Do you need to know a lot about his friends? About the only woman he seems to have loved, but never married? Can you wade through all of this, keeping in mind throughout that it went into the writing of "Madame Bovary", "A Sentimental Education" and "Salammbo"? I found it hard and wound up skipping some pages because I cannot be so expert on French culture and society, and wanted to know in a clearer (OK, read: succinct) fashion exactly what the author thought. Just as Flaubert did not like the social pressure and intensity of Paris life, fleeing to a rural home for most of his life, never marrying, decrying "the bourgeois" at the same time as living very well, I would have liked less reality and more summing up, perhaps a shorter and more direct work on the construction and importance of his oeuvre.

  • Way way way too many details on things that had very little to do with Flaubert. Read Flauberts letters instead.

  • You may know that James Wood's front page review of this in THE NEW YORK TIMES in 2006 hailed this as something of a masterpiece. I'm not ready to label it that yet since I haven't finished reading it, but it certainly is a convincing protrait of an obcessive writer and to write about that in an interesting way--well, Frederick Brown has done that.
    Thumbs up.

  • Be warned: this piece is more about Flaubert, than it is about Brown. Because before discussing Brown's biography, I am sorry to have to discuss Flaubert, the novelist that is, for whom - I have to admit - I don't care much. For although I have read just about everything the man from Rouen wrote, and did so in French, I never felt the urge to start all over again, just for fun. Of Bouvard and Pécuchet, which Flaubert wasn't able to finish, he himself said, many times, that it was an abominable book: "mon bouquin abominable." The best thing I like about B and P (Flaubert's own short title) is the dictionary of clichés, the `dictionnaire des ideés recues', which is very funny. Salammbo is just slightly less tiring than B and P. I don't care much for Flaubert's novellas either, no, not even for A simple heart ("Un coeur simple"), parrot or no parrot, Barnes or no Barnes. I do have a soft spot for Education Sentimentale, although that too is in many ways a troubled book. But it at least has a directness and a flair which is very un-Flaubertian. I more or less like Mme Bovary, of course, although it doesn't really set you on fire and you tend to admire it first and like it after.
    Writing for Flaubert always meant starting a project, and "piocher" (toiling) every time he did. It never meant just writing. Except for Bovary every novel or short story took stacks of literature to produce. Just sitting down and writing a story wasn't his style. Visiting libraries, asking friends, studying, going places just to check: and then afterwards complain: why did I ever start? And if just for once there was no research to be done, he was fond of writing a fine sentence, which took a lot of time as well, while at the same time complaining about his colleagues who didn't care how they wrote, meaning just about everyone else. "Industrialists", he called some of his colleagues, not excluding Zola, Daudet or the Goncourt brothers. And they were the ones he liked. It was George Sand, his older and wiser lady-friend from Nohant, whom he admired as a person - but without saying so, didn't take serious as a writer - who once wrote to him, and I paraphrase: what a pity that a man with so much personality, with so many convictions and ideas, who writes so well as long as he doesn't try to hard, has decided to write the way he chooses. Sand was a shrewd woman. She was right of course. I find that great style of Flaubert admirable, but also sterile and cold. If he had been a painter, he would have been Gerome or Bonnat, whom he both knew. The name of Manet appears in his letters only once, just to mention "that he doesn't understand the first thing of his paintings." He didn't care much for painting, or for music by the way: he was a very literary man, almost exclusively so. Yet, I find the distance he demonstrates toward the figures in his stories very French, and slightly inhuman. I like Stendhal, who always addressed himself in bad English in the margins of his manuscripts, and now and then wrote sloppy French in between, but who could also demonstrate a spontaneous esprit that is a pleasure to read, every time you do. When Flaubert, in 1878, is asking Taine about editions of Stendhal which he can use for his B and P, he calls his colleague an idiot, and I am not sure he is joking.
    So, isn't there anything I like about Flaubert? Oh yes, there is. And no, it isn't very original to say this, because it has been said many times before: if Flaubert hadn't written his letters, I doubt if he would enjoy the status he enjoys now. He destroyed important parts of his correspondence, so that the five (French language) Pleiade-volumes of about 7500 pages, including some 2000 pages of annotation, contain just a part of what he actually wrote, but it is Flaubert's correspondence which still makes him worth wile. His letters immediately make clear why his friends and acquaintances were so impressed by him. Practically all of it written in the deep of night, or early in the morning, so that they are always dated one day late, produced in a hurry after his normal writing, but in sheer weight and volume many times as large, his correspondence is a work of real genius and shows an artist art work as you seldom see. The letters are eminently readable, are fun, and belong without a doubt to what is best in world-literature. In them Flaubert can be humorous, cynical, sarcastic and sentimental, and is always eloquent. He can be a hypocrite, a buffoon, and a whorechaser who talks very dirty now and then, but who also loves his mother and his (as far as I am concerned very unpleasant) niece. And then there - at last - appears Brown. Two months after Browns biography was published, in France appeared the fifth (and last) volume of Flaubert's letters in the Pléiade (Gallimard), finishing an edition that started in 1973. Brown says that he has been able to read the 5th volume before it was published in December 2008, and he obviously did.
    Browns biography is, well, ... I hesitate... okay, it `s adequate, but I also find it very aloof. He has a keen eye for human weakness, treats Flaubert in a businesslike way, and does justice to his talents and his faults, sketching the background where necessary, functioning as an accompaniment to the annotation of his letters. It certainly sheds no new light. Brown has just been doing what has already been done by many others. I felt the same way about his book on Zola, which was just as businesslike and fair as his biography of Flaubert. Brown writes well, as someone should who wants to write about Flaubert, but the only parts of the book that really come to life - in both biographies - are the parts about French history, about the background, as if Brown found writing the life stories a duty, and only had fun when he could get away from them, writing about Dreyfus in Zola, and about 19th century French politics (Thiers, Gambetta) in Flaubert for instance. The idea of following up Zola with Flaubert is not without its logic. It makes the biographers life easier, the two knew each other well and even professed to admire each other. But Flaubert made fun of Zola's scientific ideas, and rightly so, and Zola, who was an able producer of novels for the general taste (and who was just as smart in letting others produce plays based on them), must have had his reservations about Flaubert's artistry and literary snobbism. But the boy from Aix and the one from Rouen, outsiders both of them, hankering for success, while denying to do so, also recognized each other's seriousness, and although Flaubert considered himself a conservative, most of his close artist friends tended to the left. I suppose, well, I hope, that Flaubert, had he lived, would have been proud of Zola's J `Accuse, and would have been a staunch Dreyfusard. Maybe it's time for Brown, while he is at it, just for efficiency's sake, to go on, and start writing a biography of Maupassant now, to whom Flaubert wrote many letters ("mon disciple"), one of them ending in: "I touch myself when I think of you", and signed: "sister clitoris." Flauberts letters are not for the bourgeois, whom he despised. They beat any biography and deserve to be translated in full, though they probably never will. It takes a real hero to just try.