Sentimental Education (Penguin Classics)

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9780140441413: Sentimental Education (Penguin Classics)

A law student in Paris dreams of professional success, but his aspirations turn toward amour upon a chance encounter with a married woman. Set amid the revolution of 1848, Flaubert's masterpiece combines political and social upheaval with scrutiny of individual motives in a compelling blend of romance, history, and satire.

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From the Back Cover:

Frederic Moreau, a moderately gifted young provincial, is ambitious in many ways: he dreams of fame, of vast wealth, of literary and artistic achievement, of a grand passion. On the Paris paddle-steamer which transports him to his home town of Nogent-sur-Seine at the outset of the novel, he becomes transfixed by the demure Madame Arnoux and, back in Paris, cultivates her ebullient and enterprising husband in order to be near her. Frederic's devotion fluctuates like his other enthusiasms, and he is caught up in the intense pleasures and the inevitable ennuis of Parisian life.

About the Author:

Gustave Flaubert was born in Rouen in 1821, the son of a prominent physician. A solitary child, he was attracted to literature at an early age, and after his recovery from a nervous breakdown suffered while a law student, he turned his total energies to writing. Aside from journeys to the Near East, Greece, Italy, and North Africa, and a stormy liaison with the poetess Louise Colet, his life was dedicated to the practice of his art. The form of his work was marked by intense aesthetic scrupulousness and passionate pursuit of le mot juste; its content alternately reflected scorn for French bourgeois society and a romantic taste for exotic historical subject matter. The success of Madame Bovary (1857) was ensured by government prosecution for immorality; Salammb (1862) and The Sentimental Education (1869) received a cool public reception; not until the publication of Three Tales (1877) was his genius popularly acknowledged. Among fellow writers, however, his reputation was supreme. His circle of friends included Turgenev and the Goncourt brothers, while the young Guy de Maupassant underwent an arduous literary apprenticeship under his direction. Increasing personal isolation and financial insecurity troubled his last years. His final bitterness and disillusion were vividly evidenced in the savagely satiric Bouvard and Pcuchet, left unfinished at his death in 1880.

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