Flaubert, Gustave Selected Letters

ISBN 13: 9780140446074

Selected Letters

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9780140446074: Selected Letters

'In his letters Gustave never speaks to me of anything except art - or himself.'. This was one of the many complaints of Flaubert's lover, Louise Colet. A rigorous champion of impersonality in art, in his letters Flaubert created a vivid portrait of the artist. Witty, scornful, exuberant, these letters bring to life, sometimes day by day, his tormenting passion for Louise Colet, his erotic adventures in the Orient, his literary friendships with Hugo, Baudelaire and Zola, as well as his intimate dialogue des troubadours with the romantic feminist George Sand. Flaubert's descriptions - of the bourgeois and the bohemian, the revolution of 1848 and the Paris Commune - resonate with the curious, aloof perspective of the artist. In the course of this remarkable correspondence about 'art - or himself', Flaubert explores the process of writing, and chronicles the heroic effort that triumphed in the creation of Madame Bovary.

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Spanning Flaubert's life from adolescence to his years of fame as a writer, this collection of letters is a compelling portrait of the artist. There are early letters imbued with the intensity of adolescent friendships; reports from the Orient that bring to life an exotic place where the picturesque, the sentimental, and the erotic gloriously coexist; and accounts of the writing of Madame Bovary that meticulously chronicle Flaubert's creative process. Letters to Victor Hugo, Baudelaire, Turgenev, Zola, and Maupassant offer glimpses into nineteenth-century literary life; while those to George Sand bring to light a deep, abiding friendship. In the correspondence between Flaubert and his lover Louise Colet, Geoffrey Wall suggests in his Introduction, we witness an erotic game, a highly charged form of illicit intercourse.

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