Three Tales (Penguin Classics)

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9780140448009: Three Tales (Penguin Classics)

Three stories by a French master

First published in 1877, these three stories are dominated by questions of doubt, love, loneliness, and religious experience—together they confirm Flaubert as a master of the short story. “A Simple Heart” relates the story of Félicité, an uneducated serving-woman who retains her Catholic faith despite a life of desolation and loss. “The Legend of Saint Julian Hospitator,” inspired by a stained-glass window in Rouen cathedral, describes the fate of a sadistic hunter destined to murder his own parents. The blend of faith and cruelty that dominates this story may also be found in “Herodias,” a reworking of the tale of Salome and John the Baptist.

This new edition is a completely new translation with a new introduction by Geoffrey Wall, Flaubert's acclaimed biographer. It features a chronology, further reading, and explanantory notes.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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From the Back Cover:

Flaubert's Three Tales offer an excellent introduction to the work of one of the world's greatest novelists.

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”; Salammbô (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 Pécuchet, left unfinished at his death in 1880.

Roger Whitehouse has taught at the Sorbonne and at Bolton Institute, where he is a research fellow.


Geoffrey Wall is author of the critically acclaimed Flaubert: A Life and translated Madame Bovary for Penguin Classics.

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