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With an Introduction and revised translation by Adrianne Tooke.
Sentimental Education has been described both as the first modern novel and as a novel to end all novels. Weaving a poignant love story into his account of the 1848 revolution, Flaubert shows a society in the grip of stereotypes, on every level. There is something farcical in his depiction of characters who aspire to act but are dogged by cliche at every turn.
To a greater extent even than Madame Bovary, Sentimental Education is an indictment of modern consumerism, contrasting the hollowness of material achievement with the lasting beauty of the ideal. Flaubert's study of success and failure offers us a terrible sadness in a terrible beauty, yet is one of the world's great comic masterpieces.
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Used bookAbout the Author:
Gustave Flaubert was born in Rouen in 1821. Aside from his travels, and a stormy liaison with the poetess Louise Colet, his life was dedicated to the practice of his art. The success of Madame Bovary (1857) was ensured by government prosecution for "immorality"; Salammbô (1862) and A Sentimental Education (1869) received a cool public reception; not until the publication of Three Tales (1877) was his genius popularly acknowledged. His final bitterness and disillusion were vividly evidenced in the savagely satiric Bouvard and Pécuchet, left unfinished at his death in 1880.
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