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Living in a bubble. Part IX. by panicroom on Sat Oct 03, 2015 7:40 am
Let us (me) talk about Gustave Flaubert. This is not only important, but it is a very enjoyable thing too. And remember: history is not an exact science! I am trying to find out "the nature of the bubble". It may be so, that I am handling “historical facts” carelessly. But I do my best. Reading is no exact science, and writing about authors have never been a science at all.
Anyway, bluntly said, the young Gustave was a physically clumsy child. He was neglected by his mother, but observed by a maid. He had fits of epilepsy. But he in fact in his twenties moved to Paris (leaving Rouen) to study law. He had friends and he began to write short stories and novels at an early age. Mesmerized by words as he was he in turn was mesmerizing the woman in the parisian saloons. Everybody was awaiting the upcoming of a new Balzac. Flaubert, who had a round big head, was very interested in women (for sex) and had in his early years been attracted to older women, but in Paris he met the young Louise, with whom he ( twice) developed a strange relationship. Gustave never married, and Louise learnt, that Gustave had a terrible temper.
Very soon Gustave left the study of law for literature. And he was to be known to his friends; - he had such – as one who took endless time to finish his works. He wrote a whole lot of letters, and in these letters he is mostly in a rage at other people and at the difficulty of writing good books. The art of compromise was not his. He had from early years chosen his own way, and it seems, as we will see, that he had a VISION of what good literature was. This vision included some very odd features. Flaubert thought that art was enormously important, and - apparently - that it should be regarded as a universe of its own. He was inclined to the perception of synesthesic fantasies. Once he remarked that he with a giant book ( the book on Le tentation de Saint Antoine, a pre-surrealistic orgy ) had ( simply) wanted to give to his reader the impression of … yellow. ( In an essay Charles Bernheimer asserts that Flaubert never seemed to have understood that language is a means of communication. B. claims that we in fact are facing – both in Kafka and Flaubert – a psychopathology of language. Which might in fact be almost true.)
Flaubert was well oriented in the subjects he liked. He knew history, biblical history and he was familiar with the history of North Africa, where he also travelled, together with his sister. ( And he was extremely careful with facts, using the young Maupassant as a detective, hiring him as a secretary.)
Not only is it remarkable how much he was focused on his words, and how he was using women for sex only, how his temper was a problem to each and everyone, but the most trifling experience one may have, when reading the books he actually finished ( only ten or so …; Léducation sentimentale, Madame Bovary, Salammbô (1862) La tentation de Sainte Antoine (1874) November.(1842) and the unfinished Bouvard et Pécuchet, (1880, the year he died.) is the fascination he had for the intense use of ... irony. ( Flaubert is known to have created a motto:” Le style, c´est la vie.”. – The style is life. - This is a very complicated assertation. To understand this sentence in its entirety it takes a lot. Le poésie pure. ( Mallarmé) .But is Flaubert serious? Or isn´t this utter irony. ). A person who uses irony must have SOME relation to his fellow man. And if you read Madame Bovary you get a whole lot of irony, which is making poor Emma Bovary and poor Charles ( the country doctor ) look like helpless puppets on the stage set by a cruel fate. Flaubert seems to have very little, or no empathy at all regarding these two people. ( In Mad. Bov. of Emma: ”Elle aurait voulu que ce nom de Bovary, qui et le sien, fût illustre, le voir étalé chez les libraires, répété dans les journaux, connu par toute la France. ») . And what was even more troublesome to the public opinion: Flaubert had abs...
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