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eBook Flaubert: A Life ePub

eBook Flaubert: A Life ePub

by Geoffrey Wall

  • ISBN: 0374156271
  • Category: Arts and Literature
  • Subcategory: Biography
  • Author: Geoffrey Wall
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (May 29, 2002)
  • Pages: 432
  • ePub book: 1998 kb
  • Fb2 book: 1738 kb
  • Other: rtf txt docx mbr
  • Rating: 4.9
  • Votes: 891

Description

At the age of 27, Gustave Flaubert embarked on the adventure of a lifetime with his friend Maxime du Camp.

At the age of 27, Gustave Flaubert embarked on the adventure of a lifetime with his friend Maxime du Camp. In an excerpt from his new biography of the French novelist, Geoffrey Wall reveals how the exotic sights and pleasures of Egypt changed the travellers' lives for ever - and provided inspiration for Flaubert's most famous work.

Geoffrey Wall gives us Flaubert in all his contradictory splendor: as a man who lived quietly at home in the sphere of his widowed mother, writing novels at a rate of five words an hour; as an irregular visitor to Paris.

Geoffrey Wall gives us Flaubert in all his contradictory splendor: as a man who lived quietly at home in the sphere of his widowed mother, writing novels at a rate of five words an hour; as an irregular visitor to Paris, where he participated in important literary and social milieus; and as a passionate traveler whose trips put him in company with courtesans, actresses, acrobats, gypsies, idiots, and simpletons of every stripe, until he returned home to live like an oyster

His biography of Flaubert, published by Faber in 2001, was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize and for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

by. Wall, Geoffrey, 1950-. Books for People with Print Disabilities.

A lovely piece of work. Published by Thriftbooks. com User, 15 years ago. Flaubert was a difficult man: arrogant, anal, irascible, a lonely bear of a fellow with a special gift for making enemies. Yet Geoffrey Wall manages to make him human and sympathetic. This is a first-rate biography, quick, smart, dramatic and often very funny.

Wall, Geoffrey, Flaubert: a Life, Faber and Faber; 2001. Those who accuse him of atheism are asses. Goethe said, 'When I am upset or troubled I reread the Ethics. Perhaps like Goethe you will find calm in the reading of this great book. Ten years ago I lost the friend I had loved more than any other, Alfred Le Poittevin. Fatally ill, he spent his last nights reading Spinoza. in his letter to Marie-Sophie Leroyer de Chantepie, 1857).

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The life and times of the great French novelist. A blond giant of a man with green eyes and a resonant actor's voice, Gustave Flaubert, perhaps the finest French writer of the nineteenth century, lived quietly in the provinces with his widowed mother, composing his incomparable novels at a rate of five words an hour. He detested his respectable neighbors, and they, in turn, helped to ensure his infamy as a writer of immoral books.

Flaubert was a name long familiar to the discerning. In his early fifties, Flaubert's tranquil, contemplative, daily life had been turned upside down.

Published by the Penguin Group. Flaubert was a name long familiar to the discerning. Was this to be another spacious chronicle of modern life, like Sentimental Education? Or was it some exotic fantasy with a girl and big snake. His troubles began in the autumn of 1870, when France suffered a ruinous military defeat at the hands of Prussia. In his large house by the river Seine, Flaubert soon found himself playing host to half a dozen victorious Prussian officers and their horses.

The life and times of the great French novelist A blond giant of a man with green eyes and a resonant actor's voice, Gustave Flaubert, perhaps the finest French writer of the nineteenth century, lived quietly in the provinces with his widowed mother, composing his incomparable novels at a rate of five words an hour. He detested his respectable neighbors, and they, in turn, helped to ensure his infamy as a writer of immoral books. Geoffrey Wall's remarkable new biography weaves together the inner dramas of Flaubert's provincial life with the social intrigues of his regular escapes to Paris, where he became a friend to Turgenev and was praised by the emperor, and the flamboyant excitements of his travels throughout the Mediterranean, on which he kept company with courtesans, acrobats, gypsies, and simpletons. Flaubert's contradictory experiences nurtured his peerless novels and stories, and Wall's dynamic interpretation of them gives us a new understanding of his sometimes pitiable, always unforgettable characters: an Egyptian hermit tormented by voluptuous visions, a melancholy doctor's wife eating arsenic to escape debt and despair, an old country woman who worships a stuffed parrot. Wall's is the first full-fledged modern biography of this immeasurably talented and influential artist. Flaubert brilliantly re-creates the life and times of a writer who wrote to within an inch of his life and whose importance will never diminish.

Comments

Shazel Shazel
One of the other reviewers of this biography wrote:

"This is a disappointing biography of Flaubert. It discusses neither Flaubert's intellectual development nor his books in any depth. The author makes much of the silliest and must vulgar aspects of Flaubert's personality (as if he felt a special affinity for these topics) while skirting any serious aesthetic or literary issues. Flaubert was certainly a peculiar, irritating man, but Wall, like most celebrity biographers of our day, stresses these aspects to try to squeeze some cheap laughs and prurient snickers from his subject matter. Flaubert's strange love affair with Louise Colet is narrated so sophomorically that it's practically unreadable. The book ends abruptly, summarizing Flaubert's last few years in a few paragraphs, as if the biographer couldn't stand it anymore himself. The best thing about the book is the sprinkling of excerpts from Flaubert's letters. The worst thing is the biographer's low-brow, childish, psychobabbling voice trying to make sense of a literary genius he had no business trying to write a life of. It's as if Seinfeld tried to write a book about Homer."

A better simile would be: it's as if this reviewer read an excellent biography then trashed it because it's neither literary criticism nor a "deep" psychological study.

Is the reviewer aware that Sartre wrote a massive uncompleted study of Flaubert that would satisfy his dubious wish for "highbrow" (as opposed to Wall's "low-brow") psychobabble. Not that Sartre is a reliable guide to Flaubert, you understand: he's really an obsessed leftist who believes his warped understanding of Freud and Marx is the skeleton key to his victims, most notably Genet, whom he reduced to a bloodless abstraction in his soi-disant "introduction" to that writer's collected works. (His book on Baudelaire at least has the benefit of brevity, if not clarity.)

I see the biographer's task as giving an account of the events of his subject's life, and even if that includes the books he wrote as the main events, then he can hardly be expected to write detachable essays in depth about them. I challenge this reviewer to explain why the brief accounts Wall gives of Flaubert's novels is inadequate to the job he undertook--namely, to write a biography of moderate length, rather than a gargantuan meditation on his subject a la Sartre.

As for making much of the most vulgar aspects of Flaubert's character ... It would be very hard to write an accurate biography about a man who adored DeSade's writings, who described sadistic characters and scenes with relish in SALAMMBO, and who, judging from his correspondence, was obsessed with anality, the cruder aspects of sexuality, and every form of feculence. Flaubert was vulgar and his biography had better make that clear unless he wants to deny reality.

If Wall tries to get "cheap laughs" at any point in this biography, he comes a cropper. Of course, he does nothing of the sort, and to call his account of Flaubert's dubious relationship with Louise Colet "sophomoric" is to misunderstand that Flaubert's contempt for Colet, whose naivete was pathetic, duplicates the kinds of relationships many sophomores have. You can't make a profound romantic reality out of a trivial encounter that was basically about erogenous zones.

I do agree that Wall doesn't do justice to Flaubert's later years, and his dislike of BOUVARD ET PECUCHET apparently explains his neglect of the final masterpiece.

However, Wall's book is arguably the best recent biography of Flaubert, much better than Enid Starkie's wordy volumes or Lottman's badly written account or Brown's or Bart's. Ignore the negative review I've quoted and read Wall if you're interested in Flaubert
Dishadel Dishadel
Flaubert was a difficult man: arrogant, anal, irascible, a lonely bear of a fellow with a special gift for making enemies. Yet Geoffrey Wall manages to make him human and sympathetic. This is a first-rate biography, quick, smart, dramatic and often very funny. The MADAME BOVARY years might be handled better by Francis Steegmuller in his excellent double bio of the author and his masterpiece, but Wall's account of Flaubert's later career cannot be improved on. Giving special life to those chapters is his account of Flaubert's friendship with the immensely likable George Sand. If she can connect with this prickly man, why can't the rest of us? Their exchange of letters is one of the great literary dialogues and Wall tells this story beautifully.
I began this book disliking the man despite my love of his novels. I finished it feeling fond of the man, identifying with his faults, and wanting reread everything.