The Letters of Gustave Flaubert

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The Letters of Gustave Flaubert

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Author: Gustave Flaubert

Type: PAPERBACK

ISBN: 9781681377162

Date: 26th September, 2023

Publisher: NEW YORK REVIEW BOOKS

  1. Categories

  2. History and Criticism

Description

Appearing in a single volume for the very first time, an illuminating and enrichingly annotated selection of correspondence from one of Western literature's most revered writers. Flaubert was not only a great novelist, one of the inventors of of the modern novel, but a great letter writer, writing letters that are among other things a remarkable exploration of the art of the novel. The Letters of Gustave Flaubert: 1830-1880 is Francis Steegmuller's extensive selection from the writer's correspondence, to which he adds deft biographical bridgework and agile annotation. "If there is one article of faith that dominates the Credo of Gustave Flaubert's correspondence," Steegmuller's introduction begins, "it is that the function of art is not to provide 'answers,'" and The Letters of Gustave Flaubert is above all a record of the intransigent questions, personal, political, artistic, with which Flaubert struggled throughout his life. Here we have Flaubert's youthful, sensual outpourings to his mistress, the poet Louise Colet, and, as he advances, still unknown, into his thirties, his wrestle to write Madame Bovary. (Looking back on his early work, he writes, "How I congratulate myself on the prescience I had not to publish!") Here we have Flaubert's correspondence with family and friends describing his life-changing trip to Egypt, exchanges with Baudelaire, the influential critic Sainte-Beuve, and Guy de Maupassant, his young protege, as well as the letters that went back and forth between him and the great confidante of his later life, George Sand. Steegmuller's book, recognized as a classic in its own right, is both a splendid life story of Flaubert in his own words and the ars poetica of a master. Originally issued in two volumes, the book appears here for the first time under a single cover.

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