Category Archives: Flaubert, Gustave

Henry James and “le mot juste”

I feel I owe Henry James a bit of an apology. In my previous post on The Portrait of a Lady I complained that his sentences were irritating. Yet, as several people commented at the time, they really aren’t, or, not … Continue reading

Posted in Flaubert, Gustave, James, Henry | 7 Comments

“Your novelistic language annoys us”: George Sand, Indiana

My intrepid book club, which followed up Madame Bovary with Julian Barnes’s Flaubert’s Parrot, decided that our next step would be something by George Sand. We settled on Indiana because it was the most readily available (there’s a nice Oxford World’s Classics … Continue reading

Posted in Book Club, Flaubert, Gustave, Sand, George | 6 Comments

The Quality of Mercy: Edward St. Aubyn, The Patrick Melrose Novels

“If I could imagine a mercy that was purely human, and not one that rested on the Greatest Story Ever Told, I might extend it to my father for being so unhappy.” — Patrick Melrose This is the point at which … Continue reading

Posted in Flaubert, Gustave, St. Aubyn, Edward | 3 Comments

Madame Bovary II: The Doctors and Their Wives

It’s difficult to compare two books that are very, very good at what they do but that do very different things. Must such a comparison be evaluative, hierarchical? Of course not. Does it often end up that way? Of course. We’re … Continue reading

Posted in Eliot, George, Flaubert, Gustave | 5 Comments

Madame Bovary I: “in all of Flaubert there is not a single beautiful metaphor”

It’s odd reading a very famous novel for the first time. It’s like meeting a celebrity in person (or so I imagine). It is intensely familiar and yet strange at the same time: it is exactly what it always appeared … Continue reading

Posted in Flaubert, Gustave | 16 Comments