Flaubert

Henri Troyat, Author, Joan Pinkham, Translator Viking Books $25 (384p) ISBN 978-0-670-84450-0
The accomplished biographer of Chekhov, Peter the Great and Tolstoy here presents an elegant, skillfully researched study of the life and work of the great 19th-century French novelist Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880). Although he was on intimate terms with many of his contemporaries--among them George Sand, Ivan Turgenev and Guy de Maupassant--Flaubert retreated from the Parisian literary world to devote himself to his art. At Croisset, a secluded family home near Rouen, he perfected his romantic realistic style through lengthy and painstaking revision and he ultimately produced his masterpieces Madame Bovary (1857) and A Sentimental Education (1869). The frankness of Madame Bovary incited a scandal intensified by a much-publicized obscenity trial in which its publisher was acquitted; the public's attacks only reinforced the author's innate pessimism. Although he never married, Flaubert maintained highly erotic and stormy relationships with several women. A perceptive and objective treatment of a major literary figure. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/30/1992
Release date: 12/01/1992
Genre: Nonfiction
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