Talk:Gustave Flaubert

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"le mot juste" makes more sense as being "the right word" in English, as opposed to "the precise word". Precise doesn't match the way English-speakers use the expression.

a questionable assertion[edit]

The first line in this article makes a questionable assertion. Flaubert idolised his father: it is unlikely that he intended to base Charbovari on him. There are much stronger parallels between Flaubert's father (a surgeon) and the general surgeon Lariviere in the novel. It could also be argued that Doctor Canivet resembles Flaubert's brother, another physician.

And a minor addition: Flaubert dropped out of law school after a series of epileptic fits, which he described in "Un Coeur Simple".

You're welcome to add corrected information to the article, since most of it was taken from the 1911 Britannica, which was highly opinionated and is, of course, outdated in many respects (though I don't know how much that applies here.) I think it would be preferable if you NPOVed the current wording with a counter-view, rather than replace one with another (if you plan to make edits). -- Simonides 22:55, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)

"One of the most severe of academic critics"[edit]

If anyone knows who that is, I think putting the name in would be great. —JerryFriedman 20:01, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

'Over Strand and Field', 'Memoirs of a Madman', and 'Novembre' are significant works, especially since 'Novembre' was Flaubert's first novel and very similar to MB. I'm bummed no one mentioned Sartre's 5 volume masterpiece on Flaubert. Sartre, Jean-Paul The Family Idiot: Gustave Flaubert, 1821-1857, Volume 5. Translated by Carol Cosman.-jsulliv2

Source for quote?[edit]

"He can be said to have made cynicism into an art-form, as evinced by this observation from 1846: ' To be stupid, and selfish, and to have good health are the three requirements for happiness; though if stupidity is lacking, the others are useless. ' " -- Source for this? (I'd like to see the original French.) -- 14:46, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

I beleive he said this in a letter to Loiuse Colet, I think it was regarding politics, or in any case, something he related to 'bourgeios' tendencies. The exact location of the citation can be found in Francis Steegmuller's Flaubert and Madame Bovary, though nor in french. I imagine the origical in french can be located in his correspondences, which if I come across I will site.

After a quick search I found this, no idea if it is reliable though: Link - 11:16, 17 January 2011 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Article Tone[edit]

The article seems to be taken mostly from the 1911 Brittanica: I think the tone could be more encyclopedic and less literary, with fewer assertions from the original article such as that he had... "a certain shy grace, enthusiastic, intensely individual, and apparently without any species of ambition"

Update: I've rewritten most of the bio in a more modern (less 19th century schoolboy, as another editor put it) tone, and added some additional information. I've left the "character" section, which came from the 1911 Britannica, but feel that it probably has no place in a modern encyclopedia.


Salammbo considered as an early masterpiece of the Fantastique : this book is not "fantastique" at all. It's more an historical novel, written with the methods and technics of the realism.

Uncited Quote[edit]

This quote was recently added to the Flaubert page, but was neither cited nor necessarily applicable to the 'work and legacy' section. If someone has an idea on how it could be incorporated more fluidly into the text, and cites the quote, please do so. Quote:

"I demand in the name of humanity that the black stone is destroyed, the gravel spread in the wind, that Mekka is destroyed and the grave of Muhammed dishonored. That's the way to discourage fanatism."

Dialectric 15:08, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

His Masterpiece?[edit]

Both pages on The Temptation of Saint Anthony and Bouvard et Pécuchet claim their subject work to be Flaubert's "masterwork." The page on Flaubert sides with the latter claim, "He believed the work to be his masterpiece." The page on Bouvard et Pécuchet claims: "Over time, the book obsessed him to the degree that he claimed to have read over 1500 books in preparation for writing it—he intended it to be his masterpiece, surpassing all of his other works." The Temptation of Saint Anthony page: "It was this work, rather than his better known Madame Bovary, that Flaubert considered his masterwork." I've searched the web and find only support for Temptation of Saint Anthony, one website saying "Flaubert spent decades years with the work," which sounds like something intended as his prize piece, to me. Encyclopedia Brittanica makes no claim to his intended masterpiece either way. Neither wiki page cites sources when making the claim for Flaubert's masterwork. Alex8541 (talk) 23:02, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

I'm confused, too. It says in this article that he considered Bouvard et Pécuchet to be his masterpiece, but gives no evidence of this, nor any reason why this should be so; while the article on La Tentation de Saint Antoine says that it was his masterpiece, and explains that he worked on it his whole life. I'm sure it was the latter which he considered his "true" masterpiece. If this is so, then the claim about Bouvard et Pécuchet should be removed, yes? NoriMori (talk) 03:01, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

Contradiction in Personal Life[edit]

I fail to see any contradiction in this section. The only possibility I can see is a variance between what his biographer said was his only real romantic relationship and the fact that he had a mistress later in life (around 1850). An affair with a mistress does not, I think, by definition constitute a serious romantic relationship. Without further documented identification of it as such, the section seems to me to be correct in its facts. Tomwhite56 (talk) 20:30, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

I agree with TomWhite56. I don't see any contradiction in the text as written. I will remove the notice that the section needs to be fixed. Omc (talk) 19:56, 23 August 2009 (UTC)


This article is lacking inline citations. However it was originally just a copy-paste job from Encyclopedia Britannica (unfortunately). Over time various editors have modernized it. If the need for inline citations is really that critical for someone (since there is already a notice about EB1911 in the references section), I suggest rather than adding a citation nag-tag, simply look at the EB1911 article and just add them in sentence by sentence - should be easy to cite 10 or 20 or more times from the same EB1911 article. Here is the EB1911 article. --Green Cardamom (talk) 16:50, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

The article isn't uninformative, but it strikes me as uninformed. Whoever claimed Education Sentimentale is based on Flaubert's childhood, for example, hasn't read the book, though it's entirely possible that a much earlier version was based on his childhood and the sentence is orphaned from some edit that traced the book's long genesis. The whole thing reads a bit jackdaw, as well as being dull, so I've flagged it as requiring the attention of an expert. Sartoresartus (talk) 11:08, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

Another under "influenced section."[edit]

Should include James Joyce under influenced section. Joyce read Flaubert's selected letters (compare Flaubert's "artist like God, invisible behind his work" quote from his letters to Joyce's similar quote about "paring fingernails") and took much from free indirect in the creation of stream of consciousness prose. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:28, 17 October 2010 (UTC)

Picture of Flaubert as a young man[edit]

No proof at all the picture shows Flaubert : -- (talk) 12:58, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

This is not a picture of Flaubert. Who suggested it was? Reading the article in, it looks like an "expert" from Artcurial tried to sell it for 40.000 to 60.000€. But no one was interested, which demonstrates how doubtful it is. — Preceding unsigned comment added by BrnVrn38 (talkcontribs) 15:36, 13 September 2015 (UTC)

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