The Letters of Gustave Flaubert

The Letters of Gustave Flaubert

Gustave Flaubert

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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.

“If there is one article of faith that dominates the Credo of Gustave Flaubert’s correspondence,” Francis Steegmuller writes in the introduction to this selection of Flaubert’s letters, “it is that the function of great art is not to provide ‘answers.’” 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, the wrestle to write Madame Bovary. We hear, too, of his life-changing trip to Egypt, as described to family and friends, and then there are lively exchanges with Baudelaire, with the influential critic Sainte-Beuve, and with Guy de Maupassant, his young protégé. Flaubert’s letters to George Sand reveal her as the great confidante of his later years.

Steegmuller’s book, a classic in its own right, is both a splendid life of Flaubert in his own words and the ars poetica of the master who laid the foundations for modern writers from James Joyce to Lydia Davis. Originally issued in two volumes, the book appears here for the first time under a single cover.

Product details

ISBN-13: 9781681377162

Number of pages: 720

Format: Paperback / softback Trade paperback (US)

Imprint: NYRB Classics

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