Gustave Flaubert: Bouvard et Pécuchet [Bouvard and Pecuchet]

(2213 words)

Since his mother died in 1872, Flaubert had contemplated writing Bouvard et Pécuchet, the last of his five major novels. He considered the work to be his intellectual testament, expressing his final judgment of humanity and all its enterprises. He worked assiduously on it from 1874 until his sudden death in 1881, reading fifteen hundred books from many fields in order to document the two title characters’ futile search for knowledge. Jacques Neefs (1993) memorably demonstrates how cavalierly Flaubert treated these sources. For each subject, he selects works whose views contrast most starkly. He condenses them unsparingly until they achieve a lapidary absurdity. A writer’s criteria of dynamic rhythm and …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Citation:
Porter, Laurence M.. "Bouvard et Pécuchet". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 August 2011
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=6215, accessed 05 September 2015.]