Gustave Flaubert, La tentation de saint Antoine [The Temptation of Saint Anthony]

Mary Margaret Orr (University of St Andrews)
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For those familiar with

Madame Bovary

(1857) or

L'Education sentimentale

(1869), the experience of reading Flaubert's least-known and least-discussed work is a shock. The

Tentation de Saint Antoine

's static central protagonist, his uncertain “dialogues” with a plethora of two-dimensional mouthpieces for strange religious and philosophical ideas (the “temptations”), and the whirl of intercalated descriptions – all present utter confusion of meanings, if indeed meanings are to be had in this wayward text. Even stoical readers armed with some knowledge of the overwhelming erudition behind the work, in terms of its many historical and religious references, admit to the boredom and alienation of the experience of reading the

Tentation

. Many critics, including Flaubert's close friends…

2638 words

Citation: Orr, Mary Margaret. "La tentation de saint Antoine". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 April 2008 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=4150, accessed 15 April 2024.]

4150 La tentation de saint Antoine 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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