Gustave Flaubert, Bouvard et Pécuchet [Bouvard and Pecuchet]

Laurence M. Porter (Michigan State University)
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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 harmonious assemblages of sounds take precedence over fidelity to the sense.…

2091 words

Citation: Porter, Laurence M.. "Bouvard et Pécuchet". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 August 2011 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=6215, accessed 25 May 2024.]

6215 Bouvard et Pécuchet 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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