Flaubert and Madame Bovary: A Double Portrait (New York Review Books Classics Series)

Flaubert and Madame Bovary: A Double Portrait (New York Review Books Classics Series)

by Francis Steegmuller, Victor Brombert
     
 

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Francis Steegmuller's beautifully executed double portrait of Madame Bovary and her maker is a remarkable and unusual biographical study, a sensitive and detailed account of how an unpromising young man turns himself into one of the world's greatest novelists. Steegmuller starts with the young Flaubert, prone to mysterious fits, hypochondriacal, at odds with and

Overview

Francis Steegmuller's beautifully executed double portrait of Madame Bovary and her maker is a remarkable and unusual biographical study, a sensitive and detailed account of how an unpromising young man turns himself into one of the world's greatest novelists. Steegmuller starts with the young Flaubert, prone to mysterious fits, hypochondriacal, at odds with and yet dependent on his bourgeois family. Then, drawing on Flaubert's voluminous correspondence, Steegmuller tracks his subject through friendships and love affairs, a trip to the Orient, nervous breakdown and tenuous recovery, and finally into the study, where a mind at once restless and jaded finds a focus in the precisely detailed reality of an imagined woman, utterly ordinary in her unhappiness, whose story was to revolutionize literature.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is the best biography of a novelist I have come across." Anne Enright in O, The Oprah Magazine

"In his segregation of the relevant from a tempting superfluity of information Mr. Steegmuller shows himself a true biographer. In his delicate weaving together of these diverse strands into the single but complex theme of Madame Bovary’s creation he shows himself a true artist."
— Philip Toynbee

"A most instructive, perspicacious and amusing portrait of the bear of Croisset, and the gifts of novelists and scholar have been married with unusual happiness in its production."
— V. S. Pritchett

"Flaubert and Madame Bovary can justly be called a brilliant achievement. Mr. Steegmuller is a superb stylist, and even were his study second-rate in other respects (which it is not), it would still be worth reading for the sheer perfection of its prose."
— Lewis Mumford

"Flaubert and Madame Bovary is an admirable accomplishment in research and thought, in the dramatic sense, and in a well-concealed virtuosity. It is fresh and illuminating. It is a piece of vividly interesting reading."
— Katherine Woods, The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590171165
Publisher:
New York Review Books
Publication date:
11/28/2004
Series:
NYRB Classics Series
Edition description:
Revised
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Francis Steegmuller was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1906, and educated in the public schools of Greenwich and at Columbia University. He was the author of many works about French culture and its great literary figures; translator of Gustave Flaubert’s letters and of the Modern Library edition of Madame Bovary. He was the recipient of many literary honors, including the National Book Award for his biography of Jean Cocteau, and he was a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.

Steegmuller divided his life between New York City and Europe. In 1963, he married the novelist Shirley Hazzard. He died in Naples in 1994.

Victor Brombert is the Henry Putnam University Professor of Romance and Comparative Literature Emeritus at Princeton, and has served as chairman of its Council of Humanities. A former president of the Modern Language Association and member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is the author of a dozen books of literary criticism, in addition to his wartime memoirs Trains of Thought. He has published extensively on Flaubert, both in this country and in France.

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