Bouvard and Pécuchet: A Novel of Bourgeois Life by Gustave Flaubert, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Bouvard and Pécuchet: A Novel of Bourgeois Life

Bouvard and Pécuchet: A Novel of Bourgeois Life

by Gustave Flaubert
     
 
Bouvard et Pécuchet is an unfinished satirical work by Gustave Flaubert, published in 1881 after his death in 1880.

Although conceived in 1863 as Les Deux Cloportes ("The Two Woodlice"), and partially inspired by a short story of Barthélemy Maurice (Les Deux Greffiers, "The Two Court Clerks", which appeared in La Revue des Tribunaux in 1841 and which

Overview

Bouvard et Pécuchet is an unfinished satirical work by Gustave Flaubert, published in 1881 after his death in 1880.

Although conceived in 1863 as Les Deux Cloportes ("The Two Woodlice"), and partially inspired by a short story of Barthélemy Maurice (Les Deux Greffiers, "The Two Court Clerks", which appeared in La Revue des Tribunaux in 1841 and which he may have read in 1858), Flaubert did not begin the work in earnest until 1872, at a time when financial ruin threatened. Over time, the book obsessed him to the degree that he claimed to have read over 1500 books in preparation for writing it-he intended it to be his masterpiece, surpassing all of his other works. He only took a minor break, in order to compose Three Tales in 1875-76. It received lukewarm reviews: critics failed to appreciate both its message and its structural devices.
Bouvard et Pécuchet details the adventures of two Parisian copy-clerks, François Denys Bartholomée Bouvard and Juste Romain Cyrille Pécuchet, of the same age and nearly identical temperament. They meet one hot summer day in 1838 by the canal Saint-Martin and form an instant, symbiotic friendship. When Bouvard inherits a sizable fortune, the two decide to move to the countryside. They find a 94-acre (380,000 m2) property near the town of Chavignolles in Normandy, between Caen and Falaise, and 100 miles (160 km) west of Rouen. Their search for intellectual stimulation leads them, over the course of years, to flounder through almost every branch of knowledge.[1]

Flaubert uses their quest to expose the hidden weaknesses of the sciences and arts, as nearly every project Bouvard and Pécuchet set their minds on comes to grief. Their endeavours are interleaved with the story of their deteriorating relations with the local villagers; and the Revolution of 1848 is the occasion for much despondent discussion. The manuscript breaks off near the end of the novel. According to one set of Flaubert's notes, the townsfolk, enraged by Bouvard and Pécuchet's antics, try to force them out of the area, or have them committed. Disgusted with the world in general, Bouvard and Pécuchet ultimately decide to "return to copying as before" (copier comme autrefois), giving up their intellectual boundering. The work ends with their eager preparations to construct a two-seated desk on which to write.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781479391042
Publisher:
CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
09/26/2012
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.42(d)

Meet the Author

Gustave Flaubert was a French writer who is counted among the greatest Western novelists. He is known especially for his first published novel, Madame Bovary, for his Correspondence, and for his scrupulous devotion to his art and style.
Born: December 12, 1821, Rouen
Died: May 8, 1880, Rouen

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