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Savage Reprisals: Bleak House, Madame Bovary, Buddenbrooks
     

Savage Reprisals: Bleak House, Madame Bovary, Buddenbrooks

by Peter Gay
 

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A revelatory work that examines the intricate relationship between history and literature, truth and fiction—with some surprising conclusions.
Focusing on three literary masterpieces—Charles Dickens's Bleak House (1853), Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary (1857), and Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks (1901)—Peter Gay, a leading cultural historian,

Overview

A revelatory work that examines the intricate relationship between history and literature, truth and fiction—with some surprising conclusions.
Focusing on three literary masterpieces—Charles Dickens's Bleak House (1853), Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary (1857), and Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks (1901)—Peter Gay, a leading cultural historian, demonstrates that there is more than one way to read a novel.
Typically, readers believe that fiction, especially the Realist novels that dominated Western culture for most of the nineteenth century and beyond, is based on historical truth and that great novels possess a documentary value. That trust, Gay brilliantly shows, is misplaced; novels take their own path to reality. Using Dickens, Flaubert, and Mann as his examples, Gay explores their world, their craftsmanship, and their minds. In the process, he discovers that all three share one overriding quality: a resentment and rage against the society that sustains the novel itself. Using their stylish writing as a form of revenge, they deal out savage reprisals, which have become part of our Western literary canon. A New York Times Notable Book and a Best Book of 2002.

Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle
“A provocative triptych of essays....Written in elegant prose, and wearing its extensive scholarship lightly...continually stimulating.”
New York Times - David Reynolds
“Peter Gay, the prominent cultural historian, here does a skillful turn as a literary critic....Reading Savage Reprisals is like sitting in a college lecture hall and listening to a seasoned professor perform scintillating riffs on masterworks and their contexts.”
Los Angeles Times - Merle Rubin
“The great strength of these essays is that they are truly a pleasure to read: lucid, accessible, sharp, entertaining and witty, written in crisp, inviting prose.”
David Reynolds - New York Times
“Peter Gay, the prominent cultural historian, here does a skillful turn as a literary critic....Reading Savage Reprisals is like sitting in a college lecture hall and listening to a seasoned professor perform scintillating riffs on masterworks and their contexts.”
Merle Rubin - Los Angeles Times
“The great strength of these essays is that they are truly a pleasure to read: lucid, accessible, sharp, entertaining and witty, written in crisp, inviting prose.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393325096
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
12/17/2003
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Peter Gay (1923—2015) was the author of more than twenty-five books, including the National Book Award winner The Enlightenment, the best-selling Weimar Culture, and the widely translated Freud: A Life for Our Time.

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