- Customers Also Bought
- Similar Books
- Sentimental Education; Or, The History of a Young Man. Volume 2 by Gustave Flaubert - Free Ebook
- Sentimental Education
In this hall he found once more the dusty odour of the school, a reading-desk of familiar shape, the same wearisome monotony! For a fortnight he regularly attended the law lectures. But he dropped the study of the Civil Code before getting as far as Article 3, and he gave up the Institutes at the Summa Divisio Personarum. The pleasures that he had anticipated did not come to him; and when he had exhausted a circulating li- brary, gone over the collections in the Louvre, and been at the theatre a great many nights in succession, he sank into the lowest depths of idleness.
He found it necessary to count his linen and to tolerate the door-keeper, a bore with the figure of a male hospital nurse, who made up his bed in the morning, smelling of alcohol always and grunting. He did not like his apartment, which was ornamented with an alabaster time-piece. The partitions were thin ; he could hear the students making punch, laughing and singing.
Tired of this solitude, he sought out one of his old schoolfellows, Baptiste Martinon; he discovered this friend of his boyhood in a middle-class boarding-house in the Rue Saint-Jacques, cramming in legal procedure, seated before a coal fire. A woman in a print dress sat opposite him darning his socks.
Martinon was what people call a very fine man big, chubby, with regular features, and blue eyes set high up in his face. His father, an extensive landowner, had destined him for the magistracy; and wishing already to present a dignified exterior, he wore his beard cut like a collar round his neck. As there was no rational foundation for Frederick's complaints, and as he could not give evidence of any real misfortune, Martinon was unable to understand his lamentations about existence.
As for him, he went every morning to the school, after that took a walk in the Luxembourg, in the evening swallowed his half- cup of coffee ; and with fifteen hundred francs a year, and the love of this work-woman, he felt perfectly happy. At the school he had formed another acquaintance, a youth of aristocratic family, who on account of his dainty manners resembled a young lady.
They frequently went together to admire the Sainte-Chapelle and Notre Dame. But the young patrician's rank and pretensions covered an in- tellect of the feeblest order. Everything took him by surprise. He laughed immoderately at the most trifling joke, and displayed such utter simplicity that Frederick at first took him for a wag, and finally regarded him as a booby. The young man was finding it impossible, therefore, to be cordial with anyone ; and he was constantly look- ing forward to an invitation from the Dambreuses.
On New Year's Day he sent them visiting-cards, but received none in return. He made his way back to the office of L'Art Indus- triel. A third time he returned to it, and at last saw Ar- noux carrying on an argument with five or six persons around him. He scarcely responded to the young man's bow ; and Frederick was hurt by this reception. None the less he cogitated over the best means of find- ing his way to her side.
His first idea was to come frequently to the shop on the pretext of getting pictures at low prices. Then he conceived the notion of slipping into the letter-box of the journal a few " very strong " articles, which might lead to friendly relations. Perhaps it would be wiser to go straight to the mark at once, and declare his love? Acting on this impulse, he wrote a letter covering a dozen pages, full of lyric lines and apostrophes ; but he tore it up, and did nothing, attempted nothing bereft of motive power by his want of success.
Above Arnoux's shop there were, on the first floor, three windows which were lighted up every evening. A negress who crossed his path one day in the Tuil- eries, holding a little girl by the hand, recalled to his mind Madame Arnoux's negress. She was sure to come there, like the others ; every time he passed through the Tuileries his heart began to beat with the anticipation of meeting her.
On sunny days he con- tinued to walk as far as the end of the Champs-Elysees. Women seated with careless ease in open carriages, and with their veils floating in the wind, passed close to him, their horses advancing at a steady walking pace, and with an unconscious see-saw movement that made the varnished leather of the harness crackle.
His eyes wandered along the rows of female heads, and certain vague resemblances brought back Madame Arnoux to his mind. He pictured her to himself, in the midst of the others, in one of those little broughams like that in which he had seen Madame Dambreuse. But the sun was setting, the cold wind raised whirl- ing clouds of dust, and all the equipages descended the long sloping avenue at a quick trot, touching', sweeping past one another, getting out of one another's way; then, at the Place de la Concorde, they went off in dif- ferent directions.
Frederick went to a restaurant in the Rue de la Harpe and got a dinner for forty-three sous. He glanced disdainfully at the old mahogany counter, the soiled napkins, the worn silver-plate, and the hats hanging on the wall. Those around him were students like himself. They talked about their professors, and about their mis- tresses. What cared he about professors? And had he a mistress? The tables were all strewn with remnants of food. The two waiters, worn out with attendance on customers, lay asleep, each in a different corner ; and an odour of cooking, of an argand lamp, and of tobacco, filled the deserted dining-room.
Then he slowly toiled along the streets again. He was smitten with a vague remorse. He renewed his attendance at lectures. But as he was entirely ig- norant of the matters which formed the subject of explanation, things of the simplest description puzzled him. He set about writing a novel, which he entitled Sylvio, the Fisherman's Son. The scene of the story was Venice. The hero was himself, and Madame Arnoux was the heroine.
Customers Also Bought
She was named Antonia; and, to get possession of her, the hero assassinated a number of noblemen, and burned a portion of the city ; after which feats he sang a serenade under her bal- cony, whereon fluttered in the breeze the red damask curtains of the Boulevard Montmartre. The numerous reminiscences on which he dwelt pro- duced a disheartening effect on him ; he went no far- ther with the work, and his mental vacuity redoubled.
After this, he begged of Deslauriers to come and share his apartment. They might make arrangements to live together with the aid of his allowance of two thousand francs; anything would be better than this miserable existence. Deslauriers could not yet leave Troyes. He urged his friend to find some means of diverting his thoughts, and, with that end in view, sug- gested that he should call on Senecal.
Senecal was a mathematical tutor, a hard-headed man with republican convictions, a future Saint- Just, according to the clerk. He did not go back. He now determined to amuse himself. He attended the balls at the Opera House. These exhibitions of riotous gaiety chilled him the moment he had passed the door. Besides, he was embarrassed by the fear of being subjected to insult on the subject of money, his notion being that a supper with a domino entailed considerable expense, and was rather a big adventure.
It seemed to him, nevertheless, that he must needs love her. Sometimes he used to wake up with his heart full of hope, dress himself carefully as if he were going to keep an appointment, and start on inter- minable excursions all over Paris. Whenever a woman walked in front of him, or came toward him, he would say: The thought of Madame Arnoux strengthened these desires.
Perhaps he might find her on his way; and he conjured up dangerous complica- tions, extraordinary perils from which he might have the opportunity to save her. So the days slipped by with the same tiresome ex- periences, and enslavement to contracted habits. Every week he wrote long letters to Deslauriers, dined from time to time with Martinon,and occasionallysawM.
Then he hired a piano and composed German waltzes. One evening at the theatre of the Palais-Royal, he saw, in one of the stage-boxes, Arnoux with a woman by his side. The screen of green taffeta, pulled over the side of the box, hid her face. At length, the curtain rose, and the screen was drawn aside. She was a tall woman of about thirty, rather faded, and, when she laughed, her thick lips uncovered a row of shining teeth.
Then a fair-haired young girl with eyelids a little red, as if she had just been weeping, seated herself between them. Arnoux, after that, remained stooping over her shoulder, pouring forth a stream of talk to which she listened without replying. Frederick taxed his ingenuity to conceive what the social position of these modestly attired women could be. At the close of the play, he made a dash for the pas- sages. A crowd of people going out filled them up. Arnoux, just ahead of him, was descending the stair- case step by step, with a woman on each arm.
Suddenly a gas-burner shed its light on him. He wore a crape hat-band. She was dead, perhaps? This idea tormented Frederick's mind so much, that he hur- ried, next day, to the. The winter drew to a close. He was less melancholy in the spring time, and began to study for his examina- tion.
After passing it indifferently, he went home. He refrained from going to Troyes to see his friend, in order to escape his mother's comments. On his re- turn to Paris at the end of the vacation, he moved to two rooms on the Quai Napoleon, which he furnished. He was hopeless now of ever getting an invitation from the Dambreuses. His great passion for Madame Arnoux was also fading away. The students were rushing out of the cafes, and, through the open windows, they were call- ing from one house to the other.
The shop-keepers, standing in the middle of the footpath, were looking about them anxiously ; the window-shutters were fas- tened ; and when he reached the Rue Soufflot there was a large assemblage around the Pantheon. Frederick found himself close to fair-haired young man of prepossessing appearance, with, a moustache and a tuft of beard on his chin, like a dandy of Louis Kill's time. He asked the stranger what the mat- ter was.
What a good joke! The petitions for Re- form, which had been signed at the quarters of the National Guard, together with the property-census of Humann and other events besides, had, for the past six months, led to inexplicable gatherings of riotous crowds in Paris, and so frequently had they broken out that the newspapers had ceased to refer to them. In the good epoch of Louis XI, and even in that of Benjamin Constant, there was more mutiny amongst the students. I find them as pacific a? And these are what we call the youth of the schools!
Oh, scatter it, my patriarch, scatter it! Corrupt me with the treasures of Albion! I do not reject the presents of Artaxerxes! Let us have a little talk about the union of customs! It was Mar- tinon, looking exceedingly pale. Men in blouses especially made him feel uneasy, suggesting a connection with secret societies. As a mat- ter of fact, how do you know, Monsieur, that I am not myself a police spy?
The people pushed them on, and they were all three forced to stand on the little staircase which led, by one of the passages, to the new amphitheatre. The crowd soon dispersed of its own accord. Many faces could be distinguished. They bowed toward the distinguished Professor Samuel Rondelot, who, wrapped in his big frock-coat, with his silver spectacles up high on his forehead, and breathing hard from his asthma, was advancing at an easy pace, on his way to deliver his lecture.
This man was one of the judicial glories of the nineteenth century, the rival of tlu, Zachariaes and the Ruhdorffs. His new dignity as peer of France had in no way altered his external de- meanour. He was known to be poor, and was treated with profound respect. Meanwhile, at the lower end of the square, some per- sons cried out: He stopped in front of the staircase.
He was speedily observed on the lowest of three steps. He spoke; the loud mur- murs of the throng drowned his voice.
- Sentimental Education; Or, The History of a Young Man. Volume 2 by Gustave Flaubert;
- Spiffy Kitchen Collectibles!
- The Spirit Tree.
- Memories of 1970s Wife Swapping: Tales of a Survivor of the Sexual Revolution.
Although at another time they might love him, they hated him now, for he represented authority. He was answered by vociferations from all sides. Martinon profited by his situation to disappear at the same mo- ment. There was an outburst of applause from the crowd, from whose point of view this retreat, on the part of the professor, appeared in the light of a victory.
The guardians of public order were hooted and hissed. They began to grow pale. One of them could endure it no longer, and, seeing a low-sized young man approaching too close, and laughing in his teeth, he pushed him back so roughly that he tumbled over on his back some five paces away, in front of a wine-merchant's shop. All made way ; but almost immediately afterward the po- liceman rolled on the ground himself, felled by a blow from a species of Hercules, whose hair hung down like a bundle of tow under an oilskin cap.
The other policemen rushed to the rescue of their comrade. The terrible shop-assistant was so powerfully built that it took four of them to overcome him. Two shook him, while keep- ing a grip on his collar ; two others dragged his arms ; a fifth gave him digs of the knee in the ribs ; and all of them called him " brigand," " assassin," " rioter. I want my case! A flood of people came rushing after him. Frederick and the young man with the mous- taches walked immediately behind, full of admiration for the shopman, and indignant at the violence of power.
As they advanced, the crowd thinned. The policemen from time to time turned round, with threatening looks; and the rowdies, no longer having anything to do, and the spectators not having anything to look at, all drifted away by degrees. The passers-by, who met the procession, stared at Dussardier, and in loud tones made abusive remarks about him. One old woman, at her own door, bawled out that he had stolen a loaf of bread from her. This unjust accusation in- creased the wrath of the two friends. At length, they reached the guard-house. The sentinel threatened, if they persisted, to ram them into jail too.
They said they desired to see the commander of the guard-house, and stated their names, and the fact that they were law-students, declaring that the prisoner was one also. They were ushered into a room perfectly bare, in which, amid an atmosphere of smoke, four benches lined the roughly plastered walls. At the lower end there was an open wicket. Then appeared the sturdy face of Dussardier, who, with his hair all tousled, his honest little eyes, and his broad snout, suggested to one's mind in a confused sort of way the physiognomy of a faithful dog.
This was the name of the young man with the mous- taches. He appeared to be collecting his thoughts ; then, suddenly: Hussonnet, however, said promptly: Yes, yes, make your mind easy about that! The two friends stood quite astonished at his silence. He felt about, then drew forth from the depths of one of his pockets the remains of a pipe a beautiful pipe, made of white talc with a shank of blackwood, a silver cover, and an amber mouthpiece.
For the last three years he had been engaged in com- pleting this masterpiece. He had carefully kept the bowl of it in a kind of sheath of chamois, smoking it as slowly as possible, without ever letting it lie on any cold stone substance, and hanging it up every evening over the head of his bed.
And now he shook out the fragments of it into his hand, the nails of which were covered with blood, and with his chin sunk on his chest, his pupils fixed and dilated, he gazed at this wreck of the thing that had yielded him such delight with un- utterable sadness. Frederick had already laid down a cigar-holder, filled, on the edge of the wicket. He pressed them frantically, his voice choked with sobs. While cutting up the beefsteak, Hussonnet informed his companion that he worked for the fashion journals, and manufactured catchwords for L 'Art Industriel.
Frederick did not venture to follow up his inquiries. This man henceforth would occupy a large space in his life. He paid the cafe bill without any protest on the other's part. There was a bond of mutual sympathy between them ; they gave one another their respective addresses, and Hussonnet cordially invited Frederick to accom- pany him to the Rue de Fleurus. They had reached the middle of the garden, when Arnoux's clerk, holding his breath, twisted his features into a hideous grimace, and began to crow like a cock. Thereupon all the cocks in the vicinity responded with prolonged " cock-a-doodle-doos.
They stopped close to the Theatre Bobino, in front of a house, which they approached by way of an alley. In the skylight of a garret, between the nastur- tiums and the sweet peas, a young woman showed her- self, bare-headed, in her stays, her two arms resting on the edge of the roof-gutter. He made the barrier fly open with a kick, and dis- appeared.
Frederick waited for him all the week. He did not like to call at Hussonnet's residence, lest it might ap- pear as if he were in a hurry for a luncheon in return for the one he had paid for. But he sought the clerk all over the Latin Quarter. He came across him one even- ing, and brought him to his apartment on the Quai Napoleon. They had a long chat, and unbosomed themselves to each other.
Hussonnet yearned after the glory and the gains of the theatre. He collaborated in the writing of vaudevilles which were not accepted, " had heaps of plans," could turn a couplet ; he sang for Frederick a few of the verses he had composed. Then, noticing on one of the shelves a volume of Hugo and another of Lamartine, he broke out into sarcastic criticisms of the romantic school. These poets had neither good sense nor correctness, and, above all, did not write French!
He plumed himself on his knowledge of the language, and analysed the most beautiful phrases with that snarling severity, that academic taste, which persons of playful disposition exhibit when they are discussing serious art. Frederick was wounded in his predilections, and felt a desire to shorten the discussion. Why not take the risk at once of uttering the word on which his happi- ness depended?
He asked this literary youth whether it would be possible to get an introduction into the Arnoux's house through him. The thing was declared to be quite easy, and they fixed upon the following day. One Saturday, about four o'clock, he made his appearance. But, taking advantage of the cab into which they had got, he drew up in front of the Theatre Frangais to get a box-ticket, got down at a tailor's shop, then at a dressmaker's, and wrote notes in the doorkeeper's lodge. At last they came to the Boulevard Mont- martre. Frederick passed through the shop, and went up the staircase. Arnoux recognised him through the glass-partition in front of his desk, and while continu- ing to write he stretched out his hand and laid it on Frederick's shoulder.
Five or six persons, standing around, filled the nar- row apartment, which was lighted by a single window looking out on the yard ; a sofa of brown damask wool filled the interior of an alcove between two door-cur- tains of similar material. Upon the chimney-piece, covered with old papers, there was a bronze Venus.
Two candelabra, garnished with rose-coloured wax- tapers, supported it, one at each side. At the right, near a cardboard chest of drawers, a man, seated in an armchair, and with his hat on, was reading a news- paper. The walls were hidden beneath an array of prints and pictures, precious engravings or sketches by contemporary masters, adorned with dedications testi- fying the most sincere affection for Jacques Arnoux. And, without waiting for an answer, he asked Hus- sonnet in a low tone: On this day might be seen there Antenor Braive, who painted portraits of kings ; Jules Burrieu, who by his sketches was popularising the wars in Al- geria ; the caricaturist Sombary, the sculptor Vourdat, and several others.
And not a single one of them cor- responded with the student's preconceived ideas. Their manners were simple, their talk free and easy. The mystic Lovarias told an obscene story ; and the inventor of Oriental landscape, the famous Dittmer, wore a knit- ted shirt under his waistcoat, and went home in the omnibus. The first topic discussed was the case of a girl named Apollonie, formerly a model, whom Burrieu alleged that he had seen on the boulevard in a carriage. Hus- sonnet explained this metamorphosis through the suc- cession of persons who had loved her.
The conversation was interrupted by the entrance of a man of middle stature, whose coat was fastened by a single button, and whose eyes glittered with a rather wild expression. The old masters did not trouble their heads about the mil- lion Correggio, Murillo " " Add Pellerin," said Sombary. But, without taking the least notice of the epigram, he went on talking with such vehemence that Arnoux was forced to repeat twice to him: No doubt, she could be reached through the little room near the sofa.
Arnoux had just opened the portiere leading into it to get a pocket-handkerchief, and Frederick had seen a wash-stand at the far end of the apartment. But at this point a kind of muttering sound came from the corner of the chimney-piece ; it was caused by the personage who sat in the armchair reading the newspaper. He was a man of five feet nine inches in height, with rather heavy eyelashes, a head of grey hair, and an imposing appearance; his name was Regimbart. Pellerin again took up his parallel between Michael Angelo and Shakespeare. Dittmer was leaving when Arnoux pulled him back in order to put two bank notes into his hand.
Thereupon Hussonnet said, considering this an opportune time: Here are three works cried down, destroyed! Everybody is laughing at me! People know what they are now! What can I do with them?
I'll have to send them off to California or to the devil-! Arnoux refused to pay him, and dismissed him in a brutal fashion. Then, with an entire change of man- ner, he bowed to a gentleman of affectedly grave de- meanour, who wore whiskers and displayed a white tie around his neck and the cross of the Legion of Hon- our over his breast. With his elbow resting on the window-fastening, he talked to him for a long time in honeyed tones. At last he exclaimed: As soon as he had gone: As it grew later, Arnoux became more busy.
He classified articles, tore open letters, set out accounts in a row ; at the sound of hammering in the warehouse he went out to look after the packing; then he returned to his ordinary work ; and, while he kept his steel pen running over the paper, he indulged in sharp witti- cisms. He had an invitation to dine with his lawyer that evening, and was starting next day for Belgium. The door near the sofa flew open, and a tall, thin woman entered with abrupt movements, which made all the trinkets of her watch rattle under her black taf- feta gown.
It was the woman of whom Frederick had caught a glimpse last summer at the Palais-Royal. Some of those present, addressing her by name, shook hands with her. Hussonnet had at last managed to extract fifty francs from his employer. The clock struck seven. All rose to go. Arnoux told Pellerin to remain, and accompanied Mademoiselle Vatnaz into the dressing-room. Presently, the woman's voice was raised: Arnoux had again promised her something. Arnoux quickly reentered the dressing-room, rubbed some cosmetic over his moustaches, raised his braces, stretched his straps ; and said, while he was washing his hands: Is that under- stood?
Pellerin read numerous works on aesthetics, in order to find out the true theory of the Beautiful, convinced that, when he had discovered it, he would produce masterpieces. He had surrounded himself with every imaginable auxiliary drawings, plaster-casts, models, engravings ; and he kept searching about, eating his heart out.
Tormented by the desire for glory, and wasting his days in discussions, believing in a thousand fooleries in systems, in criticisms, in the importance of a regulation or a reform in the domain of Art he had at fifty as yet produced nothing save mere sketches. Overhead was a net- work of lines in chalk, like stitches of thread repeated twenty times ; it was impossible to understand. Pel- lerin explained the subject of these two compositions by indicating with his thumb the portions that were lacking. He admired academies of women with dishevelled hair, landscapes abounding in trunks of trees, twisted by the storm ; and, above all, freaks of the pen, imita- tions from memory of Callot, Rembrandt, or Goya, of which he did not know the models.
Pellerin no longer set any value on these works of his youth. He was now all in favour of the grand style ; he dogmatised eloquently about Phidias and Winckelmann. The ob- jects around him strengthened the force of his lan- guage ; a death's head on a prie-dieu, yataghans, a monk's habit. Frederick put on the latter. Arriving early one day, he surprised the artist in his wretched folding-bed, which was hidden from view by a strip of tapestry ; for Pellerin went to bed late, being an assiduous frequenter of the theatres.
An old wo- man in tatters attended on him. He dined at a cook- shop, and lived without a mistress. But why had he never chanced to speak of Madame Arnoux?
As for her husband, at one time he called Arnoux a decent fellow, at other times a charlatan. Frederick was waiting for some disclosures on his part. She had been, at one time, as far as Pellerin could ascertain, a schoolmistress in the provinces. She now gave lessons in Paris, and tried to write for the small journals. Frederick suggested that one would imagine from her manners with Arnoux that she was his mistress. The big letters which formed the name of Arnoux on the marble plate above the shop seemed to him quite peculiar and pregnant with significance, like some sacred writing.
The wide footpath, by its descent, facilitated his approach ; the door almost opened of its own accord ; and the handle, smooth to the touch, gave him the sensation of friendly and, as it were, intelligent fingers clasping his. Unconsciously, he became as regular as Regimbart. Every day Regimbart seated himself in the chimney- corner, in his armchair, got hold of the National, and kept possession of it, expressing his thoughts by ex- clamations or by shrugs of the shoulders. At eight o'clock in the morning he descended the heights of Montmartre, in order.
A late break- fast, after several games of billiards, occupied time till three o'clock. After the sitting in Arnoux's shop, he entered the Bordelais smoking-divan, where he swallowed some bitters ; then, rather than return home to his wife, he preferred to dine alone in a little cafe in the Rue Gail- Ion, where he desired them to serve up to him " house- hold dishes, natural things. And it was not the love of drinking that attracted Citizen Regimbart to these places, but the inveterate habit of talking politics at such resorts.
Arnoux appeared to have a very great esteem for him. One day he said to Frederick: He is an able man. Arnoux referred to his own experience on the subject. Frederick showed himself more ceremonious toward Regimbart, going so far as to invite him from time to time to join him in a glass of absinthe ; and, although he considered him a stupid man, he often remained a full hour in his company solely because he was Jacques Arnoux's friend. After pushing forward some contemporary masters early in their career, Arnoux, the picture-dealer, a man of progressive ideas, had tried, while clinging to his artistic ways, to extend his pecuniary profits.
His object was to emancipate the fine arts, to get the sublime at a cheap price. With his mania for pandering to public opinion, he made clever artists swerve from their true path, corrupted the strong, ex- hausted the weak, and won distinction for those of mediocre talent; he set them up with the assistance of his connections and of his magazine.
Tyros in paint- ing were ambitious to see their works in his shop- window, and upholsterers brought specimens of furni- ture to his house. Frederick regarded him, at the one time, as a millionaire, as a dilettante, and as a man of action. However, he noticed many things that rilled him with astonishment, for my lord Arnoux was rather sly in his commercial transactions. He received from the very heart of Germany or of Italy a picture purchased in Paris for fifteen hundred francs, and, exhibiting an invoice that brought the price up to four thousand, he sold it over again for three thousand five hundred.
One of his regular tricks with painters was to exact as a drink-allowance an abatement in the purchase-money of their pictures, un- der the pretence that he would bring out an engraving of it. He always, when selling such pictures, made a profit by the abatement; but the engraving never ap- peared. To those who complained that he had taken an advantage of them, he would reply by a slap on the stomach. Generous in other ways, however, he squan- dered money on cigars for his acquaintances, " thee'd " and " thou'd " persons who were unknown, displayed enthusiasm about a work or a man ; and, after that, sticking to his opinion, and, regardless of consequences, spared no expense in journeys, correspondence, and advertising.
He considered himself very upright, and, yielding to an irresistible impulse to unbosom himself, ingenuously told his friends about certain indelicate acts of which he had been guilty. Next day, on entering with Hussonnet M. Arnoux's office, Frederick saw through the door the one open- ing on the staircase the hem of a lady's dress disap- pearing. That which had seemed to him to be diffused vaguely through the place had now vanished or, rather, it had never been there.
He felt an infinite amazement, and, as it were, the painful sensation of having been betrayed. Arnoux, while rummaging about in his drawer, smiled. Was he laughing at him? The clerk laid down a bundle of moist papers on the table. At the corner of the Rue Montmartre, he looked back. Where, then, did she reside? How would he ever meet her now? Once more the object of his desire was encompassed by a solitude more immense than ever!
Whilst his companion, leaning on his elbow, was star- ing at the decanter, he was turning his eyes to the right and to the left. He caught a glimpse of Pellerin's pro- file on the footpath outside ; the painter gave a quick tap at the window-pane, and he had scarcely sat down when Regimbart asked him why they no longer saw him at the office of L'Art Industriel. The fellow is a brute a mere tradesman, a wretch, a downright rogue!
Nevertheless, he was wounded, for it seemed to him that they hit at Madame Arnoux more or less. Pellerin stamped with his foot on the ground, and his only response was an energetic puff. He had been devoting himself to artistic work of a kind that he did not care to connect his name with, such as portraits for two crayons, or pasticcios from the great masters for amateurs of limited knowledge ; and, as he felt humiliated by these inferior productions, he preferred usually to hold his tongue on the subject.
He had to relieve his feelings. In accordance with an order, which had been given in Frederick's very presence, he had brought Arnoux two pictures. Thereupon the dealer took the liberty of criticising them. He found fault with the composition, the colouring, and the drawing above all, the draw- ing; he would not, in short, take them at any price. But, driven to extremities by a bill falling due, Pellerin had to give them to the Jew Isaac ; and, a fortnight later, Arnoux himself sold them to a Spaniard for two thousand francs.
One of these morn- ings we'll see him in the dock! This violence completely restored the young man's self-command. No doubt he might have acted more generously ; still, if Arnoux found these two pic- tures " Bad, say it! Are you then a judge of them? Is that your profession? Now, you know, my boy, I don't allow this sort of thing on the part of mere amateurs. The young man faltered: In the heat of his eloquence, he was filled with tenderness toward this man, so intelligent and kind, whom his friends calumniated, and who was now aban- doned by them.
He could not resist a strange impulse to go at once and see him again. Ten minutes later he pushed open the door of the picture-warehouse. Arnoux was preparing, with the assistance of his clerks, some huge placards for an exhibition of pic- tures. Frederick, blushing like a young girl, protested against such an assumption. He was handling the pictures that were to be ex- hibited, examining their form, colouring, and frames ; and Frederick felt more and more irritated by his air of abstraction, and particularly by the appearance of his hands large hands, rather soft, with flat nails.
Arnoux arose, and saying, " That's disposed of! Frederick was offended at this liberty, and re- coiled a pace or two ; then he made a dash for the shop- door, and passed out through it, as he imagined, for the last time in his life. Madame Arnoux herself had been lowered in his mind by the vulgarity of her husband. During the same week he got a letter from Des- lauriers', informing him that the clerk would be in Paris on the following Thursday.
A man of this sort was worth all the women in the world. He would no longer have any need of Regimbart, of Pellerin, of Hussonnet, of any- one! In order to provide his friend with as comfort- able quarters as possible, he bought an iron bedstead and a second armchair, stripping off some of his own bed-covering to furnish the new one properly. On Thursday morning he was dressing himself to go to meet Deslauriers when there was a ring at the door.
Yesterday I got a fine trout from Geneva. We expect you to-night at seven o'clock sharp. The address is the Rue de Choiseul 24 bis. He repeated to himself, " At last! The key turned in the lock, and the door-keeper appeared with a trunk on his shoulder. Frederick, on seeing Deslauriers, began to tremble like an adulteress before her husband.
He flung himself on his friend's breast. Then the clerk told his story. His father tried to avoid giving an account of the expense of tutelage, thinking that the period limited for rendering such ac- counts was ten years ; but, well versed in legal pro- cedure, Deslauriers had managed to get the share coming to him from his mother into his own posses- sion seven thousand francs clear which he had there with him in an old pocket-book. I must think over the best way of investing it, and find quar- ters for myself to-morrow morning. To-day I'm per- fectly free, and am entirely at your service, my old friend.
I would be a selfish wretch " This epithet, flung out at random, touched Freder- ick to the quick, like a reproach. The door-keeper had placed on the table close to the fire some chops, cold meat, a large lobster, some sweets for dessert, and two bottles of Bordeaux. Deslauriers was touched by these excellent prepara- tions to welcome his arrival. But a messenger came with a new hat. Deslauriers, in a loud tone, remarked that it was very showy. Next came the tailor himself to fit on the coat, to which he had given a touch with the smoothing-iron. An hour later, a third individual appeared on the scene, and drew forth from a big black bag a pair of shining patent leather boots.
While Frederick was trying them on, the bootmaker indirectly drew atten- tion to the shoes of the young man from the country. This humiliating incident annoyed Frederick. Why did you never say anything to me about them in your letters? Then, at four o'clock, he began the preparations for his toilet. At last he was dressed and off he went. And he went to dine in the Rue Saint-Jacques, at a little restaurant kept by a man he knew.
Frederick stopped several times while going up the stairs, so violently did his heart beat. Arnoux, who was mounting the stairs behind him, took him by the arm and led him in. Mademoiselle Marthe came to announce that her mamma was dressing. Arnoux raised her in his arms and kissed her; then, as he wished to select certain bottles of wine from the cellar himself, he left Freder- ick with the little girl.
She had grown considerably since the trip in the steamboat. Her dress, more fluffed out than the petticoat of a danseusc, disclosed her rosy calves, and her pretty childlike form had all the fresh odour of a bunch of flowers. She received the young gentleman's compliments with a coquettish air, fixed on him her large, dreamy eyes, then slipping on the carpet, disappeared like a cat. After this he no longer felt ill at ease. The globes of the lamps, covered with a paper lace-work, sent forth a white light, softening the colour of the walls, hung with mauve satin.
It was altogether a peaceful sight, suggesting the idea of propriety and innocent family life. Arnoux returned, and at the same moment Madame Arnoux appeared at the other doorway. As she was enveloped in shadow, the young man could at first distinguish only her head. She wore a black velvet gown, and in her hair she had fastened a long Al- gerian cap, in a red silk net, which coiling round her comb, fell over her left shoulder. I remember Monsieur perfectly," she re- sponded. Then the guests arrived, nearly all at the same time Dittmer, Lovarias, Burrieu, the composer Rosen- wald, the poet Theophile Lorris, two art critics, col- leagues of Hussonnet, a paper manufacturer, and in the rear the illustrious Pierre Paul Meinsius, the last representative of the grand school of painting, who blithely carried along with his glory his forty-five years and his big paunch.
When they were passing into the dining-room, Madame Arnoux took his arm. A chair had been left vacint fo- Pellerin. Arnoux, though he took advan- tage of him in business, was fond of him. Frederick judged that they had been a long time reconciled. He liked the company, the dishes, everything. He had to make his choice between ten sorts of mustard. He partook of daspachio, of curry, of ginger, of Cor- sican blackbirds, and a species of Roman macaroni called lasagna ; he drank extraordinary wines, lip-f raeli and tokay. Arnoux indeed prided himself on enter- taining people in good style.
With an eye to the pro- curement of eatables, he paid court to mail-coach drivers, and was in league with the cooks of great houses, who divulged to him the secrets of rare sauces. But Frederick was particularly entertained by the conversation. His taste for travelling was tickled by Dittmer, who talked about the East ; he gratified his curiosity about theatrical matters by listening to Rosen- wald's chat about the opera ; and the atrocious existence of Bohemia assumed for him a droll aspect when pre- sented through the gaiety of Hussonnet, who related, in a picturesque fashion, how he had spent an entire winter with no food except Dutch cheese.
Then a dis- cussion between Lovarias and Burrieu about the Florentine School gave him new ideas with regard to masterpieces and widened his horizon. He found dif- ficulty in restraining his enthusiasm when Pellerin exclaimed: What does it mean reality? Some see things black, others blue the multitude sees them brute-fashion. The anxiety about eternal truth is a mark of contemporary baseness ; and art will become, if things go on in that way, a sort of poor joke as much below religion as it is below poetry, and as much below politics as it is below busi- ness.
You will never reach its end yes, its end! Look, for instance, at Bassolier's pictures: You might put them into your pocket, carry them with you when you are travelling. Notaries buy them for twenty thousand francs, while pictures of the ideal type bring three sous. But, without ideality, there is no grandeur ; without grandeur there is no beauty. Olympus is a mountain.
The most effective monument will always be the Pyramids. Exuberance is better than taste ; the desert is better than a street- pavement, and a savage is surely better than a hair- dresser! They sank into his soul like metals falling into a furnace, added to his passion, and supplied the material of love.
His chair was three seats below hers on the same side. From time to time, she bent forward a little, turning aside her head to address a few words to her little daughter ; and as she smiled on these occasions, a dimple appeared in her cheek, giving to her face an expression of dainty good-nature. As soon as the time came for the gentlemen to take their wine, she disappeared. The conversation became more free and easy. Arnoux shone in it, and Frederick was amazed at the cynicism of men.
When they had returned to the drawing-room, he took up, to keep himself in countenance, one of the albums which lay about on the table. The great artists of the day had illustrated them with drawings, had written in them snatches of verse or prose, or simply their signatures. In the midst of famous names he found many that he had never heard of before, and original thoughts appeared only underneath a flood of nonsense.
All these effusions contained a more or less direct expression of homage toward Madame Arnoux. Frederick would have been afraid to write a line beside them. She went into her boudoir to look at the little chest with silver clasps which he had noticed on the mantel- shelf. It was a present from her husband, a work of the Renaissance. Arnoux's friends complimented him, and his wife thanked him. His tender emotions were aroused, and before all the guests he kissed her. After this they chatted in groups here and there.
The worthy Meinsius was beside Madame Arnoux in an easy chair close by the fire. She was leaning for- ward toward his ear; their heads were almost touch- ing, and Frederick would have been glad to become deaf, infirm, and ugly if he might thereby gain an illustrious name and white hair in short, if he only happened to possess something which would justify such intimate association with her.
He began once more to eat out his heart, furious at the idea of being so young a man. Every word that came out of her mouth seemed to Frederick something entirely new, an ex- clusive appendage of her personality. He gazed at the fringes of her head-dress, the ends of which car- essed her bare shoulder, and he was unable to remove his eyes ; he plunged his soul into the whiteness of that feminine flesh, and yet he did not venture to raise his eyes to glance at her higher, face to face. Rosenwald interrupted them, begging of Madame Arnoux to sing something.
He played a prelude, she waited, her lips opened slightly, and a sound, pure, long-continued, silvery, ascended into the air.
- Éducation sentimentale (English translation)?
- Sentimental Education; Or, The History of a Young Man. Volume 1 by Gustave Flaubert?
- Maxime Le Forestier;
- Education sentimentale. English.
Frederick did not understand a single one of the Italian words. The song began with a grave meas- ure, something like church music, then in a more ani- mated strain, with a crescendo movement, it broke into repeated bursts of sound, then suddenly subsided, and the melody came back again in a tender fashion with a wide and rhythmic swing. She stood beside the keyboard, her arms hanging down and a far-off look on her face.
Sometimes, in order to read the music, she advanced her forehead for a moment and her eyelashes moved to and fro. Her contralto voice in the low notes took a mournful intonation which had a chilling effect on the listener, and then her beautiful head, with those great brows of hers, bent over her shoulder ; her bosom swelled ; her eyes widened ; her neck, from which roulades made their escape, fell back as if under aerial kisses.
She flung out three sharp notes, came down again, sent forth one higher still, and, after a silence, finished with an organ-point. Rosenwald did not leave the piano. He continued playing, to amuse himself. From time to time a guest stole away. He was one of those people who claim to be ill when they do not " take a turn " after dinner. Madame Arnoux had made her way toward the anteroom. Dittmer and Hussonnet bowed to her. She stretched out her hand to them.
She did the same to Frederick; and he felt, as it were, something penetrating every particle of his skin. He left his friends. He wished to be alone. His heart was overflowing. Why had she offered him her hand? Was it a thoughtless act, or an encourage- ment? The streets were deserted. Now and then a heavy wagon would roll past, shaking the pavements.
Sud- denly he felt himself in the midst of a circle of damp air, and found that he was on the edge of the quays. He stopped in the middle of the Pont Neuf, and, taking off his hat and exposing his chest, he drank in the air. He felt as if something that was inexhaustible were ascending from the very depths of his being, an afflux of tenderness that enervated him, like the mo- tion of the waves under his eyes.
A church-clock slowly struck one, and had the effect of a voice calling out to him. Then, he was seized with one of those shuddering sensations of the soul in which one seems to be trans- ported into a higher world. He felt, as it were, en- dowed with some extraordinary faculty, the purpose of which he could not determine. He seriously ques- tioned himself whether he would be a great painter or a great poet ; and he decided in favour of painting, for this profession would bring him into closer contact with Madame Arnoux. The goal of his life was now perfectly clear, and there could be no mistake about the future.
When he had closed his door, he heard some one snoring in the dark closet near his apartment. It was his friend. He no longer wasted a thought on him. Looking in the glass he contemplated his own face. It appeared to him handsome. For a whole minute he stood gazing at himself. Pellerin agreed to give him lessons, and Frederick brought him to his lodgings to see whether anything more was needed among his painting utensils. Deslauriers was in, and the second armchair was occupied by a young man.
The clerk said, pointing towards him: His forehead was heightened by the manner in which he wore his hair, cut straight like a brush. There was a certain hard, cold look in his grey eyes ; and his long black coat, his entire costume, savoured of the pedagogue and the ecclesi- astic. They first discussed topics of the moment, amongst others the Stabat of Rossini. Senecal, in answer to a question, stated that he never went to the theatre.
Pellerin opened the box of colours. Louis Philippe had a copy of the Code in his hand ; the Queen had a Catholic prayer-book; the Princesses were em- broidering ; the Due de Nemours was girding on a sword ; M. This picture, which was entitled " A Good Family," was a source of de- light to commonplace middle-class people, but of grief to patriots. Pellerin, in a tone of annoyance, as if he had been himself the producer of this work, observed by way of answer that every opinion had some value. Art should aim exclusively at promoting morality amongst the masses!
The only subjects that ought to be reproduced were those which incited to virtuous actions ; all others were injurious. What need have we of laborious trifles, from which it is impos- sible to derive any benefit those Venuses, for instance. They contain no instruction for the people! Show us rather their miseries! Never was there a more pitiable epoch! But with such principles we corrupt the crowd.
This sort of thing, however, is profitable to the Government. It would not be so powerful but for the complicity of rogues of that sort. He even went so far as to maintain that Arnoux was really a man with a heart of gold, devoted to his friends, deeply attached to his wife. I saw him once at a cafe with a friend. But he had his teeth daily set on edge by the announcements in L 'Art In- dustricl. Arnoux to him represented a world which he considered antagonistic to democracy.
An austere Republican, he suspected something corrupt in every form of elegance, and the more so as he wanted noth- ing himself and was inflexible in his integrity. They found some difficulty in resuming the con- versation. The painter soon recalled to mind his ap- pointment, the tutor his pupils ; and, when they had gone, after a long silence, Deslauriers asked a number of questions about Arnoux. Then they talked about settling themselves. Deslauriers had without much trouble obtained the post of second clerk in a solicitor's office ; he had also entered his name for the terms at the Law School, and bought the indispensable books.
The life of which they had dreamed for so long now began. It was delightful, owing to their youth, which made everything assume a favourable aspect. As Deslauriers had said nothing relative to any pecuniary arrange- ment, Frederick did not refer to the subject. He helped to defray all the expenses, kept the cupboard well stocked, and attended to all the household require- ments ; but if it happened to be necessary to give the doorkeeper a rating, the clerk took that on his own shoulders, still maintaining the part, which he had assumed in their college days, of protector and senior.
Separated all day long, they met in the evenings. Each took his place at the fireside and set about his work. But ere long it would be interrupted. While in bed they left open the door of the little room where Deslauriers slept, and kept chattering to each other. When it was not raining on Sunday they went out together, and, arm in arm, sauntered through the streets.
The same ideas nearly always occurred to them simultaneously. Sometimes they would go on chatting without noticing anything around them. Des- lauriers longed for riches, as a means for gaining power over men. Frederick's ideal was to furnish for himself a palace in the Moorish fashion, to spend his life reclining on cashmere divans, listening to the murmur of a jet of water, and attended by negro pages.
And these things, of which he had only dreamed, became in time so definite that he felt as dejected as if he had lost them. Despite his democratic views, he urged Frederick to get an introduction into the Dambreuses' house. The other, by way of objection, pointed to the failure of his previous attempts.
They'll give you an invi- tation! Frederick, not having the entire amount, borrowed a hundred crowns from Deslauriers. As a matter of fact, he put no restraint upon him- self in this respect. A view of Venice, a view of Naples, and another of Constantinople occupying the centre of three walls respectively, equestrian subjects by Alfred de Dreux here and there, a group by Pra- dier over the mantelpiece, numbers of L'Art Industriel lying on the piano, and works in boards on the floor in the corners, encumbered the apartment to such an extent that it was difficult to find a place to lay a book on, or to move one's elbows about freely.
Frederick maintained that he needed all this for his painting. He pursued his art-studies under Pellerin. But when he called on the artist, the latter was often out, being accustomed to attend at every funeral and pub- lic occurrence of which an account was given in the newspapers, and so it was that Frederick spent hours alone in the studio.
His eyes wandering from the task at which he was engaged, roamed over the shell-work on the wall, around the objects of virtu, and, like a traveller who has lost his way in the middle of a wood, and whom every path brings back to the same spot, continually, he found underlying every idea in his mind the recollection of Madame Arnoux. He selected days for calling on her. When he had reached the second floor, he would pause on the threshold, doubtful as to whether he ought to ring or not. Steps drew nigh, the door opened, and at the announcement " Madame is out," a sense of relief would come upon him, as if a weight had been lifted from his heart.
He met her, however. On the first occasion there were three other ladies with her ; the next time it was in the afternoon, and Mademoiselle Marthe's writing-master was present. For the sake of prudence he deemed it better not to call again. It is the beginning of an infatuation that will last a lifetime. Blending love story, historical authenticity, and satire, Sentimental Education is one of the great French novels of the nineteenth century.
Paperback , pages. Published February 5th by Penguin Classics first published November 17th To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Sentimental Education , please sign up. You like Women who are older than you? Because they know what men loves,and are giving to you as much you give yourself to her. The older Ladies know all that-that's experience.
Because of that ,I would rather choose a hot 34 year old Woman than the teenage girl with the age of See 1 question about Sentimental Education…. Lists with This Book. Sep 30, Paul Bryant rated it did not like it Shelves: From about page 50 until when I stopped, I was having these strong bibliocidal fantasies.
I thought — maybe I will leave this accidentally on the bus to work. But I forgot to forget it, like that country song. Then I thought — maybe a column of army ants will chomp it up so that not a shred remains. But army ants are never seen in Nottingham, only the friendly variety who bid you good day as they pass by. I tried to donate my copy to Oxfam but the shop assistant, having turned very pale when she saw the title, summoned up a courage I had not thought her to possess and said they could not accept that particular title. When I asked why she referred me to the Oxfam standard operating procedures, something about health and safety, which includes of course mental health.
They had accepted copies of Sentimental Education in previous years but there had been some incidents and now all shops had been explicitly warned not to. I see that many of my most respected GR friends hand out the big four and five stars to this novel and describe it as brilliantly comic. I was trembling in my boots until I found that none other than Henry James was on my side. Here is his considered opinion: Here the form and method are the same as in "Madame Bovary"; the studied skill, the science, the accumulation of material, are even more striking; but the book is in a single word a dead one.
L'Education Sentimentale is elaborately and massively dreary. That a novel should have a certain charm seems to us the most rudimentary of principles, and there is no more charm in this laborious monument to a treacherous ideal than there is interest in a heap of gravel. However I did notice something what Henry James did not notice, and felt quite smug about that.
It is this — that the main part of the plot of Sentimental Education is almost the same as the plot of Shampoo , the Warren Beattie movie from , which I saw only last week so it was fresh in my memory.
Sentimental Education; Or, The History of a Young Man. Volume 2 by Gustave Flaubert - Free Ebook
Naturally George is shagging Felicia as it would seem unkind not to, and, because he keeps bumping into Jackie as they move in the same social circles, he realises he never wanted to break up with her so he starts shagging Jackie as well. And she is played by none other than 19 year old Carrie Fisher, two years before Princess Leia.
What a shock that was. Just like in Shampoo, except that George the hairdresser was a lot less dreary. Also in Shampoo and Sentimental Education there are these long long long boring party scenes where I think the effect is supposed to be scintillatingly socially satirical. If I am ever taken hostage and this is the only reading material available in my rat infested dungeon then I will definitely finish this. View all 50 comments. The story focuses on the romantic life of a young man at the time of the French Revolution of As was the case with Madame Bovary , which I read recently, this book demanded to be commented on as I read, so I posted lots of quips and quotes in the updates.
And since it's a busy time of the year, I'm going to incorporate some of those updates into the review - apologies to those of you who've seen them already. His male friends don't know either and they constantly pull him in different directions in an effort to find out. And although she's a very faithful spouse to M. The text underneath Daumier's sketch says that since women now wear skirts made of steel, men would need to be made of rubber to give them their arm in the street! Daumier intends to be funny of course, and you might argue that Flaubert is being serious much of the time. But even when Flaubert is describing something potentially sedate or serious, he makes me laugh.
So when I came on this description of the kind of elaborate curtsies people make in polite society, I couldn't help matching the passage with another Daumier cartoon: And of course, Daumier just happens to have a witty cartoon about a grouse too: Has Daumier such a scene? The more I looked for correspondences between Flaubert's and Daumier's scenes, the more I found.
And he's not even Rosanette's lover as yet! Complications seem to follow him about! C'est une question purement individuelle. Que le peuple soit plus moral, et il sera moins pauvre! Daumier was obviously at the same dinner! Selon ta promesse, nous comptons sur toi. Il faut que je te parle avant la manifestation. Daumier has some great caricatures of Louis Philippe as the 'poire', ripe for harvesting: So Paris is in uproar and people are on the barricades: Did he answer the call?
Hmm, he has his own way of addressing Reform. He decides to stop shilly-shallying and to finally sleep with Rosanette his passion for Mme Arnoux being still unconsummated: He searches for them in the Palace which the People have invaded, and comes on a crazy scene in which a group of people try out the throne for size: A little further on, Flaubert describes a granite quarry in terms that make it resemble a long-forgotten ruined city, a Sodom and Gomorrah: Un bruit de fer, des coups drus et nombreux sonnaient: One compromise he's faced with is marrying a rich widow: Well, like Liberty, she does turn up - when least expected: Still, their meeting towards the end of the book provides a sweet scene in which the two finally admit their deep love for each other: According to Flaubert's account, it did seem as if a lot of time was spent howling at the moon during those decades!
View all 37 comments. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. L'Education Sentimentale is well known to be one of Woody Allen's favourite books, and it explores one of Allen's favourite themes. Whether life is a tragedy or a comedy depends on hair-fine nuances. Melinda and Melinda is probably the clearest example: A bit later, he redid the idea in a more convincing way, as the linked pair Match Point the tragedy and Scoop the comedy. In the same spir L'Education Sentimentale is well known to be one of Woody Allen's favourite books, and it explores one of Allen's favourite themes.
In the same spirit, here's a linked pair of reviews. I wrote the tragic one first, but then felt that I really needed to balance it with a comic version. Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul; And there I see such black and grained spots As will not leave their tinct. I'm afraid it's not exactly a fun beach read.
If L'Education Sentimentale doesn't make you feel uneasy, you're either a remarkably secure person or you decided to quit before reaching the end. And Flaubert does a good job of sneaking up on you: On the surface, it's unremarkable, except for the lovely prose. After a chance meeting on a boat, he conceives a passion for Mme.
Arnoux, a beautiful married woman. He manages to insinuate himself into her husband's social circle, and becomes friendly with him. After a while, M. I'll try to avoid dropping any more spoilers, but I thought I should convince you that it's definitely not a book where nothing happens: So, why's it so disquieting? One way to explain is to compare with two other novels, which were written not long after and certainly, at least in part, were inspired by it.
Arnoux, but by the end of the novel he's got over her; we get a detailed account of how her charm gradually fades away, so that he can finally see her objectively. It's disappointing, but extremely rational. And in Maupassant's Bel-Ami , Georges Duroy cleverly exploits his series of mistresses to become rich and successful; this time, you're shocked at how cold-blooded he is, but it's also rational. The novel's extraordinary strength is to get inside his mind as he dithers between the various women he's involved with, and demonstrate how he simply isn't capable of any kind of rational thought whatsoever.
He's with X, and Flaubert shows with his usual exactitude how blissfully in love he is with her. Then, a few pages later, he's with Y, and his protestations of eternal devotion don't come across as hypocritical: And, in the next chapter, with Z It's horrifyingly well done. In the middle of all this, the Revolution of breaks out. Flaubert assumes you know the story already, and keeps referring to people and events I'd never heard of - I was flipping to the endnotes like I was reading Infinite Jest. I did wonder for a moment what the politics had to do with the main story; alas, that rapidly becomes clear too.
The fact that France has been given a once-in-a-century chance to establish a fairer and more democratic government completely escapes him. I was strongly reminded of the scene near the beginning of Shaun of the Dead , where Shaun, who's just been dumped by his girlfriend, stumbles home in a daze while somehow managing not to notice that London is being invaded by flesh-eating zombies. You will gather that L'Education Sentimentale does not present a positive and uplifting view of human nature.
If only it were ugly or hastily written, one could dismiss it.
A lot of the time, it's even funny. You may occasionally want to fling it across the room; more often, you're going to react with a wry smile. He's witty and entertaining. I started with a quote from Hamlet , arguably one of the book's ancestors, and I'll conclude with one from Cat's Cradle , probably a great-grandson, and also a very funny book. Here's Kurt Vonnegut on the same subject. It consists of one word and a period. That's a lot of cheating. It's happened to me. It's happened to my best friends. It may have happened to you. So you've read it too? Don't tell me how it ends You know, this reminds me of something that happened to Charlotte and me a few years ago.
But we need some cocktails first. Her husband Jack was a lot older than her. She was wondering if she would make it as an actress. Dissolve back to restaurant. He had a cute intern called Fred. One day, Fred met Charlotte. He immediately knew he could never love another woman. But how could he meet her again? He started inviting Fred to his dinner parties. He started taking him to parties at Samantha's place too. A much wilder party. Oh, and somewhere around here he went back to Wisconsin for a couple of months and managed to get engaged to the girl next door.
So, uh, let me see, he can only love Charlotte but he's got the hots for Samantha and he's engaged to the girl next door? She takes a large sip of her cocktail. She let him hold her hand while she told him about her problems. But that's all that happened. He made a date with Charlotte at the New York apartment he'd just started renting. This was going to be it. FRED, in an agony of suspense, is waiting outside the apartment block. He keeps looking at his watch. The Twin Towers erupt in flames. People screaming in the streets. FRED is still looking at his watch as they stream past.
He went to see Samantha. But deep down, he never forgave her for making him betray his true love. He started seeing someone else, the wife of a rich banker. He thought it was my fault, and the banker's wife's fault. Of course, it all ended in tears. Flaubert is a bit of an asshole, but he sure spills the beans on how men think when they cheat. There are tears in her eyes. And I wish I'd read Flaubert earlier.
View all 22 comments. Against the backdrop of the Paris uprising this novel heaves with ornate descriptive grandeur, political commentary and violence, a frenetic comic energy, and more love triangles than the HMS Hefner in Bermuda. A classic that delights, frustrates, amuses and teases in equal measure—what more could you ask for? You have sex on the brain, you do. Take a cold shower.
View all 21 comments. View all 3 comments. View all 5 comments. Jul 17, notgettingenough rated it it was amazing Shelves: Writing it, not reading it. I marvel that he has written a book with no character for which one could have a shred of sympathy and yet somehow we sit there caring what happens. I mean, really caring, reading through breakfast caring. You're worth the whole damn bunch put together.
But here there is Finished. But here there isn't one character to redeem the story and yet, even so, even though they are rotten without exception, still Flaubert gets you to care. And then again, I marvel that the book is a complete shambles - The rest is here View all 11 comments. Feb 23, Geoff rated it really liked it.
The buildings he makes out of words hold the world, and I want to call him King of the Paragraph, because his seem so measured, so precise, so carefully wrought. His emotional sketches are just as profound and rich as his inventories of space; his sketches of those characters void of human emotion are equally as profound.
Flaubert is almost that Joycean image of the author pairing his nails, detached, his handiwork submerged in refinement. Because above all Flaubert is a satirist. So his presence is felt, as a ripple on the surface of the water is evidence of a rampart crumbling on the ocean floor. But kind of like the experience of reading Nabokov, Flaubert the artist is what is on full display here, and in Sentimental Education , as I said when I was writing about Bouvard and Pecuchet , he is perched behind his curtain like Oz or comfortably atop Mount Olympus like the prankster gods of old.
He animates his characters to illustrate human folly above all else- who are we to sympathize with in Madame Bovary? Because you get the impression that this cranky god really loves his little pets, and wishes them the best- although he knows with all his prescience what the grim best is for us hopeless little mortals playing our dangerous games. Allegiances and philosophies are as mutable as clothing or the shifting light in Paris- everything is exhausted in the pursuit of one of those two endless ends.
The revolutionaries become oppressors when it suits them, the super-rich elite are suddenly populists and social advocates when the unrest in the streets threatens the order of things, the artists sell out, brave men are proven cowards, and all seem to worship some vague form of authority, whether it be social, political, or psychological. See the Dylan quote above. Flaubert cannot help but adore Paris, despite himself. That mythical stage, that constant setting for so much of the great art that the Western world has produced.
Sentimental Education succeeds in coming off like an epic of place, of space and lifetimes, a panoptic portrait of interesting times told in often banal scenes and acts; and the technique, skill, or what have you, of the sardonic, darkly hilarious master Flaubert elevates the book beyond some severe excoriation of the human condition- it makes it a vital work of art, resonant now and probably for all time. View all 10 comments. Apr 29, Bilal Y. Ovo nije ljubavni roman, makar ne u mom shvatanju.
Given to flowery fancies of romance, he falls "in love" with Madame Arnoux, a lady at least a decade his senior, and becomes frustrated with the failed revolution of , a Parisian fiasco. Flaubert said he set out to write a "moral history of the men of [his] generation I found Madame Bovary's abbreviated life much more compelling and revelatory than Monsieur Moreau's romantic adventures in pursuit of Madame Arnoux.
Sep 30, Chrissie rated it did not like it Shelves: I have read half. I am dumping this. I cannot bear another minute of it. A classic not worthy of its title nor its fame. A book of historical fiction, it draws French society at the time of the French Revolution. Adulterous love affairs abound, yet they are drawn without a hint of passion! This is a book that does not even come close to fulfilling what the title implies.
The characters are flighty, self-important and totally uninteresting. They are cardboard figures drawn without depth. The pl I have read half. The plot is no better. One mistress is exchanged for another. One friend is exchanged for another. A promise is given, but not kept. One employment is exchanged for another or preferably, if one can pull it off, one should not be employed at all.