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Bouvard et Pécuchet

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  2,091 ratings  ·  95 reviews
Although unfinished during his lifetime, Bouvard and Pécuchet is now considered to be one of Flaubert's greatest masterpieces. In his own words, the novel is "a kind of encyclopedia made into farce . . . A book in which I shall spit out my bile." At the center of this book are Bouvard and Pécuchet, two retired clerks who set out in a search for truth and knowledge with per ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 480 pages
Published May 13th 1999 by GF-Flammarion (first published 1881)
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Bouvard and Pécuchet could be read as Flaubert playing the role of prankster God, watching his protagonists build castles made of sand and then sending forth all the tides of failure, ruin, and ill-luck to topple them. No doubt, that element is there; Flaubert conceived of what was to be his last (never finished) novel as an “encyclopedia made into a farce”, a vent for all his anger (“I shall rid myself of what is stifling me. I shall vomit back onto my contemporaries the disgust they inspire in ...more
As I watched the heroes of Flaubert's last, unfinished novel meander aimlessly from one disaster to the next, they began to seem strangely familiar. And after a while, I couldn't help wondering

What Might Have Happened If Bouvard And Pécuchet Had Been Able To Join Goodreads

That year, Paris talked of nothing but the internet, and, even in Normandy, people began to experiment with the new invention. The two friends found an internet café in Caen; but the connection was slow, and the other habitués
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
If you’re one of those people who have always wanted to dip into the tradition of the encyclopedic novel but have always been intimidated by the page count or just can’t find the time to swallow so damn much at one time then let me recommend as a great little gateway book this slim (280 pages!) little volume as what just might be the treat you’ve been waiting for. But how?! you might ask. Well see Flaubert in his research for this little unfinished novel (that’s a point in it’s favor now isn’t i ...more
Flaubert's tongue was firmly planted in his cheek on this one. I have never read a book that was more machine-like, moving from one conceit to another like premises in an interminably long argument - an argument, mind, that because of Flaubert's untimely death never actually arrived at a conclusion, which is perhaps fitting. The two main characters, Bouvard and Pecuchet, having met in the city, become best mates and move to an estate out in the country where they set about conquering, one subjec ...more
I just had a very Bouvard-Pécuchetian moment. After writing most of what I thought was a rather good review of Flaubert's Bouvard and Pécuchet, I clumsily exed out the tab holding my unpublished review. All that hard work and no fruit to bear! Flaubert is a keen master of small human foibles taken to extremes. In Madame Bovary, his very funny, though perhaps severely misunderstood novel about a woman's mawkish sentimentality whose vitality exceeds her own, Flaubert plays with the elements of com ...more
What does it mean to want to write, as Flaubert famously did, a book about nothing? If Bouvard and Pecuchet is any answer, it might be the attempt to move what we think of as fiction out of the province of princesses and Wutherings and so on, and move it into the drawing room of a pair of incidental little clerks - much the same way that Larry David/Jerry Seinfeld made us realize that spending a day trapped in a parking garage was as suitable a subject for a sitcom as, for example, having an ali ...more
MJ Nicholls
Although Flaubert intended to make chumps of his protagonists, B&P are actually lovable eccentrics, whose inquiring minds put our dull unquestioning conformist lumps to shame. A tour through the humanities, sciences, and theologies woven around a tale of two civil servants free to pursue a life of the mind outside the drudgery of work, Flaubert’s last book is far from becoming the final masterpiece he intended, but still dazzles, tickles and titillates with erudition and high-class humour. M ...more
An incomplete masterpiece.

A vast rambling, hilarious journey throughout all of human history and science and endeavor. The antics of the title characters are jabs and scorns at everything from agriculture to history. Despite the age and distance of the book, so much is still relevant today - the hilarity of their archaic medicine is particularly funny.

The end notes and dictionary of terms are also excellent.


Bouvard e Pecuchet, due anime semplici che ingenuamente credono di poter immagazzinare tutte le conoscenze in un unico sapere, metafora della cultura enciclopedica positivistica di stampo illuminista che pretendeva di dare una risposta completa a tutto. Una cultura al tramonto all'epoca in cui Flaubert scrive, che sta per lasciare il passo all'alba della "distruzione delle certezze".
I due abbandonano Parigi e si rifugiano in una proprietà in campagna dove si dedicano all
Quinn Slobodian
Best bros/worst bros, Flaubert split the pharmacist Homais from Bovary into two--Bouvard and Pécuchet--to have more surface area over which to pour his hatred of the educated middle class and all their pastimes and passions. Flaubert claimed to have read over 1,500 books in preparation for writing this one and it shows. B+P, two aging bachelors from Paris, move to the countryside on a financial windfall and indulge their desire to know and do, a desire that careens riduculously from electrocutin ...more
G.R. Reader
Why didn't someone tell me that Flaubert died before finishing this book? I mean, I could easily have found out by reading the preface or looking it up on Wikipedia, but I wanted to avoid spoilers. I'm guessing he had a twist planned. In the last chapter, I bet good old B&P would have tried another hare-brained scheme and it would actually have worked. Or has their insane optimism somehow infected me?

Anyway, I'm docking a star. Considering that you can lose a game outright by dying in the Wo
2 stars - I found this more amusing in concept than in execution. Flaubert's satire just didn't strike a chord with me, although I found some sections highly entertaining. I think that for me, the main problem was that Bouvard and Pécuchet were just foils for the author to voice his opinions about the different subjects and so never became sympathetic - their ineptitude eventually grew to be irritating.

I did particularly like the section about educating Victor and Victorine, which I almost miss
Two Parisian bachelors in their late 40s, copy-clerks by trade (having nice handwriting seems to be the principal job skill) meet and become fast friends. One gets a sufficient inheritance to move them both to a farm in a provincial town.
They then try their hands at every imaginable intellectual and practical pursuit, which becomes increasingly farcical as they go along.

Of limited education, they have great respect for authorities but start out thinking that there is not much to any area of know
Adam Floridia
Initial Complaints: I was ready to give up on this book, but I’m glad I didn’t. The nature of the book itself didn’t really change; rather, my expectations of it adjusted. Pleased that it was only 185 pages, I was originally eager to plough through it. It quickly became evident that a book containing all forms of knowledge would not be a light read. The fact that the protagonists’ first few academic pursuits were gardening, architecture, and archaeology did not help illicit an immediate interest ...more
Had Venture
One of my all-time favorite books! A quirky, funny story that was sadly left unfinished by Flaubert. Bouvard and Pecuchet are two city clerks from relatively humble backgrounds who become best friends. I imagine these two would fit right in to The Office cast! They share a passion for new ideas and experiences, but are limited by their basic educations and dull, low-paying jobs.

Their lives change when Bouvard inherits a small fortune from his natural father. The two retire from their jobs and bu
Bouvard et Pécuchet. Un grande Flaubert. Molto più importante di quanto la postera fortuna letteraria abbia ritenuto di tramandare, ancora più possente, a mio avviso, della signora Bovary, secondo forse solamente all'Educazione, irraggiungibile da chiunque.

C'è qualcosa in questo libro che respira socialmente, universalmente. C'è anche qualcosa che cambia nello stesso Flaubert mentre scrive. Questo nocciolo di contraddizione, di cambiamento, questa essenza ad un tempo del pensiero narrativo e de
Justin Evans
Too bad he never got to finish it- sounds like the complete two volumes would have been hilarious. What we have is still pretty funny, but I think the most impressive thing is that the usual progress of Flaubert's novels is inverted. Usually I'm filled with indignation at the way society treats an individual, but come to despise the idiotic protagonists. Here, the protagonists are complete and utter morons who don't seem to deserve any pity whatsoever. It slowly becomes clear, though, that their ...more
not actually fun to read and definitely missing the polish of his other, main-run works. but proves he had a sense of humor, and that madame bovary is actually as funny as i think it is, cf. the botched surgery on poor dude's clubfoot. and the shit with the hat at the beginning. charbovari!!!!!! the dictionary of received ideas, which is included at the back of the dalkey archive version of this book, is unfuckwithable at points. at other points it is like the shadow star map of priggish liberal ...more

“Con quel caldo – trentatre gradi – in corso Bourdon non un’anima”. Ma ecco, due uomini. Provenienti da direzioni diverse, arrivati in mezzo al corso, siedono sulla stessa panchina. Sono Bouvard e Pécuchet. Gli scrivani dei pensieri di Flaubert. Entrambi copisti. L'uno e l'altro insoddisfatti. Diventano amici inseparabili. Un giorno abbandonano Parigi e si ritirano in campagna. Inizia la loro nuova vita. Fatta di studio, esperimenti, meditazioni, ragionamenti. Filosofia, scienza, politica, reli
James F
Flaubert's last novel, unfinished at his death. A comedy in a realistic style. Two bachelor friends in their late forties come into an inheritance and buy a farm in the countryside; they try to learn farming from books of agriculture, to deplorable results. They then try to learn chemistry, anatomy, geology, history, literature, philosophy, magic, religion, education, etc. each in turn, all with equally comic results. They are stymied at every turn not only by their own misunderstandings, but by ...more
This is my second approach to a “full” (?) if it can be called that way, work of Gustave Flaubert, of whom I had read a few chapters of Madame Bovary and the Dictionary of Received Ideas previously, so with that and the critique, I thought I was ready to sink my nose in this book.

And it couldn’t have been more precise. Much like Don Quixote, when you think they have done badly enough to feel furstrated abnd quit, they just don’t.

It’s a bit difficult not to enjoy this and wonder what would have b
amazing unfinished novel by flaubert--he spent the last 8 years of his life working on it and claimed to have read 1,500 books in researching it. B. & P. are unhappy copy clerks who acquire an inheritance and retire together, spending the bulk of the novel reading books together. flaubert calls it an "encyclopedia made into farce" and ezra pound calls it "the inauguration of a new form which has no precedents."
It's always a little disappointing to read an unfinished novel, because obviously you don't get to read the book in it's entirety. However, Flaubert left notes so we do know how it ends. I feel like the impact of the ending is lost because it's in point form notes, to be honest. However, that being said.

I fucking loved this novel. It was witty, and hilarious, and just.. I described it to my friends as "bumbling science bros are bumbling." It did get a little more abstract towards the middle and
I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be laughing hysterically during these characters’ mistakes and misfortunes, but I was!

I have the tendency to (nine times out of ten) deliberately not research or learn about artists because I just don’t care. It’s their work that matters to me.

With that said, I was completely fascinated that the man who wrote “Madame Bovary” wrote this comedic and splendid novel. It’s a masterpiece! The comedy was so ahead of its time. It really is a precursor to Seinfeld- a no
Książka, która wykończyła Flauberta, rozpoczyna się wspaniałą lustrzaną sceną. W tle zamknięty dwiema śluzami leży kanał Saint-Martin, przy brzegu dwa rzędy beczułek, a na pierwszym planie w samym centrum kadru stoi ławka; nagle z przeciwnych stron, powiedzmy, że ten mniejszy z lewej, a wysoki postawny z prawej, wychodzą dwaj mężczyźni i jednocześnie na niej siadają. Gdyby na tym poprzestać, scena wydaje się całkiem zwykła, ale właśnie teraz Flaubert pozwala rozkwitnąć swojemu geniuszowi. Żeby o ...more

Peccato sia rimasto incompiuto, anche se l'estratto del piano dell'opera ci racconta come va a finire. E la fine sarebbe stata degna del romanzo. Bouvard e Pécuchet sono sempre alla ricerca del sapere e si gettano in mille avventure ed esperimenti diversi, che li conducono sempre a fallimenti e a fare la figura da idioti.
Il romanzo fa sorridere e spazientire allo stesso tempo. Sapere di non sapere è uno dei tempi centrali e in fin dei conti riflette l'animo umano, le sue domande e contrad
Well, this is an unusual book: meandering, pointless, infuriating and farcical. While reading it, I imagined Voltaire writing Last of the Summer Wine after reading too much Rabelais. The book opens with two strangers meeting by chance, finding that they have so much in common decide to buy a farm in the countryside as part of a mid-life crisis after Bouvard inherits a fortune from his uncle. The book then unfolds with a series of episodes in which Bouvard and Pecuchet take up hobbies and enthusi ...more
This is undoubtedly an intriguing book and probably not something you'll have read before. It is the incomplete and final novel of Gustave Flaubert famous for Madame Bovary and others. The book includes at the end Flaubert's dictionary of ideas - this is really a separate section unrelated to the story so I won't dwell on it, interesting though it is.

It is the story of two middle aged guys who on meeting discover they share the same profession (copyists) and quickly form a great friendship. A s
Darran Mclaughlin
I have had this book for at least 5 or 6 years and I have finally got around to reading it. Madam Bovary and especially Sentimental Education are two of my favourite books and as there are many people who consider this to be Flaubert's best book I was really looking forward to it. However, I think this is the one where his Skepticism tips over the edge into Nihilism. I thought it was too much. Supposedly this book is FLaubert's great attack upon Bourgeouis stupidity but I found his skepticism ab ...more
Première chose à dire: dommage que le livre ne soit pas achevé. Ce roman est une expérience qui Flaubert voulait entreprendre pour critiquer tous les domaines et branches de connaissances connues à son temps. Il a fait passer Bouvard et Pécuchet de la philosophie à la politique, à l'agriculture, à l'histoire, à l'hygiène jusqu'à la médecine et le théâtre. Ces deux amis ont essayé tous les domaines. Dans leur essais, ils montraient les limites et les imperfections de ses domaines et à quel point ...more
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Gustave Flaubert (December 12, 1821 – May 8, 1880) is counted among the greatest Western novelists. He was born in Rouen, Seine-Maritime, in the Haute-Normandie Region of France.

Flaubert's curious modes of composition favored and were emphasized by these peculiarities. He worked in sullen solitude, sometimes occupying a week in the completion of one page, never satisfied with what he had composed,
More about Gustave Flaubert...
Madame Bovary Sentimental Education Three Tales Salammbô The Temptation of St. Antony

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“It is an excellent habit to look at things as so many symbols.” 12 likes
“On certain occasions art can shake very ordinary spirits, and whole worlds can be revealed by its clumsiest interpreters.” 11 likes
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