Bouvard and Pecuchet
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Bouvard and Pecuchet

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  1,634 ratings  ·  83 reviews
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Published January 1st 2010 by MobileReference (first published 1881)
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Manny
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...more
Geoff
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
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
Josh
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
David
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
Hadrian
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.
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
Leslie
2½ 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 mis...more
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...more
Laginestra
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...more
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
Pete
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
Marie
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...more
Anthony
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."
Phil
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
Trina
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...more
Amber
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...more
Howard
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...more
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
Malak
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
monika
I had such high hopes for this novel, it certainly opened up strong. It was Flaubert at his best, painting vivid images with his words and keeping that infectious rhythm that makes reading him such a pleasure. Then, to add to my excitement, one of the characters had on his bookshelf, a copy of "something by Feneon". As a recent fan of Felix Feneon, I immediately started to read faster and wanted to get to know those two fellows, Bouvard and Pecuchet, all the more.

So.... all was well until about...more
orsodimondo
SEMPLICEMENTE, MERAVIGLIOSAMENTE GENIALE E IRRESISTIBILE
Mi eccita specialmente la prefazione, e così come la penso (sarebbe tutto un libro) nessuna legge potrebbe colpirmi perché aggredirei tutto. Sarebbe la glorificazione storica di tutto ciò che si approva. Vi dimostrerei che le maggioranze hanno sempre avuto ragione, e le minoranze sempre torto. Immolerei i grandi uomini a tutti gli imbecilli, i martiri a tutti i carnefici, e questo in uno stile spinto a ogni eccesso, come un'esplosione di fu...more
Patrick McCoy
Gustave Flauberts unfinished classic Bouvard and Pecuhet is an interesting, if not a bit long winded, satire about two retired copyrighting clerks who dedicate themselves to pursuit of knowledge. They end up getting it all wrong and confused without having any critical thinking abilities-they quickly move on from each branch of knowledge before they’ve properly mastered any of the subjects from farming to political science to love and several other subjects. The new Dalkey Press release looks gr...more
Lese.tek
Amüsant... Erinnert an 2 beste Freunde, die sich den ganzen Tag lang über Gott und die Welt unterhalten und sich dabei desöfteren in den Haaren liegen...

Bouvard und Pecuchet, zwei Herren um die 50, haben ihren Kopisten-Job in der Großstadt Paris um 1850 satt. Sie treffen sich zufällig auf einer Bank unter einem Baum und stellen fest, dass sie beide einen ähnlichen Hut tragen und beide ihren Namen hineingeschrieben haben. Zufälle gibts! Diese Eigenart führt sie in ein Gespräch und in wenigen Minu...more
Nera
Buvar i Pekiše je priča koja podrazumijeva kritičku dimenziju prema razgranavanju nauke i općenito insistiranju na čovjeku kao laiku, onom koji ne posjeduje nikakvo konkretno znanje. Za njega je pitanje samo predmet banalizacije i odlaganja, a odgovor je sadržan u nekoj filozofsko metafizičkoj razini gdje se smisao uvijek gubi. Moderni čovjek je razvučen između svih noviteta koje mu nude nauka i umjetnost, i želja za znanjem koja bi nam prvo upala u oči kao lajtmotiv transcendira u nešto što def...more
Philip Lane
I did find this amusing and no doubt it would make a great TV series. However the continual inability of this 'odd couple' to come to terms with any field of science, art or philosophy got a bit tedious. Every time they abandoned one activity and started to pursue another I felt oh dear here we go again. It also reminded me of 'Against the Grain' by Huysmans except the protagonist there merely got bored rather than encountering disaster. As I say it is fun to see some balloons being popped from...more
Peter
Am 29.9.2012 mit dem Lesen begonnen. Wieder so ein Lesequerschläger angeregt durch eine Ö1 Sendung in welcher dieser Text erwähnt wurde. Soeben ausgelesen inclusive der dieser Diogenes Ausgabe beigefügten Aufsätze von Queneau, Trilling und Borges. Diese Essays haben meinem Verständnis des Buches sehr hilfreich unter die Arme gegriffen. Irgendwie ist das Buch seiner Zeit sehr verhaftet und andererseits auch wieder nicht. Die Grundidee ist zeitlos der Handlungsstrang ist seiner Entstehungszeit ver...more
Melaslithos
Bien que moqués tout au long de ce récit, Bouvard et Pécuchet sont étrangement attachants, et m'ont bien fait rire avec leurs déboires successifs. J'ai cependant trouvé le livre un peu longuet sur la fin. Du coup, je n'arrive pas à me décider entre le soulagement et la déception que Flaubert n'ai jamais pu achever ce livre.
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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
More about Gustave Flaubert...
Madame Bovary Sentimental Education Three Tales Salammbô The Temptation of St. Antony

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“Abstraction can provide stumbling blocks for people of strange intelligence.” 10 likes
“It is an excellent habit to look at things as so many symbols.” 8 likes
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