Quick overview of french authors of the 16-17th century. Nothing that Wikipedia could not tell you nowadays, but still useful and academically quotabl...moreQuick overview of french authors of the 16-17th century. Nothing that Wikipedia could not tell you nowadays, but still useful and academically quotable.(less)
**spoiler alert** It was worth it to spend some more time of the night trying to finish it. Definitely worth it. Even a correct reading nowadays would...more**spoiler alert** It was worth it to spend some more time of the night trying to finish it. Definitely worth it. Even a correct reading nowadays would be that scandalous as it was at the moment of its release.
I tend to think of it as even more somber than Anna Karenina since there's not an example of successful love like Konstantin and Kiti's happy ending. No, not even that.
Emma is selfish, vain, shallow, too romantic and easily convinced, as well as corrupted. In Flaubert's words, a burgeoise.
I think the only characters I would have compassion for would be her husband, Charles and their daughter, the little Berthe.
Much like Anna Karenina, her moral decadence is what leads her to suicide. Much like Tristana, her childish expectations of love ruin her. Oddly enough, she had the most merciful husband, who, despite the sayings of his circle of acquintances and having found a letter of one of her lovers, never doubts her.
And yet, one can never completely hate Emma. Some of us have been, for better or for worse, like this at some point. With some better results of course. And yet, the critique to the institutions is not absent as people never have a clear ida of neither science of religion, regardless of being doctors or priests, they focus on aspects that seem relevant to them, or that might be really important, but yet are missing the fundamental point.
Bovary, fails to acknowledge that what her wife sufers is not product of rare diseases but of unhappiness given the unrealistic goals she has set for her love life. And the priest, fails to acknowledge that Emma's problem lies beyond the material aspect. Yes, she's way too concerned with appareanves, to the point that many of it threatens to enter into a state of debt, but her problem is spiritual. She never doubts to embrace things as futile obsessions that do not provoke anything but further disaster and decadence.
She goes from apparently innocent lover, during her relationship with Rudolph, yet manages to emotionally manipulate Leon. When she and her former lover meet again, we see how much roles have changed. Rudolph doesn't stop being a liar and someone who eludes responsibility of any kind, but Bovary tries using every single charm she has learned to get what she wants, to get nothing because it's not possible.
This and Anna Karenina, even if this one is a bit more raw, these are the books which definitively debunk the pink sides of novels having anything to do with married life.(less)
I've only known of this book thanks to an universitary acquintance, but I had read at least one book by Joseph Conrad last year. I think I liked this...moreI've only known of this book thanks to an universitary acquintance, but I had read at least one book by Joseph Conrad last year. I think I liked this one better, because it had more development in general.(less)
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...moreThis 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 been different if Flaubert would have finished this book, or what would have happened if he lived in a more contemporary setting, but it’s clear that the actuality of this book remains intact and as captivating as Don Quixote, or Pantagruel.
It’s considerably shorter, but not less exciting in the least. I think that it shows the dangers of wanting to apply pure knowledge that we do not understand to reality, with hilarious and sadly true results.
Obviously, Don Quixote has idealized fiction as a starting point. And Pantagruel is the smart one in a world of idiots. I’d say that Bouvard and Pécuchet are even more miserably treated by his author. They’re almost too similar until the major disagreements start. Still, there’s a lot of references to contemporary events, and essential questions of human nature.
It makes us question how do we receive that knowledge and how much of it can we trust, after all we organize it on systems for a better understanding, and it makes us question things we take for granted.
Probably all of our wisdom, repeated from books, isn’t anything but folly in the end. We have to consider the problem of knowledge more seriously, and fight the inner contradictions of being exposed to multiple theories, and it’s something I always have wondered, yet Flaubert manages to put it so easily.
In Borges’ article, Vindication of Bouvard and Pécuchet, he explains that Flaubert became a bit like them, by trying to learn about all these things so quick, to depict all the phases they went through, or maybe it was the other way around, wasn’t it?
I wish I hadn’t read it so quick, but the time is running.(less)
This book surely left a good impression of Bataille in me. His ability to link so many authors from different ages, united by this exploration of evil...moreThis book surely left a good impression of Bataille in me. His ability to link so many authors from different ages, united by this exploration of evil as being one of the proofs for the lack of innocence in literature is remarkable.
I would say I was more lost with some parts because definitely Genet isn't an author I have read. But even so, Blake and Sade were definitely reconsidered in my mind after explaining the diversity of the first, and the nature of the second.
I had only read one of Sartre's histories and the sexually explicit scenes were something I considered more of the same very quickly. I would say that at least, there was a distinction very important to make that I was leaving out: our capacity to still become horrified with so much violence in a single book has to mean something.
Perhaps the world is not corrupted enough, because literature always comes back to denounce it, embrace it, but evil is never something that's avoided. (less)
I sure do have a lot to think about after reading this in its entirety, and worse, in a day. I am impressed at Pascal's clarity and present value of h...moreI sure do have a lot to think about after reading this in its entirety, and worse, in a day. I am impressed at Pascal's clarity and present value of his message, considering this was written 300+ years ago.
Even getting more difficult for those who are not familiar with latin or Bible towards the end, it's worth reading. I have had the luck to be able to read the edition with T.S. Eliot's introduction right from Project Gutenberg. I do recommend that one as well, if you can find it in a printed version, so as not to be desperately scrolling through endless pages.
A lot of what I had been discussing and thinking about in my actual process of converting is present here, and exposed with such intelligence and apparent simplicity that it's frightening.(less)
This is one of the nicest books I have read, ever. And it counts as an introduction to Rilke because the few poems I have read, even though brilliant...moreThis is one of the nicest books I have read, ever. And it counts as an introduction to Rilke because the few poems I have read, even though brilliant and beautiful, weren't part of a whole book but things I could find through random searching on the web.
I'm definitely looking forward to read more things by him in the future.(less)
Fast read. Some humorous details through and a nice philosophic question concerning the conception of foreigners, along with a strong moral propositio...moreFast read. Some humorous details through and a nice philosophic question concerning the conception of foreigners, along with a strong moral proposition of being responsible and grateful I guess. I wish I had enjoyed it more. We'll see what I think when I re-read it.(less)