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Bouvard und Pécuchet

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  2,860 Ratings  ·  133 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
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published June 1st 2003 by Eichborn (first published 1881)
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July 1st, 2016
My favourite books are those that cause me to think so much while I’m reading that I start having animated conversations with myself, and need to begin the review even before I’m a third of the way through as a means of continuing the dialogue in my head about the book, wishing I had an alter-ego, someone who is as enthusiastic as I am about the matter in hand, a double, as it were, like Bouvard and Pécuchet, who bounce their thoughts off one ano
Jan 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Nov 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like philosophy and slapstick
Recommended to Manny by: Inna and Don
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
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
“Las negligencias o desdenes o libertades del último Flaubert han desconcertado a los críticos; yo creo ver en ellas un símbolo. El hombre que con Madame Bovary forjó la novela realista fue también el primero en romperla (…) la obra mira, hacia atrás, a las parábolas de Voltaire y de Swift y de los orientales y, hacia delante, a las de Kafka”. - Jorge Luis Borges

Siguiendo con mi lecturas de libros distintos, extraños y diferentes he terminado en esta ocasión de leer esa especie de excentricidad
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
Nikos Tsentemeidis
Αν κάποτε έγγραφα ένα βιβλίο, φαντάζομαι πως θα ήταν κάτι σαν αυτό. Από τα μεγαλύτερα έργα της παγκόσμιας λογοτεχνίας. Απορώ πως ο Flaubert έμεινε γνωστός με τη Μαντάμ Μποβαρύ. Είναι ο ορισμός του φιλοσοφικού μυθιστορήματος και επάξια το καλύτερο στην κατηγορία του, απ’ όσα έχω διαβάσει.

Από το έργο αυτό προκύπτουν πολλά ηθικά διδάγματα. Πρώτα απ’ όλα η ημιμάθεια. «Η ημιμάθεια είναι χειρότερη της αμάθειας». Οι δύο ήρωες αφού αποσύρονται στην επαρχία της Γαλλίας, ασχολούνται με όλες σχεδόν τις επ
Michael Finocchiaro
One of the world's most unreadable books, Boulevard and Pecuchet was Flaubert's last work and was intended to be a sort of summary of all kinds of knowledge he had acquired using a comical tone with his two protagonists. However, unlike Madame Bovary or Education Sentimental, I found no affinity with either character and found the lack of a plot and the cluelessness of Bouvard and Pecuchet annoying and a put off. Perhaps others had more success than me with this one? I guess I should still read ...more
Jay Green
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another of my absolute favourites. Includes the Dictionary of Received Ideas, which was shamelessly and profitably plagiarized by William Donaldson for his World According to Henry Root. Super stuff.

I'm going to have to write a longer review to explain why it is that this book means so much to me. It's a wonderful satire on "book learning" that many of us nerds might feel slighted by, but in fact the message I take away from it is about individuality and the fact that every book of instruction i
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, oulipo-mo
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
Nov 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: francia
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
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
Jun 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french, fiction
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.
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


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
Aug 10, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
This unfinished work by Flaubert was both enjoyable and a slog to read. I liked the whole idea but it just kind of wears on and on. Two men become friends and one receives and inheritance, they both retire and move to the country where they try various things to find something to fill their days, end at never doing anything well, losing most of everything they had, including friends, contemplate suicide and the book ends with Christmas Eve. What a perfect timing to read this book. For that reaso ...more
O livro é uma sucessão interminável de eventos, em que os dois personagens principais se dedicam a experimentações práticas, conjeturas teóricas superficiais, análises filosófico-sociais de tudo e de todos. É como se fosse uma revista popular de ciência, só que em forma de narrativa, como se dois leitores da Super Interessante resolvessem pôr em prática, na sua vida cotidiana, tudo (e digo, absolutamente tudo!) o que lêem na publicação.
Adam Floridia
Feb 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: l, francese, isola, deserta
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
Had Venture
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 06, 2015 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: G.R. Reader
Shelves: published-1881

Opening: As there were thirty-three degrees of heat the Boulevard Bourdon was absolutely deserted.

Farther down, the Canal St. Martin, confined by two locks, showed in a straight line its water black as ink. In the middle of it was a boat, filled with timber, and on the bank were two rows of casks.

Beyond the canal, between the houses which separated the timber-yards, the great pure sky was cut up into plates of ultramarine; and under the reverberating light of
Justin Evans
Aug 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
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
Apr 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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."
Mehmet Bozkurt
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yerleşik düşünceleri araştıran ve aşan, çalışmalarını en ileri düzeye götüren, çelişkileri farkedince o düşünceyi terk edip bir başkasına geçen iki arkadaş; Boucard ve Pecuchet. Tarım, arkeoloji, tıp, spor, tarih, edebiyat, siyaset, aşk, spiritizma, din konularında okuduklarını uygulamaya koymak isterken, teorik düşüncelerin yanlışlarını pratikte yaşayarak farkediyorlar. Bay Pickwick gibi ciddiyetlerinin içinde komikler. Saçmalıkları ortaya çıkardıkça çevrelerinden tepkiyle karşılaşıyorlar. Kita ...more
Andrea Villar Rios

Si hay un libro que trató de meter a todo el universo dentro de él, es este. La perseverancia y la crítica que se plantea en esta obra son increíbles. Los protagonistas a pesar del fracaso, siguen perseverando en el tema que investigan o del que aprenden. Sus ganas de saber más son enormes, así como las de escapar de la monotonía de una vida cotidiana. Se habla de toda clase de temas y ciencias, como: agricultura, química, anatomía, fisiología, astronomía, geología, geografía, zoología, paleo
Jackson Cyril
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A weird and "laugh-out-loud" funny book; but I'll have to mull over what it actually means. One doesn't read 1500 books to piss out a funny novel
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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...
“It is an excellent habit to look at things as so many symbols.” 14 likes
“Abstraction can provide stumbling blocks for people of strange intelligence.” 14 likes
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