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The Temptation of Saint Anthony
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1001 book reviews > The Temptation of Saint Anthony -Falubert

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Kristel (kristelh) | 3896 comments Mod
Read 2013
Saint Anthony or Anthony the Great was a Christian saint from Egypt. Flaubert desired to write an epic of spiritual torment that might equal Goethe’s Faust (German literature). The author spent a large portion of his life writing this story that is written in the form of play script. The work’s form influenced the development of modernist play-texts, notable the “Circe” section of Joyce’s Ulysses. The novel might also be called a prose poem. The work is a fictionalized story of the inner life of Saint Anthony a fourth century Christian. The anchorite undergoes temptations; frailty, the seven deadly sins, Heresiarchs, the martyrs, the magicians, the gods, science, food, lust and death, monsters and metamorphosis. I especially enjoyed the sections that included dialogue with Hilarion (satan and also science). There is a cast of biblical characters including Queen of Sheba and King Nebuchadnezzar. The section on Chimera and the Sphinx and all the monsters were the most confusing to me. I did not get the purpose of that section though did like the ladies, lust and death. My favorite was the exploration of the heresies. Vampires are even mentioned in this work. I had many sections I highlighted and here is one example, a quote from Hilarion--”My kingdom is as wide as the universe, and my desire has no limits. I am always going about enfranchising the mind and weighing the worlds, without hate, without fear, without love, and without God. I am called Science.” This was an interesting read, I gave it 4 stars. It would appeal to anyone interested in religion, hallucinations of the flesh or modernist poetics.


Diane | 1997 comments Rating: 3.5 stars

Originally inspired by a Bruegel painting, this is a fictionalized account of the life of the reclusive Saint Anthony. The book is set in Egypt during the 3rd century. Lots of symbolism here. I found the exploration of various religions and mythology fascinating.

I found it interesting that Flaubert wrote this book over a span of 30 years.


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