Brooks's Henry James Goes to Paris is an interesting attempt to explain one of the central quandaries at the heart of many studies of James and French culture: why is James considered the master of the proto-modern novel at the same time that he was often critical of leading artists and writers of his day, like Flaubert
, the French Naturalists, and the Impressionist painters?
did it with his novel Madame Bovary, where morality flies out of the window when frustration comes in.
Despite what Flaubert
may have Emma internally profess as the motivation for her newfound propriety, it is here where the novel exposes the tendency to fetishize performances of virtue, to sexualize the pretense of frigidity, as Emma's virtuous behavior will act as a further aphrodisiac to her would-be lover: "She seemed so virtuous and inaccessible to him that he lost all hope, even the faintest.
shows that Emma is caught in the conventions of her time (in Steegmuller's translation the subtitle of the book is "Patterns of Provincial Life").
During her brief writing career (1889 to 1899), she responded deliberately to American writers such as Howells and Garland, and French writers such as Maupassant and Flaubert
(Toth 118, 168, 123, 217).
The condemnation led to a trial but Flaubert
was found not guilty and the novel's future was secure.
For instance, revisionist scholars have recently argued that although during his trip to Egypt Flaubert
might have had an affair with the courtesan Kuchuk Hanem--as mentioned in his journal--the inspiration for the description of Salome's dance in "Herodias" came most likely from his seeing a famous male-to-female transvestite perform.
In his review of Madame Bovary, written in 1857, he describes the gender exchange between Flaubert
and his heroine in the following manner: If, in the act of writing, in order to accomplish "the tour de force to its fullest," the author Flaubert
was compelled to discharge himself as far as possible "of his sex and make himself woman" [se faire femme], the result was a marvelous being, a bisexual heroine.
I had grappled with the works of Moliere, Racine, Descartes, Voltaire, and les philosophes, Hugo, Flaubert
, Stendhal, Balzac, Maupassant, Baudelaire, Verlaine, Rimbaud, Zola, Gide, Proust, and postwar intellectuals like Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Albert Camus.
Focusing on the work of Dostoevsky, Flaubert
, Proust, Mann, and other Europeans of similar literary stature, Thurman set himself standards which were difficult to meet.
Jennifer Jones stars as Emma Bovary in this lush adaptation of the Gustave Flaubert
novel that scandalized 19th-century France.
My favourite writers are Flaubert
, Borges and Nabokov.