Bouvard and Pecuchet: A Novel

Bouvard and Pecuchet: A Novel


By (author) Gustave Flaubert, Translated by Mark Polizzotti, Preface by Raymond Queneau

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  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Format: Paperback | 328 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 198mm x 23mm | 454g
  • Publication date: 30 November 2005
  • Publication City/Country: Normal, IL
  • ISBN 10: 1564783936
  • ISBN 13: 9781564783936
  • Edition statement: Translation
  • Sales rank: 184,577

Product description

Although unfinished during his lifetime, Bouvard and P cuchet 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 P cuchet, two retired clerks who set out in a search for truth and knowledge with persistent optimism in light of the fact that each new attempt at learning about the world ends in disaster.In the literary tradition of Rabelais, Cervantes, and Swift, this story is told in that blend of satire and sympathy that only genius can compound, and the reader becomes genuinely fond of these two Don Quixotes of Ideas. Apart from being a new translation, this edition includes Flaubert's Dictionary of Received Ideas.

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Author information

Gustave Flaubert (1821-80) is considered to be one of the most important French novelists of the nineteenth century. He's most well-known for his novel Madame Bovary, and for his desire to write "a book about nothing," a novel in which all external elements, especially the presence of the author, have been eliminated, leaving nothing but style itself. Often considered a member of the naturalist school, Flaubert despised categorizations of this sort, and in novels like Bouvard and Pecuchet demonstrates the inaptness of this label. In addition to these two novels, he is also the author of A Sentimental Education, Salambo, Three Tales, and The Temptation of Saint Anthony.

Review quote

"Among all the works of this brilliant writer, Bouvard and Pecuchet is definitely the deepest, the most thorough, the broadest... It is the Tower of Babel of the sciences, where all the diverse, opposing, and absolute doctrines -- each having its own language -- demonstrate the powerlessness of effort, the vanity of affirmation, and the ever eternal 'misery of everything.'" --Guy de Maupassant "Flaubert inspires in me an affection that I don't feel for any other writer." --Jean Echenoz "In Bouvard and Pecuchet, Flaubert created an encyclopedia of the sciences in a way that emphasizes all the laws and failures of knowledge, and at the same time, he did so in a way that breaks the forms of literature itself." --Claudine Cohen, Alliage