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by Gustave Flaubert
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Many listeners would give this work a 9 or a 10--and just as many a 1 or a 2. A nineteenth-century French novel suffused with lots of talk and much less action, it's about a new law student, the impoverished Frederic Moreau, and his vain attempts to secure the intimacy of Madame Arnoux. Its myriad conversations will not appeal to everyone. Reader Michael Maloney, however, will receive high marks from all. He consistently differentiates well among characters, handles French like a Parisian, and earnestly attempts to make the colloquies palatable. Still, listeners should be warned: This is no MADAME BOVARY. T.H. © AudioFile 2003, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
Based on Flauberts own youthful passion for an older woman, Sentimental Education was described by its author as the moral history of the men of my generation. It follows the amorous adventures of Frederic Moreau, a law student who, returning home to Normandy from Paris, notices Mme Arnoux, a slender, dark woman several years older than himself. It is the beginning of an infatuation that will last a lifetime. He befriends her husband, an influential businessman, and as their paths cross and re-cross over the years, Mme Arnoux remains the constant, unattainable love of Moreaus life. Blending love story, historical authenticity, and satire, Sentimental Education is one of the great French novels of the nineteenth century.
The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Novel by Gustave Flaubert, published in French in 1869 as L'Education sentimentale: Histoire d'un jeune homme. The protagonist, Frederic Moreau, and his beloved, Mme Arnoux, are based on Flaubert's youthful infatuation with an older married woman. Frederic's puppy love for Mme Arnoux is at first steadfast and idealistic, and she remains faithful to her rather frivolous husband. Frederic's love ends in disillusionment, as do the subsequent passions of his life. His youthful ambitions lead to failure and boredom, and his idealistic views of social progress are disappointed by reality. Among the novel's most remarkable qualities is Flaubert's vivid and faithful presentation of its social and political setting, including the Revolution of 1848, the republic that followed, and the mood of the French people amid the era's many changes.
About the Author
Gustave Flaubert (18211880), the younger son of a provincial doctor, briefly studied law before devoting himself to writing, with limited success during his lifetime. After the publication of Madame Bovary in 1857, he was prosecuted for offending public morals.
Geoffrey Wall teaches at the University of York, translated Flauberts Selected Letters and Madame Bovary for Penguin Classics, and is the author of Flaubert: A Life.
Robert Baldick translated many volumes from the French for Penguin Classics.
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