Qty:1
  • List Price: $19.00
  • Save: $4.34 (23%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 14 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Good | Details
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. 100% Money Back Guarantee. Shipped to over one million happy customers. Your purchase benefits world literacy!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Bouvard and Pecuchet with The Dictionary of Received Ideas (Penguin Classics) Paperback – June 24, 1976


See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$14.66
$9.00 $0.01
Best%20Books%20of%202014


Frequently Bought Together

Bouvard and Pecuchet with The Dictionary of Received Ideas (Penguin Classics) + Reveries of the Solitary Walker (Penguin Classics) + A Discourse on Inequality (Penguin Classics)
Price for all three: $31.08

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Hero Quick Promo
Year-End Kindle Daily Deals
Load your library with great books for $2.99 or less each, today only. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (June 24, 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140443207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140443202
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #266,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation)

About the Author

Gustave Flaubert was born in Rouen in 1821, the son of a prominent physician. A solitary child, he was attracted to literature at an early age, and after his recovery from a nervous breakdown suffered while a law student, he turned his total energies to writing. Aside from journeys to the Near East, Greece, Italy, and North Africa, and a stormy liaison with the poetess Louise Colet, his life was dedicated to the practice of his art. The form of his work was marked by intense aesthetic scrupulousness and passionate pursuit of le mot juste; its content alternately reflected scorn for French bourgeois society and a romantic taste for exotic historical subject matter. The success of Madame Bovary (1857) was ensured by government prosecution for “immorality”; Salammbô (1862) and The Sentimental Education (1869) received a cool public reception; not until the publication of Three Tales (1877) was his genius popularly acknowledged. Among fellow writers, however, his reputation was supreme. His circle of friends included Turgenev and the Goncourt brothers, while the young Guy de Maupassant underwent an arduous literary apprenticeship under his direction. Increasing personal isolation and financial insecurity troubled his last years. His final bitterness and disillusion were vividly evidenced in the savagely satiric Bouvard and Pécuchet, left unfinished at his death in 1880.

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

You may relate too!
Chris Reich
In any event, the real end of the book was finished -- "the dictionary of accepted ideas" -- which to these uninspired clowns seems the summit of all human wisdom.
Billyjack D'Urberville
If you think irony and cynical parody are funny, you may think so.
reading man

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mark Scroggins on October 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
Bouvard and Pecuchet is one of the funniest books ever written, and remains every bit as telling in its attack on bourgeoise society as when it was first published. The "Dictionary of Received Ideas," which is included in this edition, is sort of a "Devil's Dictionary" of middle-class stupidities; astonishingly, almost all of its satirical bite still holds true. I dock this Penguin edition one star because it doesn't have any notes, which would have made Flaubert's nineteenth-century context far more easily graspable.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Magellan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
Flaubert supposedly read something like 1000 books to do the research for this novel and apparently had an almost photographic memory. Bouvard and Pecuchet proceed to plow through the entire corpus of human knowledge, ostensibly to become more learned and true Renaissance men, now that they are men of leisure.

You'd think this would seem a laudable goal for a French intellectual like Flaubert, but he seems to be make fun of such superficial or perhaps self-educated learning, and perhaps of human knowledge in general. Flaubert seems to presage the 20th century's weariness with arid and purely ivory-tower scholarship that perhaps has led to the anti-science sentiments we see today, the rise of fuzzy-minded, muddy, and fallacious philosophies like New Age, and perhaps even movements like Creationism's antipathy toward evolution and Darwin.

Perhaps to Flaubert, since there is no end to learning, and all human knowledge, or at least an individual human's learning is finite, there are no real truths and all knowledge is essentially relative and inconstant and incomplete. Certainly Bouvard and Pecuchet's projects are always doomed to failure and are never completed.

I'm not sure what else in the way of profound meaning I can glean from this book, but it does seem to sound a cautionary warning or perhaps cynical note on the dangers of superficial learning or perhaps even too much learning. Perhaps Flaubert is also saying life is not something to observe and analyze, but to experience instead. That would be consistent with the beliefs of the Realists, since the French Realist authors like him pioneered the idea of intensively observing and researching the common people and the dregs of society that they often wrote about, as in Zola's Nana, for example, who was a prostitute.
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
27 of 36 people found the following review helpful By beaty@sympatico.ca on December 29, 1997
Format: Paperback
Although he never finished this book, it remains even in translation, a perfect guide to the perils of bourgeois ambitions. Two hapless bank clerks use a sudden inheritance to dabble disastrously in all the current fashions, with hilarious and mordant results. Includes a "dictionary of received ideas" which should be required reading for all Americans. I read it at least once a year, out loud, and am much the better for the release. Buy it for everyone you know, and see if you can then watch Jimmy Stewart or Martha Stewart without throwing up.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Billyjack D'Urberville on November 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
As Flaubert aged, his books become broader comedy and this is the limit. Two petit French beurocrats, as indistinquishable as Rosencrantz and Gildenstern, take early retirement in the country and decide to study all human knowledge. In Madame Bovary, traveling libraries add to the central figure's pretension and lead to her tragic downfall. Here, simply, the older and mellower Flaubert presents endless comedy -- and while Flaubert did not finish the book, doubtless it could only continue in the same vein. Mediocrity of mind and spirit cannot be cured by simply pouring in "facts" or trivial, amateurish experience, the reader is told, by one example after the next, and never by preaching as in Tolstoy. And Bouvard and Pecuchet have no teachers -- only the audacity to assume that all worth knowing is simply open to them by the act of reading. In any event, the real end of the book was finished -- "the dictionary of accepted ideas" -- which to these uninspired clowns seems the summit of all human wisdom.

Will droll, and vastly understated, the humor is only the more scathing when finally revealed, often in a scene reminiscent of Chaplin or silent comedy. Encountering this Flaubert masterpiece is greatly helped by a dead on translation that is pithy and precise, worthily replicating Flaubert's famous search for "the right word" in all his books. Even the drollest, plainest sentences resonate with humor -- never, incidentally, hateful or spiteful, but just sadly wise.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By jondereach on May 13, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brilliant. Prescient. Hilarious. Flaubert in the full flower of genius. That it was unfinished would not be evident if you weren't told. A must read for anyone. The two characters,Bouvard and Pecuchet, get a lot of money,buy books on wildly diverse subjects, read them and are convinced they are now experts. They put their new found 'expertise' to work in the real world and succeed in making a mess of everything around them- in the funniest ways imaginable. But they are not daunted by their failures. No, they do the same thing again while expecting different results. They seem to personify the trend that had its beginning around Flaubert's time and has grown into the internet with everyone his or her own expert. Filled with information but no knowledge. The Dictionary reads as true now as it did then-"see Paris and die." Profoundly funny.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?