From Publishers Weekly
Gustave Flaubert's boyhood desire to become an actor was "his way of living the situation assigned to him in the Flaubert family," writes Sartre. This monumental life study draws on psychoanalysis and existentialism in imagining how Flaubert forged his inner self. Sartre portrays the author of Madame Bovary as a Nero of words whose towering literary ambition was the revenge of a child seething with rage at his manly, overpossessive mother. Though this volume covers Flaubert's early literary career, the emphasis is on childhood and adolescence. His fetishes, homoerotic affairs, self-proclaimed desire to be a woman and masochism add up to a seldom-seen side of the polished literary stylist. Readers not put off by the dense academic prose and highly speculative approach will find much to ponder.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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From Library Journal
This volume completes the publication of Sartre's monumental five-volume study of Flaubert, a work that sums up Sartre's thought as much as his subject's. Sartre, who never wrote the final volume he had planned, here concludes with a climax rather than a denouement, ending with the publication of Madame Bovary. Since Flaubert distilled with acuity the sociohistorical climate of his class and era, all the major and minor figures of the time find their place in this account, whether in kowtow or combat. In the end, translator Cosman's achievement is as stellar as Sartre's--and as interpretive of his work as Sartre was of Flaubert's. Her work on earlier volumes (e.g., Vol. 4, LJ 7/91) has been criticized for failing to normalize the style, but her strategy is clear: to make Sartre a Deconstructionist, an exemplar of a movement that paralleled his last years and largely ignored him. The result shows Sartre at this most encyclopedic and makes him sound relevant. For specialized liter ary collections.- Marilyn Gaddis Rose, SUNY-Binghamton
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.