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Salammbo Paperback – December 2, 2016
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|Paperback, December 2, 2016||
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Text: English, French (translation)
About the Author
GUSTAVE FLAUBERT (1821-1880), French novelist and one of the masters of nineteenth-century fiction, was born in Rouen, the second son of a noted physician. Beset by ill health and personal misfortune, he led a solitary life of rigid discipline, which was reflected in his writing by his obsession with finding le mot juste (exactly the right word). His first published novel was Madame Bovary (1857). When certain passages in Madame Bovary were judged to be offensive to public morals, Flaubert, his publisher, and his printer were tried, but acquitted.
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Top customer reviews
Flaubert spent several years researching this book about an army of mercenaries who revolt against ancient Carthage.
The book is a combination of history and myth not unlike Homer's Iliad. Like the Iliad it is a larger than life epic tale, but this tale has neither poetry nor heroes.
Carthage does not want to pay the mercenaries their due; the mercenaries seek to plunder Carthage in revenge. Both sides rely on deceit and treachery to advance their cause.
In the background, the sensual and mysterious Salammbo, seeking her own objective, indifferently and unwittingly affects the outcome.
The war becomes long and brutal as the balance shifts back and forth. The horror of war becomes increasingly indefensible as the author offers neither heroes nor justifications. Fed only by greed, pride and revenge, the war and the slaughter grind on endlessly.
Some would criticize, "This is not Madame Bovary, and this is too much violence without a point." Others would say, "This is not Madame Bovary, but to criticize that it is too much violence without a point, is to miss the point."
Flaubert, painting with exquisite detail and unapologetic language, tells an epic, exotic and sensual tale of failure.
This was custom printed after I bought it, but printed on white paper with a horrible font, the print is single spaced, with no blank end pages, no information on the translation.
Truly a sub par printing of an amazing novel which I hadn't read in years and was looking forward to revisiting. I am going to have to buy a different printing.
I can't imagine the Penguin edition being any worse than this, so I'll point you in that direction and hope it turns out well.
The true nature of Salammbo (more an archetype than a mortal heroine) isn't revealed to the reader, or to her, until the final pages of the book. What were Flaubert's motivations for writing this novel? I guess he had to get it out of his system; he's like a dangerous, intoxicated, wild animal, filled with blood lust, who can transform his cravings into mystical poetry. But perhaps this represents Flaubert's personal portrait of humanity, expressed through ancient history and myth: a twisted, eternal conflict encompassing light and dark, masculine and feminine, civilization and chaos, war and religion, mystic and erotic, but essentially, when stripped of it's outer forms, barbaric.