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A Simple Soul Paperback – September 26, 2013
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About the Author
Known for his scrupulous devotion to his art and perfectionist style, French writer Gustave Flaubert is counted among the greatest Western novelists, and influenced such writers as Franz Kafka and J. M. Coetzee. Flaubert is best known for Madame Bovary, for which he was prosecuted (and acquitted) for offending public morals. His other works of note include Memoirs of a Madman, November, Salammb?, Sentimental Education, and The Temptation of Saint Anthony. His work has been widely adapted for the stage and screen. Flaubert died in 1880. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The present story comes from the 1877 publication Three Tales (Trois Contes. It consists of the short stories: Simple Heart, Saint Julian, and Herodias. Dance of Death is another story sometimes grouped with Simple Heart and Saint Julian as Three Short Works.
A Simple Heart was inspired by biographical events in Flaubert's own life: he lived in rural Normandy, he had problems with his studies similar to the character Paul, and he was prone to epileptic seizures similar to the protagonist Felicite.
I read the story first without looking at any analysis, made up my own mind, then read the analysis. What struck me was that Flaubert had crammed a whole lifetime of human emotions into a single very short story. That all by itself was impressive. How could someone come up with that idea? Amazing.
A Simple Heart, also called A Simple Soul or Un Coeur Simple, in French, is a story about a girl named Felicité. She is a servant who has lived with the same family ever since she was betrayed by her lover. She has a strong sense of loyalty and self sacrifice: she lives to help others.
This short story has been admired by many critics over the years and used as a basis or a source of inspiration for other stories.
This takes only an hour or so to read and is highly recommended.
This beautiful tale is filled with pathos. Flaubert explores the tragic and sad situation of many people who are simple, who lack sufficient intelligence to fully participate in life around them. They are ignored and secluded. The issue is addressed by theologians: Why would God create such people? How does God relate to them? The issue is addressed in the New Testament and by many novelists, such as I. L. Peretz in his masterpiece, the short story, "Bontshe the Silent."
This is the story of Felicite, a simple, uneducated woman with a low IQ, who is, as many simple people, perfect at what she does; she is the perfect maid, highly respected for her work, a maid everyone would be happy to have. We read about her first love and feel for her, and how she saves her mistress, but is then exploited. Flaubert describes her yearnings, fears, reactions to deaths, her sublimated and highly unusual love for a parrot, and her final extremely sad years. We read throughout about her reliance on religion, which we know she doesn't understand. Although not in this story, we can well imagine that if a devil existed he would be laughing in derision at how God allowed such a good simple soul to be mistreated.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the story of a simple woman, uneducated, religious, and true to her mistress. It is a rather sad story of a hum-drum life that had no excitement and only a little joy.Published 23 months ago by Kindle Customer
Love Flaubert's descriptive writing style. Sadly Felicite did not have a very happy life. She had her own passion and made the most of it, managing to find enjoyment thru devotion... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Sandra Farrer
The piece was written with such moving beauty about a woman who is so loving and gentle. It has something to teach us in these harsh times when Mean Girls are all the rage.Published on May 22, 2014 by rave
A charming and delicate life story of one servant-class woman. A character study with not much interest in the bourgeoisie, and less in the aristocracy.Published on March 26, 2014 by But Seriously
I read it because my son propose the book due to an assignment in medical school in France.
Being humanitarian as a physician is very important