Constant Reader
WebBoardOrientationReading ListsHome WorksActivities
Classics Corner

Buy the paperback

Sentimental Education
by Gustave Flaubert

Frederic Moreau, a moderately gifted young provincial, is ambitious in many ways: he dreams of fame, of vast wealth, of literary and artistic achievement, of a grand passion. On the Paris paddle-steamer which transports him to his home town of Nogent-sur-Seine, he becomes transfixed by the demure Madame Arnoux and, back in Paris, cultivates her ebullient and enterprising husband in order to be near her. Frederic's devotion fluctuates like his other enthusiasms, and he is caught up in the intense pleasures and the inevitable ennuis of Parisian life.

A Sentimental Educationwas published in 1869, a quarter of a century after Flaubert first drafted a very different novel with the same title. The final, painstakingly written and meticulously accurate version depicts undistinguished people in the extraordinary context of a crucial period in European history: the confrontation between militant capitalism and militant labour which boiled over in France in the Revolution of 1848.




Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (1 of 2), Read 18 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Robert Armstrong rla@nac.net Date: Sunday, September 01, 2002 02:09 PM Itís September 1st so Iíll start the discussion. Iíve only read half of SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION and it is my first reading of any Flaubert. Monsieur Flaubert most definitely has a deft hand with descriptions, an artistís eye with details (with a special interest in dťcor and lighting,) but methinks he likes the settings more than the people he puts in them. At least up to this point the Parisians of the novel are not all that appealing to me. I get a sense of the social critic at play orchestrating social spheres that operate with myopia and self-interest. Frederic has not yet won me over; I want to like him but I donít. There is something about the novel that keeps me involved but Iím not sure what that element is. Perhaps itís Flaubertís descriptive power, or his subtlety that feels like real life, or the unexpectedness of the narrative progression. Regardless, I am hooked. Robt
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (2 of 2), Read 13 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Sunday, September 01, 2002 08:36 PM Robert, I think Frederic is a higher class, male Emma Bovary in many ways. But, where I did like Emma, I do not care for Frederic. He's a snobbish opportunist who thinks women should fall at his feet. (Speaking of feet, Flaubert's foot fetish is obvious in this one, too.) Beej
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (3 of 8), Read 18 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Monday, September 02, 2002 05:08 PM I finished Sentimental Education today. I liked this book too, Robt, even though its hard to explain exactly why. It doesn't have any strong, sympathetic characters to really pull the reader in, nor does it have any terrible villains. Frederic seems more intelligent than Madame Bovary, but only just. He is good natured, but exceptionally weak willed and all too inclined to go with the flow. Few of the minor characters even seem like nice people. Overall, this strikes me as a cynical novel of disillusionment. And yet, it did keep me reading. What most appealed to me was the sensation that Flaubert was presenting me with a true slice of life in the mid-nineteenth century. A lot of the descriptive detail was downright fascinating. I don't know if you've gotten to the costume ball yet, but he gives the reader an enthralling picture of decadence. I was also amused by all of the political discussions and posturing. It was interesting to see how the political viewpoints of the young men changed as they actually came in contact with the common people or personally felt the lure of money or power. Some things never change. The major female characters can be divided into saint, whore, and bitch -- not a very attractive lineup. I found it difficult to understand Frederic's passion for Madame Arnoux. Ann
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (4 of 8), Read 22 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Monday, September 02, 2002 09:56 PM I often find it difficult to understand these literary passions. I'm less than a hundred pages in, but was pretty surprised to find him obsessed with her almost from the first, just from a look at her on that boat. It seems to me that obsessions of that kind have very little to do with the object of the obsession and more to do with the needs, preconceptions and fantasies of the obsessee. Sherry
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (5 of 8), Read 21 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Tuesday, September 03, 2002 12:11 AM Bingo, Sherry. Ruth
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (6 of 8), Read 19 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Tuesday, September 03, 2002 09:27 AM I agree, Sherry. Frederic seemed to have had a need for an ideal woman whom he could put on a pedestal, but never "debase" with a real physical relationship. Although he wanted to make love to her, she would not have been true to her character had she given in to him and her attraction would have evaporated if she had stepped down from that pedestal. In the meantime, he could have sexual relationships with lesser women. This kind of thinking is beyond me, but it does seem to reflect male views of women from earlier eras. From what I have read, this part of the story was autobiographical. Flaubert himself was for many years in love with an older woman married to a man quite similar to Arnoux. Ann
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (7 of 8), Read 1 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Wednesday, September 04, 2002 08:43 PM Hasn't Flaubert said that Sentimental Education was somewhat autobiographical or am I wrong about that? I'm about halfway through and am finding that I like it more than Madame Bovary. That's probably because I love the descriptions of all the decadent situations, the costume ball that Ann mentioned, the promenade in the carriages. I also keep coming across mentions of some of my favorite places in Paris. However, this is not reading for people who need to like a character in their novels. What an unsympathetic lot they are! Barb
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (8 of 8), Read 1 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Wednesday, September 04, 2002 08:44 PM And, Sherry, you did truly nail the quality of romantic obsession with your description. Excellent. Barb
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (9 of 10), Read 13 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Wednesday, September 04, 2002 11:30 PM I liked it better than Madame Bovary too, Barb. Frederic isn't exactly sympathetic, but I far preferred him to Madame B, probably because I saw him as fundamentally weak rather than selfish. Mostly, I just wanted to shake him by the collar and say "Get a job!" Obviously the guy needed something to occupy his mind and his time besides romantic fantasies. Have you gotten to the part where they describe some of the political meetings after the revolution of 1848? There is really some very funny political satire in this part of the novel. Ann
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (10 of 10), Read 9 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Thursday, September 05, 2002 07:36 AM I felt the same way about Frederic, Ann. Having 2 sons approaching that age probably made me want to shake him more. I am just at the part in which the revolutionary has been arrested (sorry, I don't have the book here and I can't remember his name) and just starting to read more about that side of it. Is that going into the part that you are talking about? Also, I have a lot of trouble keeping the names straight. It reminds me of my predicament when I first started reading the Russian novelists. Eventually, those names got more familiar and I had a lot less difficulty. Barb
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (11 of 20), Read 22 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ernest Belden drernest@pacbell.net Date: Friday, September 06, 2002 01:07 AM Hi sentimental readers, I will join you after all. While my library in town could not get a hold one, the Barnes and Nobel people took care of me. They just had one copy left. Read the introduction and it seems very complex and I only hope I will be able to keep the names straight. Ernie
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (12 of 20), Read 26 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Theresa Simpson theresa.a.simpson@gte.net Date: Friday, September 06, 2002 01:59 AM Ernie, it's worth the read. I got started on my re-read of this, but then was side-tracked by True History of the Kelly Gang. What a fantastic book; I know it got some discussion here a while back, and I second the recommendation. But I'll be back to SE this week-end. I think it was a characteristic of certain French writers of the period to show humans, warts and all, the dawn of social realism, death of the moral fable, what hey? Think of Balzac. Think of Zola (believe he was a bit later, but still). Theresa Life breaks in on philosophy like morning. Herman Melville
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (13 of 20), Read 22 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Tuesday, September 10, 2002 09:07 AM I finished reading SE last night. It seems to me I'd get a great deal out of it if I just started right over, since even at the end I had trouble with sorting characters out. But I know I won't do that, since I have too many things I want to read. I ended up liking Frederic better than I thought I would, given how he started out. I admired his dismissal of Madame Dambreuse for her cruelty. I wonder, though, how he would have reacted had she inherited all her husband's money. I must have missed something big, because Cecile seemed to appear out of nowhere, but I know she must have been there before -- just more of my trouble keeping characters straight. Was there a character here who was an interesting, noble "good" character? Sherry
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (14 of 20), Read 19 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ernest Belden drernest@pacbell.net Date: Wednesday, September 11, 2002 12:45 AM I have made some progress with The Sentimental Education. Well, Sherry you are not alone having trouble keeping characters straight. I am unwilling at this point to start over again and take notes like "Frederic is....." From other French novels that I have read these people act similar in some ways and there is some European flavor to it when I make comparisons. The British are different. The boy-male friendships bond while existing to a lesser extent in other countries as well is more pronounced in France. The idealizing of a total stranger and falling in love with her, is also something one finds in the European literature - at least in the past. People have turned out to be out to be more realistic- even in Europe. I should be honest at this point, having only read perhaps 100 pages that this book makes me uncomfortable the way people act and the way they are described. Hope this will change as I continue reading. If you can do it, try to compare the spirit of the relationships with Joyce's Ulysses. Well there is the matter of social status which goes with (somewhat strange) behavior in Flaubert and I don't remember anything like this in Joyce. Joyce made me feel more comfortable...That Arnoux character gives me the creeps for some reason. His wife has not been characterized but sight unseen (even if good looking and all that) does not make much of an impression on me. Well I have not met her at the Ball Masque at the Salon.... Ernie
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (15 of 20), Read 20 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Wednesday, September 11, 2002 07:04 AM Ernie, I doubt that your comfort level will get a whole lot better. The characters don't change much. They do change in subtle ways, but there is never an epiphany where Frederic says: "I must change my life for the better." Well, he has several changes of heart, mostly regarding whether he's in love with a certain woman, but generally these changes don't last for long. He also changes his "life's work" at a moment's notice, but no life's work ever seems to get him totally involved and interested. He dabbles in painting, writing, law, but never seems to make a living at any of it. It makes you wonder how anything ever gets done when people inherit money. I was amazed his money lasted him through to the end of the book, since he seemed to give it away (and spend it) so freely. Even though the book is entitled Sentimental Education, it's not at all sentimental (even though it's main character certainly is). As someone said up thread, it shows people warts and all. There are a lot of warts here. Sherry
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (16 of 20), Read 22 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Wednesday, September 11, 2002 10:56 AM >>It makes you wonder how anything ever gets done when people inherit money. That's good, Sherry. Puts me in mind of all those other novels where nobody seems to have a visible means of support. Ruth
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (17 of 20), Read 22 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, September 11, 2002 07:49 PM I'm still working my way through this one, and have less than a hundred pages to go. So far, I'm just trying to figure out where the plot is....or if there even is a plot. As far as I can determine, this is the story of a young man with too much time on his hands, who spends an extraordinarily huge amount of effort on trying to find different ways to impress various women. Maybe something will happen in the remaining pages that will change my mind, tho. Beej
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (18 of 20), Read 19 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Thursday, September 12, 2002 07:32 AM I'm getting to the end too and actually find that I'm liking it better. I love these descriptions of the revolution. It so perfectly fits with political groups that I watched or participated in during the late 60's and early 70's. He captures that sense of constantly whirling agendas with individuals able to grab control of the podium and send the group off in a different direction at a moment's notice. Of course, this period was more dangerous to those involved in France but the similarities are eery. I've decided that this book is much less a story of characters than a description of a time in history. When it is read with that in mind, it is far more enjoyable. Barb
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (19 of 20), Read 19 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Thursday, September 12, 2002 07:45 AM Since I know absolutely nothing about that time in history, it was both fascinating and confusing (I'm a complete history idiot -- the opposite of Cathy Hill). How many French Revolutions were there? The footnotes didn't really help me, since they seemed to pre-suppose some knowledge. But I just went with the flow. I imagine being there might have been just as confusing. The political alliances of the characters (who themselves hadn't totally etched themselves in my mind) seemed to keep swaying back and forth. And that poor rich guy, Dambreuse. I think he died of political confusion. He worked so hard trying to play toady to the factions in power, it finally did him in. Sherry
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (20 of 20), Read 17 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ernest Belden drernest@pacbell.net Date: Thursday, September 12, 2002 03:52 PM From just reading other posting the book becomes more interesting as it goes on. I am especially interested in the French Revolution and, if I remember correctly it went on for ever. It was a cruel and very bloody but eventually produced Napoleon. Yet the revolution brought at least the beginning of democracy to the rest of Europe. As to people who inherit money. It's a tempting idea but somehow I felt left out. Well, I would not have it distributed to the various charities. It's just not my nature. But to be serious for a moment, the people I know who have received large inheritances turned out to be tight wads. They hang on to every penny. Of course there must be others who are big spenders. Old money people are the ones who are tight. Did anyone read the fairly recent book: The Millionaire Next Door? That's another very large but tight group who drive old jalopies, and go on camping vacations at inexpensive camp grounds. Anyone read Balzac's Pere Gooriot? It has a bit of bearing on this discussion. Ernie
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (21 of 34), Read 16 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ernest Belden drernest@pacbell.net Date: Tuesday, September 17, 2002 01:49 AM I am making good progress with S.E. and I find it a much more interesting read than when I first started out. Also all the negative feelings I had initially pretty much disappeared. But, I have to admit that I am not crazy about any of the characters. I believe either Ann or Barb said they felt like Shaking Frederic. May I join you? His aimless inactivity enrages me. He can't stick to a thing, law, art,available girls. He does stick to one fantasy however up to where I am in this book. The other thing that irritates me no end is his absence of true libido (as we psychologists call it). I am about half way through and there are all these opportunities he has to have a close, satisfying romantic relationship (also he got money) yet he has not taken any positive steps in this direction - so far that is. Instead he prefers to fantasize about a woman he once saw on a ship for perhaps 5 minutes and so far has been unavailable to him. Well he manages to be near her by making friends with the husband and listens as she complains about the guy who is obviously -to put it mildly- questionable. Yes, its up to now a story of what life was like in these good old days (?). How people behaved what they thought and did and what life was like in these good old days. That makes it interesting and this is what I like best about the book. Also it is very well written and readable. If I would have found myself in Frederic's shoes at that time, I would not have found a number of interesting things to do instead of running around aimlessly in circles. Ernie
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (22 of 34), Read 17 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Wednesday, September 18, 2002 08:06 PM Ernie, Eventually, Frederic's libido does kick in, but I agree that it seemed to take an unusually long time. I ended up really liking the book because it was such an interesting slice of life in the mid-nineteenth century. Ann
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (23 of 34), Read 15 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Mary Anne Papale papcons@earthlink.net Date: Friday, September 20, 2002 08:30 PM I have to say that the reading of SE was greatly enhance by my actually being in Paris while reading it. Thank you for making it our September book! With that, I can add to Barb's point about SE being about a time in history, it is certainly also a book about a place and the prevailing culture of that time. Flaubert's description of the siege of Paris is probably quite accurate. When touring Paris today, you don't get the full flavor of this history unless you can imagine all of the bloody wounded lain out in front of the Pantheon, as Flaubert described. The name confusion was a problem for me because there were too many characters with "D" names: Dambreuse, Deslauriers, Dussardier. And just about everyone is self-serving. MAP
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (24 of 34), Read 17 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Saturday, September 21, 2002 11:13 AM It presents a pretty cynical view of human nature, doesn't it MAP? After the revolutions in the earlier part of the 19th century, the French finally widened the streets to make the beautiful boulevards you can see today. It made putting up barricades and fighting behind them much more difficult. I think that took place around the 1870's. Ann
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (25 of 34), Read 18 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Theresa Simpson theresa.a.simpson@gte.net Date: Saturday, September 21, 2002 03:41 PM Funny, how practical French solutions to social unrest can be; maybe that's a result of a civil law system? When Sorbonne students organized and almost took over Paris in the late 1960s, the response was to split Sorbonne up into 10 different institutions - makes mass organization more difficult. Theresa Life breaks in on philosophy like morning. Herman Melville
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (26 of 34), Read 21 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Saturday, September 21, 2002 05:16 PM And, we don't think of the French as practical, do we? I have been inching through Sentimental Education and finally finished it last night. I think the cause for the slowness was my life, not the book. Robert Baldick in my introduction describes it as a novel of disillusionment. I can see that as a description of the French people during this time period. However, I certainly never saw Frederic as idealistic. Naive might be a better description. I thought this was an interesting quote from Flaubert (also from my intro): '...this book is doomed to failure, because it doesn't do this.' He put his long, powerful hands together in the shape of a pyramid. 'The public,' he explained, 'wants works which exalt its illusions, whereas Sentimental Education...' And here he turned his big hands upside down and opened them as if to let his dreams fall into a bottomless pit... Barb
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (27 of 34), Read 19 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Sunday, September 22, 2002 11:42 AM Barb, That quote pretty much sums it up, doesn't it? Perhaps as a society we have grown so much more cynical that the whole concept of a worshipful love from afar strikes us as ridiculous from the get go. I know we all had trouble with Frederic's passion for the practically perfect Madame Arnoux. I enjoyed the irony of her last meeting with Frederic. At this point, she may have finally been ready to offer herself to Frederic, but he is turned off by how much she has aged. The lamp, standing on a console table, lit up her white hair. It was like a blow full in the chest. To conceal his disappointment, he went down on his knees, took her hands, and started murmuring endearments to her. At least he had the decency to conceal his revulsion from her, although a minute later he catches sight of her foot, and almost swoons again. What is this about Flaubert and feet? Didn't you mention he had a foot fetish, Beej? Ann
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (28 of 34), Read 21 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Sunday, September 22, 2002 11:53 AM I mentioned earlier that I was amused by the political satire in this book, particularly that involving the plans of the temporarily successful revolutionaries. I was struck by the fact that many of their supposedly "wild" schemes have actually come to pass. For example, when Frederic gave his speech as a potential political candidate, He demanded a tax on income, graduated taxation, a European federation, education for the masses, and the greatest possible encouragement for fine arts. All but the last have come to pass. Even that wild eyed feminist Mademoiselle Vatnaz had some pretty modern ideas. She wanted the admission of women to all types of employment, investigation into the paternity of illegitimate children, a new legal code, and either the abolition of marriage or at the very least 'a more intelligent regulation of the institution.' These ideas may have seemed as radical to Flaubert's contemporaries as some of her other proposals seem to us, such as the idea that every Frenchwoman should be obliged to marry a Frenchman or to adopt and old man. Ann
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (29 of 34), Read 20 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Sunday, September 22, 2002 01:43 PM Excellent points about what they were proposing, Ann. I've always been under the impression that the French were some of the most progressive thinking people about democratic ideals. However, they had a hard time instituting them without so much revolution that it set the entire process back. Is that totally inaccurate thought on my part? I liked Madame Vatnaz, not surprisingly. About the only other character in the book that I liked was Roque's daughter. I kept wishing that her character would be developed a bit more. Barb
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (30 of 34), Read 21 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Theresa Simpson theresa.a.simpson@gte.net Date: Sunday, September 22, 2002 03:27 PM My guess is that Flaubert was poking fun at Vatnaz as to all of her beliefs - admitting women to employment seemed just as absurd to him as requiring marriage to a Frenchman. It's our own outlook that now sees these ideas as quite logical. I'm only on page 150 of SE; life has gotten in the way of my reading time. And I have to go read some cases on tortious interference this afternoon (with a break at 3:00 to go see Gabe read, Barb); so I don't know that I'll make much progress this week-end. Theresa Life breaks in on philosophy like morning. Herman Melville
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (31 of 34), Read 17 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Sunday, September 22, 2002 07:41 PM Barb, Well the French certainly had more revolutions than the average country - from 1789 through 1799, and then much smaller ones in 1830 and 1848. The English handled the implementation of democratic ideals much more gradually and successfully. I rather liked Vatnaz too. She was at least an enterprising woman in a time when it was extremely difficult for a woman to make it on her own. I really expected Frederic to marry Roque's daughter, who seemed preferable to the other women he was involved with. Theresa, I completely agree that Flaubert was making fun of all these "liberal" ideas, including the ones we take for granted today. What did you all think of Frederic's best friend, Deslauriers? At first I was sympathetic, but then when he started going after Frederic's women just for the challenge of it I decided he was complete scum.
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (32 of 34), Read 18 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Monday, September 23, 2002 07:19 AM I know very little about Flaubert's political beliefs. However, I'm fairly sure he was making fun of Vatnaz's. That makes the irony of some of it coming true today even more delicious. As to some of the other beliefs, I had the sense that he might have had some sympathy. But, as in any political movement, the everyday workings under the ideals are directed by mere mortals and are full of all of our flaws: vanity, greed, etc. I must say that, the more I ponder this book, the more it makes me think of the political movements in the U.S. in the 60's and early 70's. Ann, when I think of Deslauriers, I remember that Frederic actually may have been idealistic at one time. Remember that they had agreed in school to share and share alike in all that life brought them. At least, that's the impression I had in the beginning. I could understand Deslaurers' bitterness that, when Frederic came into his fortune, these ideals were largely forgotten. I liked his character a bit, but I thought that Flaubert did a good job of painting a realistic picture of what would happen in the reality of time. I did think that there were great leaps in his development though which weren't painted in quite enough. Barb
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (33 of 34), Read 14 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ernest Belden drernest@pacbell.net Date: Monday, September 23, 2002 05:36 PM I am now reading the fascinating part about the French revolution and a bit of activity in Frederics love life. I did no expect either of these when I started out. So perhaps he is being educated all right in a sentimental way as the title of the book promised. But mainly I am increasingly enjoying the the book as it deals with a broader range of events and activities. Still can't understand the main character as I have never run into someone like it. But he seems to make an effort to "take part", "participate" and I give him credit for that. This book is very well written and has become increasingly interesting. Just the same Madame B ovary, as I remember, seemed more dynamic and continued to hold my interest. Are there some similarities between Frederic and Madame Bovary's husband (passivity, lack of involvement)? Ernie
Topic: SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION by Gustave Flaubert (34 of 34), Read 11 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, September 23, 2002 09:08 PM Ernie, I had seen similarities between Emma B. and Frederic, but your question concerning similarities between Charles B. and Frederic is quite interesting. Now that you mention it, I can see where Frederic has characteristics of both Bovarys. Beej
From: Ernest Belden drernest@pacbell.net Date: Thursday, October 17, 2002 02:31 AM I am totally ashamed of myself for just having finished the Sentimental Education. I became very interesting in the cultural events taking place in France at that time. Sherry is entirely correct when she can see warts and all. What's impressive about Flaubert and Zola is that they write history and events as they are. They don't glorify them or make heros out of people who are obviously are mediocre. What bothered me as Frederic gets involved with women he once more shows his weakness. He can't make up his mind who is his first choice, he goes back and forth - but - he clearly sees them more realistically as practical and aggressively trying to further their lives. He sees the Marshall as she is and that is a bit disappointing. His idealistic admiration of females seems to slowly but surely decline so that he sees them as not too different from men in their own ways. He does seem to avoid serious involvements at all cost because he is not willing to pay the price in his indecisiveness. Just the same I like him better than I would like a determined radical with fixed ideas one way or the other. I feel I would enjoy sitting down and chatting with Frederic about a number of things. He is intellectual no doubt and likeable in most ways. I don't admire people who desperately pursue one course or another, the wild goose chasers. And hesitate to admit that there are a few of view and characteristics that I share with Frederic. Ernie
From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Thursday, October 17, 2002 07:34 AM Flaubert certainly was an early realist, wasn't he, Ernie? I find it so ironic that he entitles this book with the word sentimental and the proceeds to present characters stripped of all artifice. I can relate to the part of Frederic that couldn't commit wholeheartedly to any of these causes in the end, that always began to see the less idealistic parts of them. He also is a realistic character to me in that his own self was far too central to him to be abandoned to a philosophy. It's interesting that his illusions about women were the last to go. I think many have commented that Flaubert saw a lot of himself in Frederic. Barb

 

 
Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert

 
Search:
Keywords:
In Association with Amazon.com