Sentimental Education, Gustave Flaubert, Tom Griffith
Gustave Flaubert,Tom Griffith

Sentimental Education


With an Introduction and revised translation by Adrianne Tooke.

Sentimental Education has been described both as the first modern novel and as a novel to end all novels. Weaving a poignant love story into his account of the 1848 revolution, Flaubert shows a society in the grip of stereotypes, on every level. There is something farcical in his depiction of characters who aspire to act but are dogged by cliche at every turn.

To a greater extent even than Madame Bovary, Sentimental Education is an indictment of modern consumerism, contrasting the hollowness of material achievement with the lasting beauty of the ideal. Flaubert's study of success and failure offers us a terrible sadness in a terrible beauty, yet is one of the world's great comic masterpieces.
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She resembled the women of whom he had read in romances. He would have added nothing to her person, and would have taken nothing from her. The universe had suddenly become enlarged. She was the luminous point towards which all things converged – and, rocked by the movement of the vehicle, with half-closed eyelids, and looking up into the clouds, he abandoned himself to a dreamy, infinite joy.

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