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by Gustave Flaubert
There’ll always be a place for the sad sack in fiction, heroes of topsy-turvy Bildungsromans who regress or stall rather than develop.
Moravia suggests that ratiocination is a poor substitute for taste. One of his great themes is how sensibility is wrecked by negotiations with other people, other classes, other individuals, and thereby reinvigorated.
Close writing really is an amazing thing. Consider that this essay right now has been narrated in the third person, and yet there is no question as to what Clark's opinions are.
Given Flaubert’s obsession with style and craft, any translation of Madame Bovary into English requires not merely competence but a touch of full-on windmill-charging madness. Lydia Davis has this madness, tempered by a Flaubertian fastidiousness and dedication to language. The results are exhilarating.
Sometimes I wish I were that man in the Twilight Zone episode who finds himself in the ruins of a public library, with lots of food and all the time in the world to read all the books he wants.