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Based on Flaubert’s own youthful passion for an older woman, Sentimental Education was described by its author as “the moral history of the men of my generation.” It follows the amorous adventures of Frederic Moreau, a law student who, returning home to Normandy from Paris, notices Mme Arnoux, a slender, dark woman several years older than himself. It is the beginning of Based on Flaubert’s own youthful passion for an older woman, Sentimental Education was described by its author as “the moral history of the men of my generation.” It follows the amorous adventures of Frederic Moreau, a law student who, returning home to Normandy from Paris, notices Mme Arnoux, a slender, dark woman several years older than himself. It is the beginning of an infatuation that will last a lifetime. He befriends her husband, an influential businessman, and as their paths cross and re-cross over the years, Mme Arnoux remains the constant, unattainable love of Moreau’s life. Blending love story, historical authenticity, and satire, Sentimental Education is one of the great French novels of the nineteenth century.


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Based on Flaubert’s own youthful passion for an older woman, Sentimental Education was described by its author as “the moral history of the men of my generation.” It follows the amorous adventures of Frederic Moreau, a law student who, returning home to Normandy from Paris, notices Mme Arnoux, a slender, dark woman several years older than himself. It is the beginning of Based on Flaubert’s own youthful passion for an older woman, Sentimental Education was described by its author as “the moral history of the men of my generation.” It follows the amorous adventures of Frederic Moreau, a law student who, returning home to Normandy from Paris, notices Mme Arnoux, a slender, dark woman several years older than himself. It is the beginning of an infatuation that will last a lifetime. He befriends her husband, an influential businessman, and as their paths cross and re-cross over the years, Mme Arnoux remains the constant, unattainable love of Moreau’s life. Blending love story, historical authenticity, and satire, Sentimental Education is one of the great French novels of the nineteenth century.

30 review for Sentimental Education

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    This one is often described as “the novel to end all novels” and I understand why – when you are reading it you say to yourself very frequently “if this is what novels are like I am never going to read another one in my entire life”. From about page 50 until when I stopped, I was having these strong bibliocidal fantasies. I thought – maybe I will leave this accidentally on the bus to work. But I forgot to forget it, like that country song. Then I thought – maybe a column of army ants will chomp This one is often described as “the novel to end all novels” and I understand why – when you are reading it you say to yourself very frequently “if this is what novels are like I am never going to read another one in my entire life”. From about page 50 until when I stopped, I was having these strong bibliocidal fantasies. I thought – maybe I will leave this accidentally on the bus to work. But I forgot to forget it, like that country song. Then I thought – maybe a column of army ants will chomp it up so that not a shred remains. But army ants are never seen in Nottingham, only the friendly variety who bid you good day as they pass by. I tried to donate my copy to Oxfam but the shop assistant, having turned very pale when she saw the title, summoned up a courage I had not thought her to possess and said they could not accept that particular title. When I asked why she referred me to the Oxfam standard operating procedures, something about health and safety, which includes of course mental health. They had accepted copies of Sentimental Education in previous years but there had been some incidents and now all shops had been explicitly warned not to. I see that many of my most respected GR friends hand out the big four and five stars to this novel and describe it as brilliantly comic. I was trembling in my boots until I found that none other than Henry James was on my side. Here is his considered opinion: Here the form and method are the same as in "Madame Bovary"; the studied skill, the science, the accumulation of material, are even more striking; but the book is in a single word a dead one. "Madame Bovary" was spontaneous and sincere; but to read its successor is, to the finer sense, like masticating ashes and sawdust. L'Education Sentimentale is elaborately and massively dreary. That a novel should have a certain charm seems to us the most rudimentary of principles, and there is no more charm in this laborious monument to a treacherous ideal than there is interest in a heap of gravel. However I did notice something what Henry James did not notice, and felt quite smug about that. It is this – that the main part of the plot of Sentimental Education is almost the same as the plot of Shampoo, the Warren Beattie movie from 1975, which I saw only last week so it was fresh in my memory. In Shampoo, hairdresser George’s former girlfriend Jackie now has a rich sugar daddy boyfriend Lester, whose wife Felicia is one of George’s best customers. Naturally George is shagging Felicia as it would seem unkind not to, and, because he keeps bumping into Jackie as they move in the same social circles, he realises he never wanted to break up with her so he starts shagging Jackie as well. Then comes the really shocking scene – Lester’s daughter who I guess is supposed to be around 16 or so comes on to George when he’s visiting Felicia. And she is played by none other than 19 year old Carrie Fisher, two years before Princess Leia. What a shock that was. So in Sentimental Education Frederic, the world’s most dreary young bachelor, wants to shag the wife of Monsieur Arnoux, a publisher. And eventually this guy introduces Frederic to his mistress Roseanne who he’s got fed up with, the idea being that Frederic will take her over, I suppose they used to do this in those days as they did not have Tinder. So Frederic is nearly shagging the guy’s wife and nearly shagging the guy’s mistress at the same time. Just like in Shampoo, except that George the hairdresser was a lot less dreary. Also in Shampoo and Sentimental Education there are these long long long boring party scenes where I think the effect is supposed to be scintillatingly socially satirical. I did not notice any specific Star Wars connections in Sentimental Education, but neither did Henry James. If I am ever taken hostage and this is the only reading material available in my rat infested dungeon then I will definitely finish this.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    858. L'Éducation sentimentale = Sentimental Education, Gustave Flaubert Sentimental Education is a novel by Gustave Flaubert. Considered one of the most influential novels of the 19th century, it was praised by contemporaries such as George Sand and Emile Zola, but criticized by Henry James. The story focuses on the romantic life of a young man at the time of the French Revolution of 1848. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز پانزدهم ماه آوریل سال 2009 میلادی عنوان: تربیت احساسات؛ نویسنده: گوستاو فلوبر؛ مترجم: 858. L'Éducation sentimentale = Sentimental Education, Gustave Flaubert Sentimental Education is a novel by Gustave Flaubert. Considered one of the most influential novels of the 19th century, it was praised by contemporaries such as George Sand and Emile Zola, but criticized by Henry James. The story focuses on the romantic life of a young man at the time of the French Revolution of 1848. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز پانزدهم ماه آوریل سال 2009 میلادی عنوان: تربیت احساسات؛ نویسنده: گوستاو فلوبر؛ مترجم: مهدی سحابی؛ تهران، نشر مرکز، 1380؛ در 632 ص؛ شابک: 9643056465؛ چاپ دوم 1385؛ سوم و چهارم 1388؛ شابک: 9789643056469؛ پنجم 1389؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان فرانسوی - سده 19 م عنوان: تربیت احساسات (مکتب عشق، یا سرگذشت یک جوان)؛ نویسنده: گوستاو فلوبر؛ مترجم: فروغ شهاب؛ تهران، بنگاه ترجمه ونشر، 1349؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، علمی فرهنگی، 1395، در بیست و 241 ص؛ شابک: 9786004360555؛ بر خلاف «مادام بوواری» که در زمان انتشار، بسیار محبوب و مشهور بود، بسیاری از هم‌عصران فلوبر، «تربیت احساسات» را، شکستی ادبی تلقی کردند، و اثر را از «منظر اخلاقی»، زننده؛ و از «منظر سیاسی»، منحرف، توصیف کردند. این اثر سال‌ها در سایه ی درخشندگی «مادام بوواری» باقی‌ ماند، تا اینکه منتقدان معاصر، ارزش ادبی «تربیت احساسات» را، دوباره کشف کردند. اثری عاطفی و شخصی ست، که در آن احساسات با شرح رویدادهای تاریخی، در هم می‌آمیزد، روایت دلسردی‌هایی فردی، و نیز در توضیح یاس، و انحطاط اجتماعی، در پی زوال توهم‌هایی، که انگیزه ی تکان‌های انقلابی بود، درخشان است. ا. شربیانی

  3. 4 out of 5

    Fionnuala

    As was the case with Madame Bovary, which I read recently, this book demanded to be commented on as I read, so I posted lots of quips and quotes in the updates. While searching for illustrations for those updates, I began to notice strong parallels between Flaubert’s mid-nineteenth century story and Honoré Daumier’s cartoons for French illustrated newspapers of the same period. Finding so many amusing pairings between scenes in the book and Daumier’s illustrations made reading this book a double As was the case with Madame Bovary, which I read recently, this book demanded to be commented on as I read, so I posted lots of quips and quotes in the updates. While searching for illustrations for those updates, I began to notice strong parallels between Flaubert’s mid-nineteenth century story and Honoré Daumier’s cartoons for French illustrated newspapers of the same period. Finding so many amusing pairings between scenes in the book and Daumier’s illustrations made reading this book a double pleasure. And since it's a busy time of the year, I'm going to incorporate some of those updates into the review - apologies to those of you who've seen them already. L'éducation sentimentale is set in the 1840s, and the political upheavals of those years are referenced constantly - though they don't impinge as much as they might on the main character, Frédéric Moreau. Frédéric is a law student who'd like to be a writer, but he doesn't find it easy to study or write, so he leads the typical student life, sleeping, eating and drinking - and enjoying the cartoons in the Charivari newspaper: Frédéric avala un verre de rhum, puis un verre de kirsch, puis un verre de curaçao, puis différents grogs, tant froids que chauds. Il lut tout le journal, et le relut; il examina, jusque dans les grains du papier, la caricature du Charivari; à la fin, il savait par coeur les annonces. But while Frédéric spends time examining every detail of the cartoons and the advertisments in the Charivari, his friends are variously involved in preparing the revolt which will eventually depose King Louis Philippe in 1848. Frédéric is not a revolutionary himself, in fact he's not sure what he is yet. His male friends don't know either and they constantly pull him in different directions in an effort to find out. Fréderic has women friends too, and one of them sounds a lot like Madame Bovary, from the top of her dark tresses which 'lovingly framed her ovale face’ to the toe of her little boot. This Madame Bovary look-alike is called Madame Arnoux, and she gradually becomes the key love interest in Fréderic’s life, though she keeps herself in the background of the story. And although she's a very faithful spouse to M. Arnoux, she reminded me of Emma Bovary every time she swayed into a scene, especially when it was a question of her 'bottines'; Flaubert and Frédéric seem to have a thing about slim leather-clad feet peeping out from underneath the vastness of a crinoline. And since Frédéric had been studying the caricatures in the Charivari so closely, I began studying them too, especially the ones by Honoré Daumier, and that’s how I stumbled on so many parallels between Flaubert’s scenarios and Daumier's sketches. When Frédéric accompanies Madame Arnoux on her shopping trips, it’s hard not to imagine the scene like this, especially since Frédéric is such a very flexible character: (The text underneath Daumier's sketch says that since women now wear skirts made of steel, men would need to be made of rubber to give them their arm in the street!) Daumier intends to be funny of course, and you might argue that Flaubert is being serious much of the time. But even when Flaubert is describing something potentially sedate or serious, he makes me laugh. So when I came on this description of the kind of elaborate curtsies people make in polite society, I couldn't help matching the passage with another Daumier cartoon: Les invités arrivaient; en manière de salut, ils jetaient leur torse de côté, ou se courbaient en deux, ou baissaient la figure seulement Sometimes, I was convinced that Flaubert himself had been studying Daumier's cartoons before writing certain scenes because they just match together so well. One of Frédéric's least bright friends tries his hand at a witty remark about a French writer called La Bruyère, known for his book 'Les Caractères', while passing a plate of grouse (coq de bruyère) to his friends at table: il tenta même un calembour, car il dit, comme on passait un coq de bruyère, "Voilà le meilleur des caractères de bruyère"! And of course, Daumier just happens to have a witty cartoon about a grouse too: At the same dinner, the Wit insults one of Frédéric's women friends, and next thing he knows, Frédéric is involved in a duel - one of the funniest scenes in the book. As the duel is about to begin, someone runs up to shout stop, and the Wit, thinking it’s the police, faints in fear and scratches his thumb whereupon the duel is abandoned because blood has been spilled. Has Daumier such a scene? But of course! The more I looked for correspondences between Flaubert's and Daumier's scenes, the more I found. Take this one for example, where Fréderic spots a crowd in front of a painting of a young woman he has become slightly involved with and discovers that the painting has his own name under it, F Moreau - as the owner, of both the painting and the lady, it is implied! And he's not even Rosanette's lover as yet! Complications seem to follow him about! Daumier just happens to have a drawing of some people in front of a painting of a young woman too - and the name ‘Moreau’ is associated with it: But it's Gustave Moreau’s Sphinx, (view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)] about which the pair in the cartoon are having a conversation: "Un chat décolleté avec une tête de femme, ça s'appelle donc un Sphinx?" "Certainement…en grec!" ("So a bare-breasted cat with a woman's head is called a Sphinx?" asks the man with the catalogue. "Certainly," says the woman, "- in Greek!" (clearly she doesn't want to think such creatures can exist in French)) Meantime, in spite of his complicated love life, Frédéric continues to sit over the dinner table discussing the state of the nation with some smug characters: Cependant, objecta M, la misère existe, avouons-le! Mais le remède ne dépend ni de la Science ni du Pouvoir. C'est une question purement individuelle. Quand les basses classes voudront se débarrasser de leurs vices, elles s'affranchiront de leurs besoins. Que le peuple soit plus moral, et il sera moins pauvre! Daumier was obviously at the same dinner! The summer of 1848 arrives, and Frédéric hasn't passed his bar exams, he hasn't written the book he planned to write, and he hasn't got involved in the Reform movement. One of his friends turns up with the news that the time has finally come to remove King Louis Philippe from power, and he strongly urges Frédéric to join the fight to topple the 'poire': Mon vieux, La poire est mûre. Selon ta promesse, nous comptons sur toi. On se réunit demain au petit jour, place du Panthéon. Entre au café Soufflot. Il faut que je te parle avant la manifestation. Daumier has some great caricatures of Louis Philippe as the 'poire', ripe for harvesting: So Paris is in uproar and people are on the barricades: But where is Frédéric? Did he answer the call? Hmm, he has his own way of addressing Reform. He decides to stop shilly-shallying and to finally sleep with Rosanette (his passion for Mme Arnoux being still unconsummated): Mille pardons ! » dit Frédéric, en lui saisissant la taille dans les deux mains. -« Comment ? que fais-tu ?» balbutia Rosanette. Il répondit : -« Je suis la mode, je me réforme. » Elle se laissa renverser sur le divan, et continuait à rire sous ses baisers. Later Frédéric's conscience wakes up and he becomes concerned for his comrades. He searches for them in the Palace which the People have invaded, and comes on a crazy scene in which a group of people try out the throne for size: ils arrivèrent dans la salle des Maréchaux. Les portraits de ces illustres, sauf celui de Bugeaud percé au ventre, étaient tous intacts..Sur le trône était assis un prolétaire à barbe noire, la chemise entrouverte, l'air hilare et stupide comme un magot. D'autres gravissaient l'estrade pour s'asseoir à sa place. Then for twenty pages, while Paris rumbles explosively, Flaubert sends Fréderic and Rosanette on a sightseeing holiday to Fontainebleau, visiting the Chateau which was the country residence of many former kings - like the most carefree of tourists (allowing Flaubert to offer us fine descriptive passages), while back in Paris, the world as they knew it is balancing on the tip of a bayonet. But of course Flaubert isn’t ignoring the troubles in Paris at all, just showing us how good he is at metaphor : des chênes rugueux, énormes, qui se convulsaient..s'étreignaient les uns les autres, et fermes sur leurs troncs, pareils à des torses, se lançaient avec leurs bras nus des appels de désespoir, des menaces furibondes..immobilisés dans leur colère While reading that description of an oak wood near the Chateau, in which the enormous trees surge and sway like a seething mass of angry beings, we can’t but think immediately of the confrontations between the people and the monarchy during the uprisings, as in this sketch by Daumier of the Peasant’s Revolt: A little further on, Flaubert describes a granite quarry in terms that make it resemble a long-forgotten ruined city, a Sodom and Gomorrah: Un bruit de fer, des coups drus et nombreux sonnaient: c'était, au flanc d'une colline, une compagnie de carriers battant les roches. Elles se multipliaient de plus en plus, et finissaient par emplir tout le paysage, cubiques comme des maisons, plates comme des dalles, s'étayant, se surplombant, se confondant, telles que les ruines méconnaissables et monstrueuses de quelque cité disparue Daumier has just such a scene, which he calls Paris in Revolt or Sodom and Gomorrah: Frédéric eventually returns to the city, and the city eventually returns to a semblance of order, though no political group gets quite what they sought, and crazy compromises are made, with bankers getting into bed with socialists. Frédéric’s life is equally complicated - he's involved with four different women - and he has to make constant compromises. One compromise he's faced with is marrying a rich widow: Frédéric baissait la voix, en se penchant vers son visage..Mme D ferma les yeux, et il fut surpris par la facilité de sa victoire. Les grands arbres du jardin qui frissonnaient mollement s'arrêtèrent...et il y eut comme une suspension universelle des choses. But similarly to the political scene, where temporary allies were constantly breaking their promises and betraying one another, and betraying the spirit of Liberty at the same time, Fredéric finds himself breaking his promises and betraying all the women in his life, including Mme Arnoux: Bientôt ces mensonges le divertirent; il répétait à l'une le serment qu'il venait de faire à l'autre, leur envoyait deux bouquets semblables, leur écrivait en même temps, puis établissait entre elles des comparaisons; - il y en avait une troisième toujours présente à sa pensée… And just as you might be tempted to wonder what had become of the spirit of Liberty in the Paris of the day, you might also wonder what had become of Frédéric’s first love, Mme Arnoux. Well, like Liberty, she does turn up - when least expected: The Reform movements may not welcome the ghost of Liberty, but Frédéric is glad to see Mme Arnoux, though she's a bit of a ghost of her former self. Still, their meeting towards the end of the book provides a sweet scene in which the two finally admit their deep love for each other: elle lui dit «Quelquefois, vos paroles me reviennent comme un écho lointain, comme le son d'une cloche apporté par le vent; et il me semble que vous êtes là, quand je lis des passages d'amour dans les livres.» «Tout ce qu'on y blâme d'exagéré, vous me l'avez fait ressentir», dit Frédéric. «Je comprends Werther, que ne dégoûtent pas les tartines de Charlotte». In a scene which starts out very movingly, Frédéric somehow ends up drawing a parallel between his love for Mme Arnoux and the ridiculous quantities of bread and jam that Werther’s great love Charlotte was constantly preparing for her little brothers and sisters, which convinces me that Flaubert was always ready to see the ridiculous side of life, and that he shared Daumier’s view, as demonstrated in this cartoon, that life, love and lunacy might be more closely linked than we admit: According to Flaubert's account, it did seem as if a lot of time was spent howling at the moon during those decades! ……………………………………………… I’m hoping that Flaubert’s sense of fun would have prevented him from objecting to me using illustrations in this review - though he never allowed any of his books to be illustrated in his lifetime...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. L'Education Sentimentale is well known to be one of Woody Allen's favourite books, and it explores one of Allen's favourite themes. Whether life is a tragedy or a comedy depends on hair-fine nuances. Melinda and Melinda is probably the clearest example: the perspective constantly, and rather confusingly, shifts back and forward between comedy and tragedy. A bit later, he redid the idea in a more convincing way, as the linked pair Match Point (the tragedy) and Scoop (the comedy). In the same L'Education Sentimentale is well known to be one of Woody Allen's favourite books, and it explores one of Allen's favourite themes. Whether life is a tragedy or a comedy depends on hair-fine nuances. Melinda and Melinda is probably the clearest example: the perspective constantly, and rather confusingly, shifts back and forward between comedy and tragedy. A bit later, he redid the idea in a more convincing way, as the linked pair Match Point (the tragedy) and Scoop (the comedy). In the same spirit, here's a linked pair of reviews. I wrote the tragic one first, but then felt that I really needed to balance it with a comic version. ________________________ Tragic review O Hamlet, speak no more: Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul; And there I see such black and grained spots As will not leave their tinct.I'm afraid it's not exactly a fun beach read. If L'Education Sentimentale doesn't make you feel uneasy, you're either a remarkably secure person or you decided to quit before reaching the end. And Flaubert does a good job of sneaking up on you: for the first hundred pages or so, I felt it was one of those books where nothing was going to happen, and it wasn't until I was about halfway through that I really began to feel disquieted. He's good. On the surface, it's unremarkable, except for the lovely prose. Frédéric is a stupid and shallow young man in 1840s France. After a chance meeting on a boat, he conceives a passion for Mme. Arnoux, a beautiful married woman. He manages to insinuate himself into her husband's social circle, and becomes friendly with him. After a while, M. Arnoux trusts young Frédéric enough that he introduces him to his mistress, the charming and scatterbrained Roseanette. Frédéric falls for her too, and then his romantic life becomes even more complicated. I'll try to avoid dropping any more spoilers, but I thought I should convince you that it's definitely not a book where nothing happens: as in Madame Bovary and Salammbô, there's ample sex and violence. So, why's it so disquieting? One way to explain is to compare with two other novels, which were written not long after and certainly, at least in part, were inspired by it. In Proust's Le Côté de Guermantes, Marcel becomes as obsessed with the Duchesse de Guermantes as Frédéric does with Mme. Arnoux, but by the end of the novel he's got over her; we get a detailed account of how her charm gradually fades away, so that he can finally see her objectively. It's disappointing, but extremely rational. And in Maupassant's Bel-Ami, Georges Duroy cleverly exploits his series of mistresses to become rich and successful; this time, you're shocked at how cold-blooded he is, but it's also rational. I thought at several points that Frédéric was going to take one of these paths; he doesn't. The novel's extraordinary strength is to get inside his mind as he dithers between the various women he's involved with, and demonstrate how he simply isn't capable of any kind of rational thought whatsoever. He's with X, and Flaubert shows with his usual exactitude how blissfully in love he is with her. Then, a few pages later, he's with Y, and his protestations of eternal devotion don't come across as hypocritical: much worse, they're sincere! And, in the next chapter, with Z... well, you get the picture. It's horrifyingly well done. In the middle of all this, the Revolution of 1848 breaks out. (By the way: if you're as ignorant about French history as I am, I strongly recommend getting an annotated edition. Flaubert assumes you know the story already, and keeps referring to people and events I'd never heard of - I was flipping to the endnotes like I was reading Infinite Jest). I did wonder for a moment what the politics had to do with the main story; alas, that rapidly becomes clear too. Like the eponymous hero of the Rabbit series, Frédéric is constitutionally incapable of seeing past the end of his own dick. The fact that France has been given a once-in-a-century chance to establish a fairer and more democratic government completely escapes him. There is a magnificent sequence where a major event has occurred, and people are shooting at each other in the streets; all Frédéric can think about is the fact that he's missed an important date with one of his loved ones. I was strongly reminded of the scene near the beginning of Shaun of the Dead, where Shaun, who's just been dumped by his girlfriend, stumbles home in a daze while somehow managing not to notice that London is being invaded by flesh-eating zombies. You will gather that L'Education Sentimentale does not present a positive and uplifting view of human nature. If only it were ugly or hastily written, one could dismiss it. But no: as always with Flaubert, it's meticulously crafted and a delight to read. A lot of the time, it's even funny. You may occasionally want to fling it across the room; more often, you're going to react with a wry smile. He's witty and entertaining. I started with a quote from Hamlet, arguably one of the book's ancestors, and I'll conclude with one from Cat's Cradle, probably a great-grandson, and also a very funny book. Here's Kurt Vonnegut on the same subject.And I remembered The Fourteenth Book of Bokonon, which I had read in its entirety the night before. The Fourteenth Book is entitled 'What Can a Thoughtful Man Hope for Mankind on Earth, Given the Experiences of the Past Million Years?' It doesn't take long to read The Fourteenth Book. It consists of one word and a period. This is it: 'Nothing.' ________________________ Comic review ["Sex and the City" theme tune. CARRIE is lying across her bed typing industriously on her laptop] CARRIE: [voiceover] I read that over 60% of all American men cheat on their partners. That's a lot of cheating. It's happened to me. It's happened to my best friends. It may have happened to you. And, the other day, I started wondering [the title comes up as she speaks the words] When Men Cheat On Their Partners, What Are They Really Thinking? [Dissolve to a trendy Manhattan restaurant. CARRIE is sitting alone at a table set for four people, reading a paperback novel. Camera zooms in to show the title, "Sentimental Education"] CARRIE: [turns a page, and shakes her head reflectively] Jeez! [CARRIE is so engrossed that she doesn't notice that CHARLOTTE, SAMANTHA and MIRANDA have arrived, and are looking at her curiously.] CHARLOTTE: Good, isn't it? CARRIE: [starts violently] Uh... yes! So you've read it too? Don't tell me how it ends... SAMANTHA: [checking to see how far CARRIE has got] Oh, you're nearly finished. You know, this reminds me of something that happened to Charlotte and me a few years ago. [She gives CHARLOTTE a teasing look] You don't mind? CHARLOTTE: Um... CARRIE: [voiceover] Charlotte did mind, but Samantha steamrollered her. SAMANTHA: [steamrollering her] Come on, babe, all ancient history now! But we need some cocktails first. [To waiter] Four Cosmopolitans! CARRIE: [voiceover] This was during Charlotte's first marriage, a period she doesn't like to talk about. Her husband Jack was a lot older than her. [Montage. CHARLOTTE'S FIRST HUSBAND evidently doesn't take her seriously.] CARRIE: [voiceover] Samantha hadn't yet discovered she had a talent for PR. She was wondering if she would make it as an actress. [Montage. SAMANTHA's movie roles don't require her to wear much.] CARRIE: [voiceover] Samantha was also a close friend of Jack. [Montage. JACK and SAMANTHA are having noisy sex. Dissolve back to restaurant.] SAMANTHA: [smiles and pats CHARLOTTE on the arm] Of course, Charlotte and I didn't know each other yet. CARRIE: [voiceover] Now Jack ran this publishing company. He had a cute intern called Fred. One day, Fred met Charlotte. [Dissolve back to the past. Montage. FRED, very young and innocent, meets CHARLOTTE. He's obviously smitten.] CARRIE: [voiceover] Fred had never seen anyone so beautiful in his life. He immediately knew he could never love another woman. But how could he meet her again? [FRED looks sad and pensive, then suddenly brightens up.] CARRIE: [voiceover] Fred needed to get friendly with Jack. [Montage. JACK is talking, FRED is hanging on his every word.] CARRIE: [voiceover] Jack liked the attention. He started inviting Fred to his dinner parties. [Montage. Dinner party at JACK and CHARLOTTE's. FRED gazes raptly at CHARLOTTE, while she ignores him.] CARRIE: [voiceover] Jack had really got to trust Fred. He started taking him to parties at Samantha's place too. [Montage. A much wilder party. FRED looks embarrassed, but is clearly eyeing up SAMANTHA] CARRIE: [voiceover] Pretty soon, Fred had fallen for Samantha as well. Oh, and somewhere around here he went back to Wisconsin for a couple of months and managed to get engaged to the girl next door. [Montage. FRED is with the adoring GIRL-NEXT-DOOR, who's even younger and more innocent-looking than he is. Dissolve back to restaurant. MIRANDA is struggling to keep up with the story.] MIRANDA: So, uh, let me see, he can only love Charlotte but he's got the hots for Samantha and he's engaged to the girl next door? [CHARLOTTE looks like she wants to sink through the floor. She takes a large sip of her cocktail. SAMANTHA is having fun.] SAMANTHA: [to MIRANDA] Don't worry, babe, it hasn't got complicated yet. CARRIE: [voiceover] Fred made progress with Charlotte. She let him hold her hand while she told him about her problems. But that's all that happened. [Montage. FRED and CHARLOTTE gaze soulfully into each other's eyes, go for walks hand-in-hand, pick flowers, etc] CARRIE: [voiceover] Obviously, Fred wanted more. He made a date with Charlotte at the New York apartment he'd just started renting. This was going to be it. [Montage. FRED, in an agony of suspense, is waiting outside the apartment block. He keeps looking at his watch.] CARRIE: [voiceover] Unfortunately, the date was September 11, 2001. [Montage. The Twin Towers erupt in flames. People screaming in the streets. FRED is still looking at his watch as they stream past.] CARRIE: [voiceover] Fred was so angry with Charlotte for not turning up. He went to see Samantha. [Montage. FRED and SAMANTHA are having sex. Dissolve back to restaurant.] SAMANTHA: [elaborate shrug] Well, I needed a fuck pretty bad. CARRIE: [voiceover] Fred liked being with Samantha. But deep down, he never forgave her for making him betray his true love. He started seeing someone else, the wife of a rich banker. [Montage. FRED is having sex with RICH BANKER WIFE. Back to restaurant.] MIRANDA: [completely lost] So, he's sleeping with you and the banker's wife because he can't be with his true love? And what's with the fiancée? SAMANTHA: [large sip of cocktail] That's it, babe. He thought it was my fault, and the banker's wife's fault. And maybe the fiancée's fault too, but I was never quite sure about that. Of course, it all ended in tears. [Montage. SEVERAL WOMEN are yelling at FRED, throwing things, etc] SAMANTHA: [back in restaurant] Your friend Stanford told Charlotte and me we should read Sentimental Education. He was right. It's just uncanny. Flaubert is a bit of an asshole, but he sure spills the beans on how men think when they cheat. It helped. [putting an arm around CHARLOTTE] And somehow, Charlotte and I ended up friends. Sorry babe. [She drains her glass. CHARLOTTE drains hers and hugs her back. There are tears in her eyes.] CARRIE: [voiceover] I swear, I'd become a lesbian if I didn't like cock so much. And I wish I'd read Flaubert earlier. [Theme music, credits]

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    A "sentimental education" means your first love, and if Frédéric’s not careful he isn’t going to learn shit from it. He’s an aimless, pointless little man, slowly failing to do anything whatsoever with his life. He’s in love with his friend’s wife, and you sortof wish they'd bang just so we'd all have something to watch. “The story or the plot of a novel is quite indifferent to me,” though, Flaubert said. He wanted real life! He’s the champion of realism, the late 1800s movement away from moral A "sentimental education" means your first love, and if Frédéric’s not careful he isn’t going to learn shit from it. He’s an aimless, pointless little man, slowly failing to do anything whatsoever with his life. He’s in love with his friend’s wife, and you sortof wish they'd bang just so we'd all have something to watch. “The story or the plot of a novel is quite indifferent to me,” though, Flaubert said. He wanted real life! He’s the champion of realism, the late 1800s movement away from moral lessons and towards the real world. It’s brilliant in Madame Bovary, his first novel. By the time he finished Sentimental Education 12 years later in 1862 he seems to have remembered something crucial about the real world: its plot is a fucking mess. Frédéric hems and haws about Madame Arnoux, while having affairs with a trio of other women: a courtesan, the girl next door, a different friend’s wife. They have varying levels of intensity and consummation, from one to….maybe six? Frédéric doesn’t go all the way to ten. Will he get anything going with Madame Arnoux? Certainly not if he’s the one who has to do it. He can’t even get a job. You hear “merciless” about Flaubert a lot, and I appreciate the mercilessness of this picture. There are a lot of dudes like Frédéric in the world, these Cabbage Patch AirPod holders, and Flaubert’s not going to let any of them get away with it. But this is a book Henry James thought was boring. Called it “a curiosity for a literary museum.” Let that sink in for a minute, right? Henry James! If you're boring Henry James, you have a real problem. I couldn’t keep any of the male characters straight. The character arc is more like dropped spaghetti. And when Flaubert decided to write about the real world, he meant the real world, like not just what actually happens but what actually happened, and that means you’re getting the intricate details of the Insurrection of June 1848, which isn’t even France’s best revolution. This isn’t France’s best novel about idle rich idiots fucking each other’s spouses, either. That’s Dangerous Liaisons by a mile. It has its moments, but mostly it feels as aimless as Frédéric. As aimless as real life, even, and if I wanted that I wouldn’t be reading a book, would I?

  6. 5 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

    An exhausting thrill-ride through the zany world of womanising socialite Frédéric, or—for the first 300 pages, at least—wannabe womanising socialite Frédéric. Because Frédéric can’t make it happen with his mate Arnoux’s missus, nor his mate Arnoux’s mistress, this frustration is the bane of his existence as he falls in and out of money, society and love. Against the backdrop of the 1848 Paris uprising this novel heaves with ornate descriptive grandeur, political commentary and violence, a An exhausting thrill-ride through the zany world of womanising socialite Frédéric, or—for the first 300 pages, at least—wannabe womanising socialite Frédéric. Because Frédéric can’t make it happen with his mate Arnoux’s missus, nor his mate Arnoux’s mistress, this frustration is the bane of his existence as he falls in and out of money, society and love. Against the backdrop of the 1848 Paris uprising this novel heaves with ornate descriptive grandeur, political commentary and violence, a frenetic comic energy, and more love triangles than the HMS Hefner in Bermuda. A classic that delights, frustrates, amuses and teases in equal measure—what more could you ask for? Sex? Well, there’s no sex. You have sex on the brain, you do. Take a cold shower.

  7. 5 out of 5

    MihaElla

    Education is not a pleasant thing for the one who is subject to it. What does education mean? Education means, simply speaking, taming, breaking, creating certain reflexes, correcting. However, to correct it is to break something and that is always painful at first. Of course after that it is fine, but at first it is not pleasant at all. If we go to school to be educated, it is because we have nowhere to go. Because our reflexes are crude, raw, virgin, because we can more easily change the nature Education is not a pleasant thing for the one who is subject to it. What does education mean? Education means, simply speaking, taming, breaking, creating certain reflexes, correcting. However, to correct it is to break something and that is always painful at first. Of course after that it is fine, but at first it is not pleasant at all. If we go to school to be educated, it is because we have nowhere to go. Because our reflexes are crude, raw, virgin, because we can more easily change the nature of our passions. But what about the grown-up man? A certain illusion is born in the mature man: I am as good as I am, I need nothing more. I'm coping with the way I am. This illusion is not at all unnatural and not at all condemnable. It is difficult to reconcile with the idea that you are unsuccessful, that you have stitches, that you are vicious, that you are tied to the senses, that your ideas are just prejudices and your feelings are confused and mediocre. It is difficult to accept because it is proper for man to believe in himself, without self-confidence he cannot have the feeling of fullness and freedom. For man to doubt himself, his own experience must restrain him. For example, he should believe himself in being unbearable to women and women, in dealing with him, to show him that he is unbearable, but not who knows what. He must believe himself intelligent, and in a determined circumstance to prove to him the opposite. It seems indisputable that in most cases things happen in this way, with the exceptions for which the educational precepts are not sufficient. Literature is made for the vast majority of people and has an educational purpose. So, dear friend of my heart, I will want to reread your book someday.. << ...I wanted to reread it (*ie, George Sand), my daughter-in-law has read it too, and some of my young people, all readers in earnest and of the first rank and not stupid at all (*thank you, George Sand!). We are all of the same opinion, that it is a beautiful book, equal in strength to the best ones of Balzac and truer, that is to say more faithful to the truth from one end to the other. One needs the great art, the exquisite form and the severity of your work to do without flowers of fancy. However, you throw poetry with a full hand on your picture, whether your characters understand it or not. (Rosanette at Fontainebleau does not know on what grass she walks and nevertheless she is poetic.) All that issues from a master's hand, and your place is well won for always. Live then as calmly as possible in order to last a long time and to produce a great deal. I have seen two short articles which did not seem to me to rebel against your success; but I hardly know what is going on, politics seems to me to absorb everything. Keep me posted. If they did not do justice to you I should be angry and should say what I think. It is my right.>> ### Dear good master, Your old troubadour (ie, Gustave Flaubert) is vehemently slandered by the papers. Read the Constitutionnel of last Monday, the Gaulois of this morning, it is blunt and plain. They call me IDIOTC and COMMON. Barbey d'Aurevilly's article (Constitutionnel) is a model of this character, and the good Sarcey's, although less violent, is in no way behind it. These gentlemen object in the name of MORALITY and the IDEAL! I have also been annihilated in le Figaro and in Paris, by Cesana and Duranty. I most profoundly don't care a fig! but that does not make me any the less astonished by so much hatred and bad faith. La Tribune, le Pays and l'Opinion nationale on the other hand have highly praised me... As for the friends, the persons who received a copy adorned by my hand, they have been afraid of compromising themselves and have talked me of other things. The BRAVE are FEW. The book is selling very well nevertheless, in spite of politics, and Levy appears satisfied. I know that the bourgeois of Rouen are furious with me "because of pere Roque and the cancan at the Tuileries." They think that one ought to prevent the publication of books like that (textual), that I lend a hand to the Reds, that I am capable of inflaming revolutionary passions, etc., etc. In short, I have received very few laurels, up to now, and no rose leaf hurts me. All the papers cite as a proof of my depravity, the episode of the Turkish woman, which they misrepresent, naturally; and Sarcey compares me to Marquis de Sade, whom he comfesses he has not read! All that does not upset me at all. But I WONDER what use there is in printing my book? >> ### As always, George Sand is the master of words and has the last of it: << I think that your school is not concerned with the substance, and that it dwells too much on the surface. By virtue of seeking the form, it makes the substance too cheap! it addresses itself to the men of letters. But there are no men of letters, properly speaking. Before everything, one is a man. One wants to find man at the basis of every story and every deed. That was the defect of l'Education sentimentale, about which I have so often reflected since, asking myself why there was so general a dislike of a work that was so well done and so solid. This defect was the absence of ACTION of the characters on themselves. They submitted to the event and never mastered it. Well, I think that the chief interest in a story is what you did not want to do. If I were you, I would try the opposite; you are feeding on Shakespeare just now, and you are doing well! He is the author who puts men at grips with events; observe that by them, whether for good or for ill, the event is always conquered. In his works, it is crushed underfoot. L'Education sentimentale has been a misunderstood book, as I have told you repeatedly, but you have not listened to me. There should have been a short preface, or, at a good opportunity, an expression of blame, even if only a happy epithet to condemn the evil, to characterize the defect, to signalize the effort. All the characters in that book are feeble and come to nothing, except those with bad instincts; that is what you are reproached with, because people did not understand that you wanted precisely to depict a deplorable state of society that encourages these bad instincts and ruins noble efforts; when people do not understand us it is always our fault. What the reader wants, first of all, is to penetrate into our thought, and that is what you deny him, arrogantly. He thinks that you scorn him and that you want to ridicule him. For my part, I understood you, for I knew you. If anyone had brought me your book without its being signed, I should have thought it beautiful, but strange, and I should have asked myself if you were immoral, skeptical, indifferent or heart-broken. You say that it ought to be like that, and that M. Flaubert will violate the rules of good taste if he shows his thought and the aim of his literary enterprise. It is false in the highest degree. When M. Flaubert writes well and seriously, one attaches oneself to his personality. One wants to sink or swim with him. If he leaves you in doubt, you lose interest in his work, you neglect it, or you give it up. I have already combated your favorite heresy, which is that one writes for twenty intelligent people and does not care a fig for the rest. It is not true, since the lack of success irritates you and troubles you. Besides, there have not been twenty critics favorable to this book which was so well written and so important. So one must not write for twenty persons any more than for three, or for a hundred thousand. One must write for all those who have a thirst to read and who can profit by good reading. Then one must go straight to the most elevated morality within oneself, and not make a mystery of the moral and profitable meaning of one's book. People found that with Madame Bovary. If one part of the public cried scandal, the healthiest and the broadest part saw in it a severe and striking lesson given to a woman without conscience and without faith, to vanity, to ambition, to irrationality. They pitied her; art required that, but the lesson was clear, and it would have been more so, it would have been so for everybody, if you had wished it, if you had shown more clearly the opinion that you had, and that the public ought to have had, about the heroine, her husband, and her lovers. That desire to depict things as they are, the adventures of life as they present themselves to the eye, is not well thought out, in my opinion. Depict inert things as a realist, as a poet, it's all the same to me, but, when one touches on the emotions of the human heart, it is another thing. You cannot abstract yourself from this contemplation; for man, that is yourself, and men, that is the reader. Whatever you do, your tale is a conversation between you and the reader. If you show him the evil coldly, without ever showing him the good he is angry. He wonders if it is he that is bad, or if it is you. You work, however, to rouse him and to interest him; you will never succeed if you are not roused yourself, or if you hide it so well that he thinks you indifferent. He is right: supreme impartiality is an anti-human thing, and a novel ought to be human above everything. If it is not, the public is not pleased in its being well written, well composed and conscientious in every detail. The essential quality is not there: interest. The reader breaks away likewise from a book where all the characters are good without distinctions and without weaknesses; he sees clearly that that is not human either. I believe that art, this special art of narration, is only worth while through the opposition of characters; but, in their struggle, I prefer to see the right prevail. Let events overwhelm the honest men, I agree to that, but let him not be soiled or belittled by them, and let him go to the stake feeling that he is happier than his executioners. You must have success after that bad luck which has troubled you deeply. I tell you wherein lie the certain conditions for your success. Keep your cult for form; but pay more attention to the substance. Do not take true virtue for a commonplace in literature. Give it its representative, make honest and strong men pass among the fools and the imbeciles that you love to ridicule. Show what is solid at the bottom of these intellectual abortions; in short, abandon the convention of the realist and return to the time reality, which is a mingling of the beautiful and the ugly, the dull and the brilliant, but in which the desire of good finds its place and its occupation all the same. >>

  8. 4 out of 5

    Luís C.

    The real interest of this classic is in its writing, sought after, stylized, beautiful. It is true that in the face of such prose the story of a long list of mediocre characters, misguided petty bourgeois or decadent aristocrats is of little importance. Moreover, she remains largely in the embryonic state, not avoiding the lengths caused by the endless procrastination of the hero, madly in love with a married and faithful woman. This novel is considered to be an autobiography of Flaubert, it is The real interest of this classic is in its writing, sought after, stylized, beautiful. It is true that in the face of such prose the story of a long list of mediocre characters, misguided petty bourgeois or decadent aristocrats is of little importance. Moreover, she remains largely in the embryonic state, not avoiding the lengths caused by the endless procrastination of the hero, madly in love with a married and faithful woman. This novel is considered to be an autobiography of Flaubert, it is also proof that genius can do a lot with not much ... capital.

  9. 4 out of 5

    notgettingenough

    Finished. What an achievement. Writing it, not reading it. I marvel that he has written a book with no character for which one could have a shred of sympathy and yet somehow we sit there caring what happens. I mean, really caring, reading through breakfast caring. I kept thinking of The Great Gatsby when Nick says to Jay "They're a rotten crowd...You're worth the whole damn bunch put together." and isn't that what makes the book work, that there is somebody worthy of our caring. But here there Finished. What an achievement. Writing it, not reading it. I marvel that he has written a book with no character for which one could have a shred of sympathy and yet somehow we sit there caring what happens. I mean, really caring, reading through breakfast caring. I kept thinking of The Great Gatsby when Nick says to Jay "They're a rotten crowd...You're worth the whole damn bunch put together." and isn't that what makes the book work, that there is somebody worthy of our caring. But here there isn't one character to redeem the story and yet, even so, even though they are rotten without exception, still Flaubert gets you to care. Amazing. And then again, I marvel that the book is a complete shambles - The rest is here..... http://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpres...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Geoff

    *this book deserves anywhere between 4.2 and 4.7 stars “Funny, how the things you have the hardest time parting with are the things you need the least.” (Bob Dylan) With every work I read or reread by Flaubert, I am all the more convinced that he was the master craftsman, that he was master of attention to the tiny stuff, the small details that are layered brick by brick (word by word), the master of attention to even the mortar between the bricks, and master of raising the whole damn *this book deserves anywhere between 4.2 and 4.7 stars “Funny, how the things you have the hardest time parting with are the things you need the least.” (Bob Dylan) With every work I read or reread by Flaubert, I am all the more convinced that he was the master craftsman, that he was master of attention to the tiny stuff, the small details that are layered brick by brick (word by word), the master of attention to even the mortar between the bricks, and master of raising the whole damn superstructure. The buildings he makes out of words hold the world, and I want to call him King of the Paragraph, because his seem so measured, so precise, so carefully wrought. I’ve heard complaints that his detailing of minutiae can become tedious, but to me that is evidence of the eye fully open, the mind ticking at a heightened rate, the physicality of the world irresistibly impressing itself on his realism. His emotional sketches are just as profound and rich as his inventories of space; his sketches of those characters void of human emotion are equally as profound. Flaubert is almost that Joycean image of the author pairing his nails, detached, his handiwork submerged in refinement. Almost. Because above all Flaubert is a satirist. So his presence is felt, as a ripple on the surface of the water is evidence of a rampart crumbling on the ocean floor. I stole that from Frank O’Hara. But kind of like the experience of reading Nabokov, Flaubert the artist is what is on full display here, and in Sentimental Education, as I said when I was writing about Bouvard and Pecuchet, he is perched behind his curtain like Oz or comfortably atop Mount Olympus like the prankster gods of old. He animates his characters to illustrate human folly above all else- who are we to sympathize with in Madame Bovary? who do we not find ridiculous in B & P? who deserves our alliance in Sentimental Education? - but the almost indefinable thing about Flaubert is that amid his mockery he comes off as touching. Because you get the impression that this cranky god really loves his little pets, and wishes them the best- although he knows with all his prescience what the grim best is for us hopeless little mortals playing our dangerous games. It’s a pretty grim book. Those two eternal opiates- sex and power- are pretty much the sole motivation behind everyone in Frédéric and Deslauriers’ circle. Allegiances and philosophies are as mutable as clothing or the shifting light in Paris- everything is exhausted in the pursuit of one of those two endless ends. Flaubert claimed his intent was to write “the moral history of the men of my generation” and if so it’s a bleak assessment. The great upheavals that define 19th century France take place as the background of this narrative (the Revolution of 1848 acting as a center point) but Frédéric is too busy trying to get a piece of ass to really notice. The offstage massacres and thunder of guns in far off arrondisements are purposefully distanced- the “moral history” Flaubert is trying to paint is apparently mass solipsism. The revolutionaries become oppressors when it suits them, the super-rich elite are suddenly populists and social advocates when the unrest in the streets threatens the order of things, the artists sell out, brave men are proven cowards, and all seem to worship some vague form of authority, whether it be social, political, or psychological. Frédéric’s obsessive, life-long pursuit of the phantom-like image of Madame Arnoux can be extrapolated into a rather ripe comment on all of those masses surging about in the streets of mid-19th century Paris- they too were chasing ghosts- the ghosts of the Revolution, Royalism, Socialism, Democracy- all those specters that never seem content to lie in their graves; all those straw men people are constantly trying to revive in the name of some sort of never-achieved utopia. See the Dylan quote above. But the potential bad taste in the mouth that this kind of judgement on humanity could leave, the awfulness, duplicity, shallowness, stupidity, manipulation, and gold-digging of the people in Sentimental Education, is offset by Flaubert’s lovely, lovely prose, his impressionistic drawing of scenes, his adoration of Paris as an entity of indifferent light and beauty; his Paris, the place where history unfolds under the stoicism of stone arcades, where passions are conceived and destroyed, where markets are set up in the mornings and dismantled in the evenings and alluring smells emanate from restaurants, where gossip flows through the gutters like sewage, and alleys are sunk in aqueous light and the sky is always pale or a vaulted blue or gray and about to rain and the amber evening is refracted through clouds, making all of our selfish human endeavors all the more charming, all the more timeless and endearing; and the Seine is reflecting the gaslights in wavering strands as a tortured lover pines on the Pont Neuf at midnight, and hooves percuss and echo from the cobblestones, and Montmarte is filthy and eternal, and the cafes are greasy and alive with chatter and opaque with purple smoke and the men are in their cravats and top-hats and the women are rouged and bosomy and flush and comely. Flaubert cannot help but adore Paris, despite himself. That mythical stage, that constant setting for so much of the great art that the Western world has produced. Sentimental Education succeeds in coming off like an epic of place, of space and lifetimes, a panoptic portrait of interesting times told in often banal scenes and acts; and the technique, skill, or what have you, of the sardonic, darkly hilarious master Flaubert elevates the book beyond some severe excoriation of the human condition- it makes it a vital work of art, resonant now and probably for all time.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    I have read half. I am dumping this. I cannot bear another minute of it. A classic not worthy of its title nor its fame. A book of historical fiction, it draws French society at the time of the 1848 French Revolution. Adulterous love affairs abound, yet they are drawn without a hint of passion! This is a book that does not even come close to fulfilling what the title implies. The characters are flighty, self-important and totally uninteresting. They are cardboard figures drawn without depth. The I have read half. I am dumping this. I cannot bear another minute of it. A classic not worthy of its title nor its fame. A book of historical fiction, it draws French society at the time of the 1848 French Revolution. Adulterous love affairs abound, yet they are drawn without a hint of passion! This is a book that does not even come close to fulfilling what the title implies. The characters are flighty, self-important and totally uninteresting. They are cardboard figures drawn without depth. The plot is no better. One mistress is exchanged for another. One friend is exchanged for another. A promise is given, but not kept. One employment is exchanged for another or preferably, if one can pull it off, one should not be employed at all. An inheritance is handy. The writing is wordy, over descriptive, detailing only that not interesting. The fabric of clothing, the wallpaper, floor coverings and mantelpiece ornaments. The mundane objects in a room. Politics of the time is made boring. The physical attributes of a person may be described but their personalities are shallow and without substance. Without comparing the French text to the English, it is impossible to determine if the translation is at fault. I can state that the prose does not flow properly; in many instances words are not used as they should be. It is at times unclear whom a pronoun refers to and prepositions are incorrectly chosen. First, I listened to this narrated by Michael Maloney. The French names for places and people were mumbled. It was impossible to follow. The words were sung rather than spoken, as poetry to be recited rather than prose read. I switched to the narrator Jonathan Fried; he is definitely better. The names became decipherable. Fried’s narration I have given three stars. It is classics such as this that make people dislike classics. I have given Gustave Flaubert 's Madame Bovary three stars. I will not be reading more by this author.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Perry

    While Crimes of Passion are All the Fashion, A Gentleman's Picturesque Ideations of Adulterous Procreation Frederic Moreau comes of age in 1840s Paris. Given to flowery fancies of romance, he falls "in love" with Madame Arnoux, a lady at least a decade his senior, and becomes frustrated with the failed revolution of 1848, a Parisian fiasco. Flaubert said he set out to write a "moral history of the men of [his] generation...the history of their feelings... a book about love, about passion... While Crimes of Passion are All the Fashion, A Gentleman's Picturesque Ideations of Adulterous Procreation Frederic Moreau comes of age in 1840s Paris. Given to flowery fancies of romance, he falls "in love" with Madame Arnoux, a lady at least a decade his senior, and becomes frustrated with the failed revolution of 1848, a Parisian fiasco. Flaubert said he set out to write a "moral history of the men of [his] generation...the history of their feelings... a book about love, about passion... inactive." I enjoyed the book not so much for the love on verge of coital, a story line that lost its steam about halfway through the novel, but for its lampooning of a decadent, egocentric French society filled with superficial characters given to whimsy, such as the banker Dambreuse, "a man so habituated to corruption that he would happily pay for the pleasure of selling himself." C. Hitchens, “The Rat That Roared,” Wall Street Journal, 2/06/03. I found Madame Bovary's abbreviated life much more compelling and revelatory than Monsieur Moreau's romantic adventures in pursuit of Madame Arnoux.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dolors

    An educational reading indeed, either spiritually or rationally speaking. The novel talks about the life of a young man, Frederic, during the French Revolution and the founding of the French Empire in 1848. It is said that Frederic is in fact Flaubert himself telling about some real events in his life and of course about his platonic love for an older woman, in the book, called Mme Arnoux. We are able to follow, with a somehow ironic and pessimistic tone, a different set of characters who live An educational reading indeed, either spiritually or rationally speaking. The novel talks about the life of a young man, Frederic, during the French Revolution and the founding of the French Empire in 1848. It is said that Frederic is in fact Flaubert himself telling about some real events in his life and of course about his platonic love for an older woman, in the book, called Mme Arnoux. We are able to follow, with a somehow ironic and pessimistic tone, a different set of characters who live the important changes of the era, from the Republican idealist Sénecal to the well off banker Mr. Dambruese, passing several courtesans and artists on the way. The book combines highly advanced politics with almost philosophical wanderings such as existence and death , passion and love, morality and justice... Each character represents an icon, Mme Arnoux, unattainable perfection; Rosannette, troubled and used courtesan; Deslauries, ambitious and envious middle class lawyer; all of them combine into a well constructed scenery which engulfs you into the story, even if you don't want to. The book left me wondering if a man is to be judged by the result of his actions or by his good intentions. The answer might not be as easy as it seems after you've read Frederic's story. A book that shouldn't be missed by those who appreciate a smart and eloquent reading. I think this work outperforms Flaubert's "Madame Bovary".

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Jackson

    THIS BOOK. Some of the most consistently astonishing prose I've read - whether decadent all-night parties, violent street battles, or intimate scenes of friendship and love. Exquisite construction + moments of gut-punch emotion. A vibrant and still-modern book about illusions, youth, politics, failure. The artistic equivalent of a $200,000 bottle of wine. Surely one of the greatest novels ever written.

  15. 4 out of 5

    David Lentz

    The French word for sentiment is "sentiment" (san-tee-mon). So Flaubert is concerned essentially about what a young French man, presumably him, has learned about love and lust, affection and disaffection, friendship and betrayal, loyalty and disloyalty, admiration and disdain, and other sentiments. He writes precisely within the complex pixilist history of a turbulent political era for France as new liberal rights emerge versus the power of kings and their conservative bedfellows. There is blood The French word for sentiment is "sentiment" (san-tee-mon). So Flaubert is concerned essentially about what a young French man, presumably him, has learned about love and lust, affection and disaffection, friendship and betrayal, loyalty and disloyalty, admiration and disdain, and other sentiments. He writes precisely within the complex pixilist history of a turbulent political era for France as new liberal rights emerge versus the power of kings and their conservative bedfellows. There is blood in the streets of Paris and against this chaotic backdrop we find a macro-view of the turbulent Paris embedded with Flaubert's micro-view of his protagonist, Frederic Moreau. He is an intellectual who has made a complete hash of his love life as he falls into virtually every emotional trap available to a member of his gender. He seeks love affairs with beautiful, married women who admire but are unavailable to him. He seeks wealth through dangerous liaisons with influential, politically connected women who play him. He seeks the company of a woman of the streets who must be with other men in order to make her living. He is a negligent and unwilling father to a child. Despite his affluence and intellect, in matters of love Moreau is completely inept. He repeatedly surrenders to his emotions and loses control of his life. He conducts his personal life so idiotically that I found it difficult to respect Moreau: he is very nearly a complete idiot, in the literal sense of Dostoevsky, who suffers for the failures of his personal life and should. I sense that Flaubert wanted us to like Moreau and perhaps even view him heroically. Neither happened for me in my reading of this great literary masterwork. I do understand that Flaubert wants Moreau to seem all-too-human and find it credible that any man could be susceptible to the sentiments of Moreau. I also find credible that men make mistakes by giving all to the heart as do women. Certainly, as Flaubert reminds us in the title of his literary novel, the lessons of love are instructive despite their pain and etch upon our souls the scars of their teaching. We love and learn, don't we, when feeling drives us excessively to act without regard, foresight or respect for unintended consequences. Flaubert immerses this tale in the politics of his day and if you understand them, all the better. If you don't, then Flaubert wants to school you in them. On a grander scale the common sentiments of one man can be seen to be reflected in the evolution of a nation and its political life for better or worse. How to navigate as only one human within the mass of humanity of one's own civilization also leads Moreau into grand dilemmas that he can't win and traps from which he cannot entirely extricate himself. Again, this is the human condition and there is no better place to experience and observe it than in Paris in the mid-19th century. His view is epic in scope much like Balzac's "Human Comedy" another true literary masterpiece that I can't recommend highly enough. I respect Flaubert and have no doubt that he personally experienced the full range of human sentiment leading to the education reported so eloquently in this literary novel. I just didn't like Moreau although I understand him well. Perhaps, Moreau is like us in so many ways that some of us are incapable of admitting to admiring him. Perhaps, he is simply an anti-hero as Moreau is the penultimate Adam-afer-the-Fall. He is well schooled in the dangerous risks of sentiment but he just can't help himself and he creates so much total chaos in his life every time he succumbs to sentiment. Flaubert in the tone of the French seems so blase about his many colossal moral lapses. I understand Moreau only too well. I see much of myself in him and perhaps so will you. But if you think you can spare yourself by educating yourself in the painful lessons of sentiment of Frederic Moreau, you will be seriously challenged, if you lead a full life, to avoid sentiment as a ruling passion that guides you. If you can see something of yourself from your past in him, so much the better. At a minimum consider yourself well warned by Flaubert: our sentiments drive us to the brink of madness and may well push us over it. You may misunderstand your own sentiment to believe you can fully control it as, despite your best efforts to learn from it, sentiment defines both your character and your destiny. Read this great book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    Me: I don't like Flaubert. The Chorus: What?!? What Else? Do you park in handicapped spaces? Do you not wash your hands after using the rest room? Do you chew with your mouth full? Snap your chewing gum? Do you refuse to do the Wave at sporting events? Do you ride in the passing lane even when you're not passing? Did you seriously not watch even a minute of the Kavanaugh Senate hearing? Do you laugh out loud at The Onion? Do you think it's possible the Second Amendment may be read too broadly by Me: I don't like Flaubert. The Chorus: What?!? What Else? Do you park in handicapped spaces? Do you not wash your hands after using the rest room? Do you chew with your mouth full? Snap your chewing gum? Do you refuse to do the Wave at sporting events? Do you ride in the passing lane even when you're not passing? Did you seriously not watch even a minute of the Kavanaugh Senate hearing? Do you laugh out loud at The Onion? Do you think it's possible the Second Amendment may be read too broadly by some? Do you stop watching Sports Center during the NBA season? Have you ever had more than 12 items in your basket in an express check-out line? DID YOU, SIR, VOTE FOR DONALD TRUMP??? Me: I just don't like Flaubert.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Look, its Flaubert. I don't have any fault to find with this writing. But I've still got 100 pages to go and its been weeks and I have no intention of finishing this. I get these characters- way waaay too much. I want to claw my eyes out rather than spend any more time with them though. So probably too good a job, M. Flaubert. But I'd prefer to spend time with Emma so many times over. Even at her most whiny. Review to come.

  18. 4 out of 5

    ·Karen·

    Angry Young Men of the July Monarchy There's Louis-Philippe, King of the French rather than of France, trying hard to look safely bourgeois rather than pompously regal. Wikipedia informs me to my delighted astonishment that he survived no less than SEVEN assassination attempts (you'd think he'd have got the message) including one that slithers into the realm of absurdity: Giuseppe Mario Fieschi built a device that consisted of 25 gun barrels fixed to a wooden frame, all of which could be fired Angry Young Men of the July Monarchy There's Louis-Philippe, King of the French rather than of France, trying hard to look safely bourgeois rather than pompously regal. Wikipedia informs me to my delighted astonishment that he survived no less than SEVEN assassination attempts (you'd think he'd have got the message) including one that slithers into the realm of absurdity: Giuseppe Mario Fieschi built a device that consisted of 25 gun barrels fixed to a wooden frame, all of which could be fired at once. A machine infernale indeed, and deadly too. When Fieschi fired a volley during the king's review of the National Guard on July 28th 1835, eighteen people were killed and a further twenty two injured, Fieschi himself suffering severe injury when several of the gun barrels exploded. One bullet slightly grazed Louis-Philippe's forehead. Come to think of it, maybe that's the message that Louis-Philippe took away from failed attempts: that here was some kind of providential power protecting him. He was certainly let us say a little complacent. In face of mounting opposition in January and February 1848 by those groups of society that were disappointed in his intransigence on the questions of economic reform and a more extensive suffrage, Louis-Philippe claimed that Parisians would never start a revolution in the winter. Flaubert's novel opens in 1840 and takes us through to the unrest and upheaval that culminated in the February Revolution of 1848 and beyond, ending with a coda in 1867. Frédéric, the hero of this tale, is suitably placed in Paris, surrounded by men of action, enjoys a small private income due to the generosity of a childless uncle which would allow him to strive for public office without the necessity of compromise in order to earn a living, seems to have some sympathy for the concerns of those outside of his small social circle, is young and hot-blooded and thus all in all seems perfectly placed to be right in the thick of things. That's what you might expect but for the title of course, for this is not his political education, this is the education of the heart. Frédéric longs for the Unattainable Madame Arnoux. At the very moment when he begins to believe that his impossible dream might be fulfilled those high hopes are dashed. He descends into a kind of moral turpitude that sees him torn between a loveless marriage to a young naive ingénue, a relationship with a courtesan on whom he fathers a child, and an equally loveless marriage to a somewhat older but vastly rich widow. (view spoiler)[Turns out she's not quite as rich as either of them believed. (hide spoiler)] He ends up losing them all from his life, comfortably complacent in front of the fire with his excellent friend Deslauriers, accepting that their time has passed, their ambitions frustrated, their dreams of the future bankrupted. That cycle of hope and strong desire turning into bankrupt moral turpitude: maybe it is political too.

  19. 5 out of 5

    F.R.

    Long time friends will know I have a great love of the English novel of the nineteenth century, but, heavens, it’s a ponderous beast when compared to this work by Flaubert. Written in 1869 this feels a far more modern novel , with a rapid pace which covers events in two chapters that it takes most contemporaneous novels a volume to deal with. Indeed it would be hard to imagine such a swift style ever use in 1800s Britain, if anything it feels more appropriate to a novel about 1960’s Carnaby Long time friends will know I have a great love of the English novel of the nineteenth century, but, heavens, it’s a ponderous beast when compared to this work by Flaubert. Written in 1869 this feels a far more modern novel , with a rapid pace which covers events in two chapters that it takes most contemporaneous novels a volume to deal with. Indeed it would be hard to imagine such a swift style ever use in 1800s Britain, if anything it feels more appropriate to a novel about 1960’s Carnaby Street. The morality too is much different to straight-laced Victoriana, with the lead character spending most of the book in love with a married woman and even scheming on how best to get her into bed. This is before he actually moves in with the woman of easy virtue. Frederic Moreau is the young antihero: a lazy, feckless, amoral and envious sort, who we follow through this tumultuous period of French history. (Flaubert is superb at weaving his characters into real events, although if – like me – you don’t have expert knowledge of this era then an edition with good notes is essential). Thinking of the 1960s may actually be a good window for the modern reader to start reading this book, there is the social mobility, the tumultuous times, the ambitious young men and the sex (if not the drugs and rock’n’roll). Covering a number of years Flaubert follows his character as he succeeds and then fails many times over until the reader, whilst still probably not liking him, does understand him and the world he lives in.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle Dubois

    Oh, I who adore Flaubert! how is it that I haven’t liked The Sentimental Education? We wish so much we loved everything that comes from the ones we love, do we? The Sentimental Education is the journey of a young man — Frederic, the man of all weaknesses — and other men, who dreams of great love and life, but who deliberately spoils himself in sordid loves. Indeed, the woman he loves is married and their love is impossible. Without living like a monk, the young man, whom Flaubert describes as Oh, I who adore Flaubert! how is it that I haven’t liked The Sentimental Education? We wish so much we loved everything that comes from the ones we love, do we? The Sentimental Education is the journey of a young man — Frederic, the man of all weaknesses — and other men, who dreams of great love and life, but who deliberately spoils himself in sordid loves. Indeed, the woman he loves is married and their love is impossible. Without living like a monk, the young man, whom Flaubert describes as beautiful, and rather intelligent, could, even after going astray, even after making many errors, he could have done something good in his life but ... read the book! Ok, maybe you won’t, so here’s what I thought of it: First, the main character is a man, and right now, I’m a bit fed up with stories by men and on men. This said, him and his friends — men — were totally indifferent to me, because … well… why? Because even if the writing is perfect, the story excellent, the characters are who they are, but here’s what happens: the novel is cold; and this is because Flaubert absolutely didn’t want the reader to guess what he, the author, thought or felt about the characters he imagined. So the result is that me, reader, felt only indifference for the characters. If you want to learn about the 1848 French Revolution, the troubled times up to the coup d'état of 1851, this novel is for you; historically, it’s very instructive, read it! If you’re fed up with all those men doing war for what the call good reasons, men who are so naïve that they think that a Republic can make the world happy; men so rogues, wily, that they want to rule their country not for the happiness of its inhabitants, but for their own interest; men with so little conscience, that they tell their love to a woman and sleep with another one, out of interest; if you’re fed up with this ascertainment, don’t read it! Finally, the characters I was most attached to, were the women; Flaubert, who’s always been curious about women’s secret lives, describes here four women totally different from each other, complex, just trying to deal with this men’s world and the role they’re told by them to play. So if you wish to read about 19th women characters, read it! If you are not mentally strong enough to bear Flaubert's disillusionment about Men and pessimism, don’t read it! If you’re an admirer of Flaubert’s culture, intelligence, kindness, read it!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rick Slane

    This was one of Franz Kafka's favorite books. A young upper class adult learns about love in turbulent 1840's Paris. Like Warren Zevon sang after reading this "I need some sentimental hygiene."

  22. 4 out of 5

    David

    Pretty much the best thing ever. Not really Maybe. Yeah, it's 500 pages long and about a guy who wastes his life and is incredibly selfish and everyone else he knows is even worse ). And yeah, not much happens, especially in the first 200 pages or so. YET the book manages to be fucking intoxicating. The writing is precise, trenchant, etc, as expected, and perhaps because of this it is insanely simple to just get immersed in this world of 1840s Paris. (I know this is selling it on a pretty base Pretty much the best thing ever. Not really Maybe. Yeah, it's 500 pages long and about a guy who wastes his life and is incredibly selfish and everyone else he knows is even worse ). And yeah, not much happens, especially in the first 200 pages or so. YET the book manages to be fucking intoxicating. The writing is precise, trenchant, etc, as expected, and perhaps because of this it is insanely simple to just get immersed in this world of 1840s Paris. (I know this is selling it on a pretty base level, but if you're nostalgic at all for the Paris of narrow alleys by candlelight, when Montmarte was mines and farmland, I can't imagine a better read.) And there's the politics of the thing, which somehow seem relevant to me as a 21-year-old in America in 2011. One might draw parallels between the characters of the book who want to radicalize shit like their parents did before in the Revolution and the children of baby boomers, but the youthful striving for change only to be met with later disenchantment is archetypical, though here portrayed so closely that it never feels "archetypical" or "thematic," just like the shit that actually happened. The Intro to my Penguin mentions that this was Kafka's favorite, and I've been wrapping my head around why he, of all people, loved the thing and what he might have aped from it (besides perhaps when Frederic is referred to as "K."). One idea: the immersiveness, again, the sense that there are things about this world we don't know, that are mysterious and beautiful, managing to make the mysterious and beautiful out of material that is, in essence, banal and hopeless. And I was being a little harsh on Frederic before; he's not a complete shit (just mostly a shit). In dealing with the Frederic/Arnoux relationship, I think Flaubert actually painted the characters with just a touch of sympathy. Like 10% sympathy for 90% satire and suspicion. Which is about what most humans deserve.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    An amazing analysis of a man pursuing his passions but not strong enough to really attain any of them, and learning nothing about himself along the way. As capable of believing his own bare-faced lie about love or money at the end as at the beginning. Also a meticulous portrayal of 1840s France, with a broad swath of characters from all quarters of Paris: Bohemian, student, artisan, courtesan, diminished spinster, art trade, banker, political provocateur. Flaubert brilliantly shows how all An amazing analysis of a man pursuing his passions but not strong enough to really attain any of them, and learning nothing about himself along the way. As capable of believing his own bare-faced lie about love or money at the end as at the beginning. Also a meticulous portrayal of 1840s France, with a broad swath of characters from all quarters of Paris: Bohemian, student, artisan, courtesan, diminished spinster, art trade, banker, political provocateur. Flaubert brilliantly shows how all political players shifted their ground to save their skins and find a living as revolutions broke out, succeeded, and failed. And how they apparently believed their principles supported wildly changing positions from one change of government to the next. One also is amazed by the division of the classes and the great wealth behind dizzying feasts, couture, furnishings, carriages, mistresses, only 50 years after the Revolution. Frederick burns his way through one fortune after another, actually paying his way, while Arnoux shows how to sustain the lifestyle on loans and chicanery. Really a phenomenal achievement. Flaubert sustains our interest in Frederik despite his massive flaws, his duplicity, his foolishness, and selfishness. In part we feel a bit of pity for him as his ‘friends’ take advantage of him fime after time, and in part we recognize a certain amount of nobility in his love for Madame Arnoux. He is a knight errant in his devotion, just not as pure, and without a dragon to slay--instead he fritters away his life for lack of any goal other than this love for a married woman.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bob Koelle

    I read this based on Woody Allen's recommendation [http://www.rosswalker.co.uk/movie_sou...] in "Manhattan" when I was 17. Frederic, the protagonist, goes through the tumultuous years of early 19th century France in love with an older woman, Madame Arnoux, but never having more than a close friendship with her, while yearning for much more, and watching her go through one personal and financial disaster after another. Anyway, after years of separation, she visits him at the end of the book, and I read this based on Woody Allen's recommendation [http://www.rosswalker.co.uk/movie_sou...] in "Manhattan" when I was 17. Frederic, the protagonist, goes through the tumultuous years of early 19th century France in love with an older woman, Madame Arnoux, but never having more than a close friendship with her, while yearning for much more, and watching her go through one personal and financial disaster after another. Anyway, after years of separation, she visits him at the end of the book, and he goes down on one knee to avoid seeing her white hair and finally expresses his love for her. This passage on page 414 stopped me cold, and brought me to tears: "Your person, your slightest movements seemed to me to possess a superhuman importance in the world. My heart used to raise like the dust in your footsteps. The effect you had on me was that of a moonlit night in summer, when all is perfume, soft shadows, pale light, and infinite horizons. For me your name contained all the delights of flesh and spirit, and I repeated it again and again, trying to kiss it with my lips." It's a superb description of how a woman invades my thoughts and dreams, then and now. I felt destined to deliver that speech, or one like it, to someone close to me, and the idea of having to wait to declare love to someone years after the bloom has fallen broke my heart. At the time, being the nerdy loner, I had no idea that I would not always be so alone. Thankfully, it has not turned out so. I bookmarked that page, and 21 years later, that book is sitting right behind me in my office, still bookmarked. And it moves me today, because I still have the heart of a 17 year old.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jim Coughenour

    Flaubert was Kafka's favorite author, and A Sentimental Education his favorite novel. After rereading this book, I think I can understand why. Flaubert's "story of a young man" is the story of a rather witless protagonist and his almost indistinguishable set of friends and lovers, each immersed in her or his illusions, each almost equally stupid (in the phenomenological sense). There is indeed a "sentimental" romance at its heart, which is more or less a disappointment stretching from the first Flaubert was Kafka's favorite author, and A Sentimental Education his favorite novel. After rereading this book, I think I can understand why. Flaubert's "story of a young man" is the story of a rather witless protagonist and his almost indistinguishable set of friends and lovers, each immersed in her or his illusions, each almost equally stupid (in the phenomenological sense). There is indeed a "sentimental" romance at its heart, which is more or less a disappointment stretching from the first page to the last. There's no redemption; no meaning. I had to fight myself to finish this book. It wasn't until almost the last sentence of Part II that it captured me. By the end I was delighted with this tale in which nothing really happens, in which no one accomplishes anything – all captured in Flaubert's perfect prose. Here we are at the very end (spoiler alert):They'd both been failures, the one who'd dreamed of Love and the one who'd dreamed of Power. How had it come about? "Perhaps it was lack of perseverance?" said Frédéric. "For you maybe. For me it was the other way round, I was too rigid, I didn't take into account a hundred and one smaller things that are more crucial than all the rest. I was too logical and you were too sentimental." Then they blamed it on their bad luck, the circumstances, the times in which they'd been born.The future of such hapless characters is not, as I'd imagined, in Proust (for example) but in Kafka and Beckett.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Markus

    The Sentimental Education Gustave Flaubert (1821 – 1880) We are in Paris, from 1840 to 1868. During Flaubert's lifetime and therefore particularly realistic. This novel of ambitious and extensive proportions follows a young man’s education of life. He learns about illusions of lasting true love, rare reliable friendship, the vain value of wealth and fortune, the cruelty and horror of revolution and civil war. The author, of personal experience, develops the extremely complex and agitated political The Sentimental Education Gustave Flaubert (1821 – 1880) We are in Paris, from 1840 to 1868. During Flaubert's lifetime and therefore particularly realistic. This novel of ambitious and extensive proportions follows a young man’s education of life. He learns about illusions of lasting true love, rare reliable friendship, the vain value of wealth and fortune, the cruelty and horror of revolution and civil war. The author, of personal experience, develops the extremely complex and agitated political situation of the time. The quality of Flaubert’s style is one of the very best of French literature of the nineteenth century. Rich, detailed to the extreme, colorful, realistically convincing and elegant. The footnotes give the reader most interesting information on the ‘making of' this novel. Using Flaubert's own extensive preparatory notes, as well as other historical information on social life, politics, travel, trade, manufacturing, and general sightseeing in Paris and its suburbs. Including many restaurants, cafés, cabarets, race courses, theatres, in fashion at the time. It is not a novel of great intrigues and speedy action. The young hero Frederic, is rather a looser, as everything he hesitantly undertakes, lacks energy and decision, and ends with failure and deception. Hardly a person I could develop a sympathy for. However, it is a vibrant and colorful portrait of a Parisian society, active as ever with its deeply rooted, obsessive occupation, yet another revolution, and violent repression, at the early nineteenth century.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    This is a book about failure, plain and simple. And maybe this is what our lives end up being when it is all said and done, but I can't help but find my taste in fiction not that of realism genre. So why was this book just "okay" for me, well it has to do with the characters, all of which serve little to no purpose whatsoever, and none of them possess much in the aspect of redeeming value. This is probably what Flaubert and realism where all about, but the funny thing about this is how detached This is a book about failure, plain and simple. And maybe this is what our lives end up being when it is all said and done, but I can't help but find my taste in fiction not that of realism genre. So why was this book just "okay" for me, well it has to do with the characters, all of which serve little to no purpose whatsoever, and none of them possess much in the aspect of redeeming value. This is probably what Flaubert and realism where all about, but the funny thing about this is how detached and unmoved I felt from Fredric as he gallivanted around acting like a pathetic child after a woman that from the start never shows any interest in him. From a realistic point of view, I found all of the characters deplorable and dull. I actually found this book to be slightly existential in the theme of the destitution we all face when we realize that our anticipations are always more pure than what actually occurs but I imagine this is just my imagination kicking into high gear. Anyways, for the cynic, this book is fantastic and don't get me wrong, Flaubert has a talent for the written word (no qualms with his prose) but the story is driven more by process than by plot and this, in the end, made the books simply okay.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    This is one of the books one should read in autumn when the leaves are falling.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Eadweard

    I have been educated.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Widyanto Gunadi

    Being decidedly an all-time favorite book for Franz Kafka, the novel managed to blend the copious amount of interestingly exotic details of an era famous for its tempestuous political turmoil in the Western society, the French revolution era, and a realistic yet shockingly unconventional tale of devoted infatuation, between an aspiring law student aiming to be a prominent political figure in such difficult time, and an aristocratic mistress much older in age, whose marriage with her lifelong Being decidedly an all-time favorite book for Franz Kafka, the novel managed to blend the copious amount of interestingly exotic details of an era famous for its tempestuous political turmoil in the Western society, the French revolution era, and a realistic yet shockingly unconventional tale of devoted infatuation, between an aspiring law student aiming to be a prominent political figure in such difficult time, and an aristocratic mistress much older in age, whose marriage with her lifelong husband was on the edge of separation. Sentimental Education is satirical in nature which even led to it being oppressively misunderstood as an amoral novel and had once been banned in its own country. Gustave Flaubert's intention to create a story depicting the moral stance of the people of his time was a huge success, hence garnered the novel a cult classic status and an enduringly everlasting readership since it was first published back in 1869. Flaubert's fictional universe which he created in Sentimental Educational is very rich in rigorously detailed physical settings of glamorous places usually frequented by high-hat folks in French bourgeois epoch. There are high ceiling vast boudoirs decorated with lavish ornaments from foreign lands afar such as Chinese and Japanese porcelains, theater boxes packed and filled with exuberant and vivacious audiences as well as esthetic and lovesome verdant gardens, which was ordinarily ascertained outside luxuriant grand mansions owned by these highborn people. The most prevalent satire element that domineeringly permeates this parable is apparent with the author's obstinately pragmatic portrayal of a beguiling community of patrician public of France in the nineteenth century. Filling the atmosphere of this specific era is variegated events and happenings the likes of uncompromising backstabbings, poisonous gossips circulating among the female members of the society, and beaucoup extramarital romantic affairs, all of which amounted to miscellaneous tragic consequences and conclusions. It is not, by any means, a novel for the faint-hearted readers who may be accustomed to feeling good and hopeful endings as there will be riotous amounts of heartbreaks and sadness experienced by the characters in the book. Frederic Moreau, the main character of the novel, was not a heroic cast and far from what you can call an exemplary moral maverick. He was a formidable womanizer of the highest degree for, he loved at least three other female characters aside from Madame Arnoux, who he considered as his ultimate holy grail of love life, and which dolefully can never attain until the very end. At long last, Sentimental Education does achieve its sole purpose of being a satire novel to criticize the moralistic posture of the ranks of viscount and viscountess, ladies and gentlemen from Gustave Flaubert's years with his singular perfectionistic sense of observation, and bravura penmanship.

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