Lot n° 57
400000 - 500000
FLAUBERT Gustave (1821-1880).
autograph MANUSCRIT, November; 1 f. of title and 191 pages on 96 leaves in-fol. (ca. 32 x 20,5 cm), mounted on tabs, in a volume bound in brown morocco, boards framed with a set of gilt fillets and a grey morocco scroll, five-ribbed spine decorated with a gilt fillet, framing of the boards in the same way as the boards, grey morocco linings framed with brown morocco and a gilt fillet, brown moire endpapers, pebbled paper counters, filleted edges (René Aussourd).
Complete manuscript of this novelistic and partly autobiographical text, where the great writer already asserts himself, at twenty years old.
The writing of Novembre, from 1840 to October 1842, was undertaken after the writing of Mémoires d'un fou, of which it is the extension in the novelistic transposition of the autobiography. After the amorous adventure of the fifteen years, Flaubert stages the awakening of sexuality in the eighteen year old, just out of college, whose memories occupy the first pages.
"The subject is the loss of a young man's virginity with an ideal whore. There is a lot of Flaubert in the young man, despair, aspirations, melancholy, misanthropy, hatred of the masses," wrote the Goncourts in their Journal after Flaubert had read them "his first novel" (November 1, 1863).
During the writing of Novembre, Flaubert spoke of it to his former teacher Gourgaud-Dugazon as a "sentimental and amorous ratatouille [...] The action is null. I could not give you an analysis of it, since they are only psychological analyses and dissections" (January 1842). In spite of Flaubert's derision, one can only agree with Maurice Bardèche's judgment: "Novembre is certainly the most elaborate of Flaubert's youthful works.
The narrator begins by evoking, on an autumn evening which gives its title to the story, his memories of college, the illusions and aspirations of his youth until the most complete desiccation of his heart, in the cold tone of late autumn. "I like autumn, this sad season goes well with memories. When the trees have no more leaves, when the sky still retains at dusk the russet tint that gilds the withered grass, it is sweet to watch everything that once burned in you fade away." The trajectory of his soul follows this descending curve: "As much as I had had exaltations and radiations, as much I closed myself and rolled on myself. For a long time already I have dried up my heart, nothing new enters it anymore, it is empty like the tombs where the dead are rotten"
Then the narrator tells at length his discovery of love and sexuality through the meeting with Marie, a paradoxical character of prostitute who makes him know not only the flesh but love in its highest form, before suddenly disappearing. Flaubert is inspired here by his one-night stand with Eulalie Foucaud, the keeper of the Hotel Richelieu in Marseille in 1840, but also by his visits to the brothel. Marie also takes after Mme Schlesinger, the young Flaubert's platonic love in Trouville. After Marie's confession and disappearance ("I never saw her again", just as Flaubert never saw Eulalie again), the narrator allows himself to be drawn into a reverie and exotic visions in an attempt to escape the loss of his beloved and his boredom. A sudden break introduces a new narrator who comments with severity and irony on the manuscript that has just been read, and tells of the sad end of the first narrator: "He was a man who gave in to falseness, in amphigoury and made great abuse of epithets. [...] Finally, last December, he died, but slowly, little by little, by the mere force of thought, without any organ being sick, as one dies of sadness, which will seem difficult to people who have suffered a lot, but which must be tolerated in a novel, for the sake of the marvelous.
After the complacent autobiography, comes the critical look and the deconstruction, which announces the novelist to come.
The title page November carries the subtitle: "fragments of any style", and the date 1842, and the epigraph: "to... deny and fantasize" (Montaigne). The last page bears the date: "25 October 1842".
The manuscript is written in black ink on 96 sheets of wove paper written on both sides and numbered 1-96. Ff. 34-43 bear an old numbering 1-10. The manuscript is entirely and very extensively crossed out and corrected and contains 2083 words or passages crossed out, corrected or added.
In addition to the erasures obviously made in the course of writing, others are the result of a revision during a rereading. The first page seems to have been redone. Entire paragraphs are crossed out and circled with a pen stroke to mark their deletion (we refer to volume I of the Œuvres complètes de la Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, cons
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