Lot n° 67
8000 - 10000
Result with fees
: 13 180EUR
FLAUBERT Gustave (1821-1880).
L.A.S. "your G.", Saturday 1 h. ["April 16, 1853" in Louise Colet's hand], to Louise COLET; 4 pages in-4.
Very beautiful letter on the writing of Madame Bovary.
It was the day before "of a funereal, atrocious, disproportionate sadness, - and of which I was stunned myself. We feel our moral backlash from a distance. The evening before yesterday I was seized with a sharp pain in the head, so that I screamed and could do nothing. I went to bed at midnight. I could feel my cerebellum beating in my skull, as one feels his heart jumping when he has palpitations. [...] I am now only concerned with my Bovary, desperate that things are going so badly.
He tries to console his "poor friend", whose letter is "full of sobs". He will send her money if she needs it and if she fails the competition: "as for the Academy, I meditate (in case of failure) a stiff revenge which will hit them on the fingers & will make them read in the future the pieces to be judged, with more attention. But I believe that Villemain will do the five hundredths. - It's like the battle of Marengo, you may win it just when you think you've lost everything"... If it fails, he proposes to bring L'Acropole to Mantes: "we would review everything, not letting anything pass as in La Paysanne. We would make it perfect, which would not be difficult. The Barbarians' piece would be executed as I conceived it, that is to say, we would lightly hit those who cut down the antique under the pretext of preserving it, painters, expurgators, professors, etc. One could make on this a movement crane & where the Academy would not be spared without naming it. - Then the day after the prize I would publish my Acropolis with a note "This poem did not get the prize" "... He has just reread La Paysanne twice: "It is superb (without exaggeration). It works like a railroad & it is full of color. Even though I know it almost by heart, I was still touched. He points out some mistakes to be revised, and gives typographical indications for the composition of the title, of which he draws the model... "Also removes, from the advertisements of the other stories, the intelligent woman, who seems to be in a class of her own. The intelligent woman is not a rank in society. Put the lioness, the low-blue anything. But no qualifying epithet"...
Then he returns to Madame Bovary. "I am broken with fatigue, & with tiredness - & with boredom - This book kills me. I will never do another one like it. The difficulties of execution are such that I lose my head at times - I will not be caught again writing bourgeois things. The fetidity of the background makes me sick to my stomach. The most vulgar things are by that very fact atrocious to say. & when I consider all the blank pages that I still have to write I am appalled. - At the end of next week I hope to tell you when we will finally meet. [...] It will be in three weeks, I think. If a good wind blew me I wouldn't have to wait long. - How silly it is to go to all this trouble, & that no one will ever appreciate! - But I complain, when it is you who should be pitied. Perhaps you send me your sadness. - Well then take all my strength - & my most tender kisses - I put my mouth on your letters, my heart on your heart "...
Correspondence (Pléiade), t. II, p. 306.
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