Lot n° 68
8000 - 10000
Result with fees
: 10 540EUR
FLAUBERT Gustave (1821-1880).
L.A.S. "your", Monday night at midnight ½ [September 12, 1853], to Louise COLET; 4 pages in-4.
Very beautiful letter on the writing of Madame Bovary.
"My head is spinning from annoyance - from discouragement - from fatigue! I spent 4 hours without being able to write a sentence. I have not written a line today, or rather I have scribbled a hundred! What an atrocious work! What a bore! Oh! art! art! What is this raging chimera that bites us in the heart. - And why? It's crazy to go to so much trouble! Ah! La Bovary, I will remember it! I feel now as if I had knife blades under my nails - and I want to grind my teeth. How silly! So that's where this sweet pastime of Literature, this whipped cream, leads. What I come up against is common situations and trivial dialogue. To write well the mediocre and at the same time to make it keep its aspect, its cut, its words even, that is really diabolical.
- And now I see these niceties flash before my eyes for at least 30 pages! - Style is expensive!
I'm doing again what I did the other week. - Two or three effects were judged yesterday by B. [Bouilhet] to be unsuccessful, and with good reason. -I have to redo almost all my sentences"...
Then he evokes a plan for a romantic trip to Gisors: "We would spend our day by railroad and by stagecoach. [....] & this is to see each other for two hours - no! no! - in six weeks, in Mantes, we will be alone & longer [...] it is not worth the trouble of seeing each other to have only the trouble of saying goodbye. I know what the inconveniences cost me. My helplessness now comes from Trouville. Fifteen days before I go away, it troubles me. - I have to warm up and make it work! - or I'll die - I'm humiliated, for God's sake - & humiliated by the reactivity of my pen. - It is necessary to govern it like the bad horses which refuse. - You squeeze them with all your strength to suffocate them - and they give in".
Then he evokes the death of his uncle "the father Parain", worrying about the health of his mother who must leave for Nogent. He expected this news: "It will make me more sad, later. I know myself. Things have to sink in for me. - It only added to the prodigious irritability I have now. - And that I'd better calm down, because it sometimes overflows me. But [it is] this rosse of Bovary that is the cause. This bourgeois subject disgusts me - and I need a stubborn masturbation to get a hard-on"...
He read the 6th volume of the History of the Revolution by MICHELET: "There are exquisite jets of words - right things - almost all of them are new. But no plan. No art. It is not clear it is even less calm - & calmness is the character of beauty, as serenity is of the innocence of Virtue. Rest is God's attitude. - What a curious time! What a curious time! How the grotesque is melted into the terrible! I repeat it is there that the Shakespeare of the future will be able to draw with buckets. Is there anything more enormous than this, of the citizen Roland. Before killing himself he had written this bill that was found on him: "Respect the body of a virtuous man!" - Farewell. It is late. I have no fire I am cold I press myself against you to warm me. A thousand kisses "...
Correspondence (Pléiade), t. II, p. 428
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