Flaubert: A Life

By Geoffrey Wall
Read by John Lee

15.18 Hours 10/01/2009 unabridged
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A blond giant of a man with green eyes and a resonant actor’s voice, Gustave Flaubert was perhaps the finest French writer of the nineteenth century. He lived quietly in the provinces with his widowed mother, composing his novels at the rate of five words an hour. He detested his respectable neighbors, and they, in turn, helped to ensure his infamy as a writer of immoral books. Geoffrey Wall’s stylish and compelling new biography weaves together Flaubert’s provincial life with his escapes to Paris, where he participated in all the important literary and social milieus, and his passionate travels put him in company with courtesans, actresses, acrobats, gypsies, and simpletons of every stripe. Wall is especially good at showing how Flaubert’s outwardly calm, inwardly turbulent life inspired the complex settings and unforgettable characters of his imperishable novels.

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Summary

Summary

A blond giant of a man with green eyes and a resonant actor’s voice, Gustave Flaubert was perhaps the finest French writer of the nineteenth century. He lived quietly in the provinces with his widowed mother, composing his novels at the rate of five words an hour. He detested his respectable neighbors, and they, in turn, helped to ensure his infamy as a writer of immoral books. Geoffrey Wall’s stylish and compelling new biography weaves together Flaubert’s provincial life with his escapes to Paris, where he participated in all the important literary and social milieus, and his passionate travels put him in company with courtesans, actresses, acrobats, gypsies, and simpletons of every stripe. Wall is especially good at showing how Flaubert’s outwardly calm, inwardly turbulent life inspired the complex settings and unforgettable characters of his imperishable novels.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“The result of this nimble thinking, and even sharper writing, is one of the best biographies of this or any other year.” Sunday Telegraph (London)
“In this magnificently readable biography, Geoffrey Wall has pursued and pinned down his reclusive prey...This is a biography written from experience, and it has a vividness and immediacy that make it a pleasure to read.” Times Literary Supplement (London)
“Geoffrey Wall has acquitted himself superbly…His new life of Flaubert is as frankly entertaining as his subject demands—a tremendous achievement.” Guardian (Manchester)
“A fascinating biography that flows along as fast and smoothly as the Seine tumbling past Flaubert’s windows at Croisset.” Independent on Sunday (London)
“The clearest, most satisfyingly biographical account of Flaubert to date.” Independent (London)
“Flaubert is a beautifully balanced biography, written without prejudice but with a clear-eyed view of the strengths and weaknesses of an exceptional writer.” Anita Brookner, in The Spectator’s “Books of the Year,” 2001
“Gustave Flaubert was one of France’s greatest writers. Best-known for his first novel, Madame Bovary, Flaubert was a great stylist and a literary perfectionist. As is the case with many nineteenth-century authors, his life tells us a lot about his times. John Lee’s avuncular tone fits well in this fireside-type reading of Flaubert’s life story. Lee sounds interested in the details and keeps the listener interested as well. His pronunciation of French names won’t distract those who speak the language but won’t confuse listeners unfamiliar with French. Anyone interested in French literature, or the nineteenth century in general, will find this an enlightening listen.” AudioFile
“Flaubert was a complex and brilliant man whose writing came with great difficulty (one page per week) and who was shaped by the historical time in which he lived. Madame Bovary took five years to complete and was intended for ‘men only.’ John Lee…reads in an entertaining style with excellent French accents, engaging the listener with the minute and fascinating details of Flaubert’s life. Listener beware; none of the French is translated. If you haven’t read Madame Bovary, this will propel you to; if you’ve read it, this will propel you to read it again.” Soundcommentary.com

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Geoffrey Wall

Geoffrey Wall has translated Madame Bovary and other works of Flaubert. A teacher at the University of York, he lives in York with his wife and four children.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/Biography & Autobiography
Runtime: 15.18
Audience: Adult
Language: English