Gustave Flaubert Short Fiction Analysis
Gustave Flaubert’s Three Tales, published during the year 1877, when he was fifty-six years old, reflects the variety of styles of his literary production as a whole. “Un Cur simple” (“A Simple Heart”) employs the Norman realism of Madame Bovary. “La Légende de Saint Julien l’hospitalier” (“The Legend of St. Julian, Hospitaler”) reflects the preoccupation with exotic locales and the history of the early Christians evident in The Temptation of Saint Anthony and Flaubert’s travel narratives. “Hérodias” retains this exotic context while focusing on a singular heroine from the past, as Flaubert had done in Salammbô.
These three texts, Flaubert’s only short fiction to be widely read, provide the usual choices for modern readers seeking an introduction to his work. Flaubert wrote them in a spontaneous burst of activity between September, 1875, and February, 1877, as if he were capping his career with a demonstration piece of his various styles.
“A Simple Heart”
“A Simple Heart,” the life story of the good-hearted servant Félicité, draws its material from Flaubert’s own life. In 1825, a servant, Julie, joined the Flaubert household and may have provided a model for the character of Félicité. Critics have further suggested comparisons between Félicité and the old woman Catherine Leroux, who, in the Comices agricoles scene of Madame...
(The entire section is 3849 words.)
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