Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Paris. Capital of France. The chief Parisian locale featured in the novel is the Rue Guy de Brosse, where Adrien Sixte lives, and its immediate environs. The Rue Guy de Brosse connects the Rue de Jussieu to Rue Linné, at the heart of a humble but respectable district bordered by the Jardin des Plantes and Hospital de la Pitié. Sixte’s fourth-floor apartment commands a good view of Père-la-Chaise, Orléans station, and the dome of La Saltpétrière, as well as the Jardin des Plantes, but the last-named is by far the most important; Sixte often takes long walks through the gardens, often as far as Notre-Dame, and his relationship with Robert Greslon is firmly grounded there.

Other Parisian locations briefly but significantly featured in the novel include the Palais de Justice, where Sixte is interrogated by Valette regarding his relationship with Robert, and the Hôtel de Sermoises in the Rue de Chanaleilles, where the Marquise de Jussat, her sister and Charlotte take up residence for a while.


*Clermont-Ferrand. Capital of the department of Puy-de-Dôme in the Auvergne mountains of central France. Robert spends his early life there, in a house built of Volvic stone, whose grey darkens with age to give the city itself a rather a forbidding aspect. Because the house is near the railway station Robert grows up haunted by the whistling of trains. Within the house, Robert’s father—an engineer—draws formulas on blackboards and writes at an architect’s table; he has a clock in the form of a geographical globe and astronomical...

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(Great Characters in Literature)

Auchincloss, Louis. “James and Bourget: The Artist and the Crank.” In Reflections of a Jacobite. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1961. In this chapter, Auchincloss chides Bourget for assuming the role of France’s social and moral guide.

Feuillerat, Albert. Paul Bourget. Paris: Plon, 1937. Fullest and most penetrating of studies in French on Bourget’s work, though it omits most of the details about his life. Feuillerat was Bourget’s brother-in-law and intimate friend, but he maintains critical distance.

Goetz, T. H. “Paul Bourget’s Le Disciple and the Text-Reader Relationship.” French Review 52 (October, 1978): 56-61. Discusses the author’s concerns over the influence of the authority figure (that is, the writer) upon his or her audience, especially the nation’s youth.

Secor, Walter Todd. Paul Bourget and the Nouvelle. New York: King’s Crown Press, 1948. The short novel (nouvelle) is the field in which many critics believe Bourget was the most outstanding.

Singer, Armand E. Paul Bourget. Boston: Twayne, 1976. The only full account in English of Bourget’s life and works. The Disciple is treated on pages 65-67 and 120-121.

Suleiman, Susan Rubin. Authoritarian Fictions: The Ideological Novel as a Literary Genre. New York: Columbia University Press, 1983. In this brilliant study, the author treats the thesis novel, using Bourget’s L’Étape (1902), a later version of the type of work that includes The Disciple, as her model.