Chapter 4 Summary

The Flaubert Bestiary

Braithwaite has compiled a list of animals that he believes feature significantly in the life of Flaubert. Each entry is a short essay on an aspect of Flaubert, the animal illustrating his relationships and self image.

The first and lengthiest entry is "The Bear." Gustave describes himself as a bear who lives alone, though Braithwaite points out that the hermit of Croisset lived in a relatively full house. A white bear-rug was a much loved (by himself and his niece) feature in his study. Though Braithwaite can cite many references comparing Flaubert to other animals—from oyster to gorilla—the bear is Flaubert's own essential self image—a mangy bear, a stuffed...

(The entire section is 537 words.)