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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lost classic, 15 Oct 2009
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This review is from: Bouvard and Pecuchet (Classics) (Paperback)
This is undoubtedly an intriguing book and probably not something you'll have read before. It is the incomplete and final novel of Gustave Flaubert famous for Madame Bovary and others. The book includes at the end Flaubert's dictionary of ideas - this is really a separate section unrelated to the story so I won't dwell on it, interesting though it is.

It is the story of two middle aged guys who on meeting discover they share the same profession (copyists) and quickly form a great friendship. A sudden and expected inheritance allows them to sample the intellectual delights of the (French) world. It has ten chapters and each has a different basis for example: farming, literature, history, philosophy, religion and politics. Their behaviour and ineptitude causes problems with the locals and staff. It is an intellectual comedy of errors as nothing goes right despite their efforts and there are some humourous episodes which include Pecuchet loosing his virginity, them failing to educate two orphan kids and some phrenology etc.

The book is a sort of mixture of Don Quixote and an 1880s encyclopaedia. This means it's incredible detailed and offers much to learn about what was current back then. You'll discover amongst other things new authors, proofs for God and how to prune fruit trees.

You may be concerned, like me, about starting an incomplete book - I'd have to admit it does seem to almost stop mid-paragraph but the book immediately includes Flaubert's plan of how the book was to finish, so at least you'll know how it was to end. To be clear, it being unfinished does not detract at all from the story or content.

I've read M Bovary, Sentimental Education and Salammbo and would rate Salammbo the absolute best with B&P a close second. Overall this is worth a read especially if you're looking for a new angle in classic literature.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bouvard and Pecuchet, 4 Dec 2009
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Patrick M. Gribbin "gribbo" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bouvard and Pecuchet (Classics) (Paperback)
Bouvard and Pecuchet is Flaubert's intellectual Laurel and Hardy story. A masterpiece of a book he prophetically claimed would be the death of him. He read 1500 books to write it and it shows. It is one of the semilnal works of the 'modern movement' carried on by Joyce, Becket, DH Lawrence and Henry James etc. It has also been claimed, by Michael Foucault, as a sequel to, The Temptation of St. Anthony. One a saint of stasis and observation, nursing his bible and the other two of action, immersed in life, canonized for their self realization and dedication to preserving the meaning of words, all words, by exposing the lazy life denying quality of cleché usage. The story concludes with the writing of, The Dictionary of Received Ideas, Flaubert's cleché defining polemic.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 26 Dec 2014
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This review is from: Bouvard and Pecuchet (Classics) (Paperback)
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Bouvard and Pecuchet (Classics)
Bouvard and Pecuchet (Classics) by Gustave Flaubert (Paperback - 25 Mar 1976)
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