Sentimental Education: Story Of A Young Man - Paperback

Sentimental Education: Story Of A Young Man

Flaubert, Gustave

Gustave Flaubert conceived Sentimental Education, his final complete novel, as the history of his own generation, one that failed to fulfill the promise of the Revolution of 1848. Published a few months before the start of the 1870 Franco–Prussian War, it offers both a sweeping panorama of French society over three decades and an intimate bildungsroman of a young man from a small town who arrives in Paris when protests against the monarchy are increasing.

The novel’s protagonist, Frédéric Moreau, alternates between aimlessness and ambition as he searches for a meaningful life through love affairs and republican politics. Flaubert’s narrative includes scenes of high drama, as scattered protests across Paris swell into revolution, and quiet moments of self-aware romanticism, crafting a story that possesses the sweep and scope of a historical novel combined with deep emotion and scandalous intimacy. Suffused with tragedy and the poignancy of lost chances and wasted lives, Sentimental Education is sharpened by satirical observations of what Flaubert condemned as the Second Empire’s endemic hypocrisy and willful blindness.

This vibrant, new translation by Raymond N. MacKenzie includes an extensive critical introduction and annotations to help the modern reader appreciate Flaubert’s achievement. Sentimental Education intertwines the personal, the intimate, and the subjective with the political, social, and cultural, embedding Frédéric’s story in the larger arc of what Flaubert saw as France’s decline into mediocrity and imbecility in its politics and manners.


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