Flaubert - Sand
In 1862 Gustave Flaubert published Salammbô, his novel of ancient Carthage. It met with a largely unenthusiastic response from the critics. One of the few who admired it was George Sand, then at the height of her popularity as a novelist and playwright, and she wrote a review championing the book. Flaubert wrote to thank her and thus began a correspondence and a friendship that were to last until Sand’s death in 1876. In this correspondence, ‘one of the great literary exchanges,’ as Julian Barnes has called it, two writers of genius set down their thoughts on an enormous variety of subjects, from their views on the craft of fiction and on the Paris theatre to their reactions to public events such as the Franco-Prussian War and the conflict between monarchists and republicans. In their letters Flaubert and Sand created a masterpiece as compelling as any of their novels.