> Skip to content
About the book
  • Published: 1 August 2002
  • ISBN: 9781860464362
  • Imprint: Harvill Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 424
  • RRP: $45.00

The Correspondence of Gustave Flaubert & George Sand

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.










  • Pub date: 1 August 2002
  • ISBN: 9781860464362
  • Imprint: Harvill Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 424
  • RRP: $45.00

About the Authors

Gustave Flaubert

Gustave Flaubert was born in Rouen in 1821, the son of a distinguished surgeon and a doctor's daughter. After three unhappy years of studying law in Paris, an epileptic attack ushered him into a life of writing. Madame Bovary won instant acclaim upon book publication in 1857, but Flaubert's frank display of adultery in bourgeois France saw him go on trial for immorality, only narrowly escaping conviction. Both Salammbo (1862) and The Sentimental Education (1869) were poorly received, and Flaubert's genius was not publicly recognized until Three Tales (1877). His reputation among his fellow writers, however, was more constant and those who admired him included Turgenev, George Sand, Victor Hugo and Zola. Flaubert's obsession with his art is legendary: he would work for days on a single page, obsessively attuning sentences, seeking always le mot juste in a quest for both beauty and precise observation. His style moved Edmund Wilson to say,'Flaubert, by a single phrase - a notation of some commonplace object - can convey all the poignance of human desire, the pathos of human defeat; his description of some homely scene will close with a dying fall that reminds one of great verse or music.' Flaubert died suddenly in May 1880, leaving his last work, Bouvard and Pécuchet, unfinished.

George Sand

Gustave Flaubert was born in 1821 in Rouen, Normandy, the son of a chief surgeon. He reluctantly studied law in Paris, but ceased after a series of nervous attacks. He stayed in the family home at Croisset and dedicated himself to writing. He was unsuccessfully prosecuted for his first masterpiece, Madame Bovary (1857), which met with popular, if not critical, success. George Sand was one of the few critics to praise his next book, Salammbô (1862), thus instigating a long friendship. His other works include Sentimental Education (1869) and The Temptation of St Anthony (1874). His uncompleted comic novel, Bouvard and Pécuchet, was published after his death in 1880. His correspondence with George Sand was published in 1884.

George Sand was the pseudonym of Amandine Aurore Lucie Dupin. She was born in Paris in 1804, the daughter of an army officer. After his death she lived with her grandmother in the château de Nohant, near La Châtre. At 18 she married Casimir Dudevant, the illegitimate son of a baron. Nine years later she left him and went to Paris with her two children. She scandalized bourgeois society with her controversial novels and her numerous love affairs. After 1848 she settled again in Nohant. Her complete works, over 100 volumes, include autobiographies as well as novels and plays. Her letters were published after her death in 1876.


Related titles