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Half-Opened Heavens...

By November 20, 2013

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Three TalesFor Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert will never be forgotten. Madame Bovary catapulted him to fame and controversy--that famously tragic heroine will forever hold a place in our imaginations.

Of course, Flaubert wrote many more novels and short stories beyond his most famous, banned book. His best-received book was Three Tales, a collection consisting of: A Simple Heart, "The Legend of Saint Julian the Hospitaller," and "Herodias." Finely compressed into the lines of these work, we discover beauty and profound pleasure in Flaubert's lines. Here's just a taste:

"There was deep silence; and the censers slipping on their chains were swung high in the air. A blue vapour rose in Felicite's room. She opened her nostrils and inhaled with a mystic sensuousness; then she closed her lids. Her lips smiled. The beats of her heart grew fainter and fainter, and vaguer, like a fountain giving out, like an echo dying away;--and when she exhaled her last breath, she thought she saw in the half-opened heavens a gigantic parrot hovering above her head."

Here, we get the sense of Flaubert's life slipping away as well. His good friend, George Sand, died while he was writing A Simple Heart. And, this book was to be his last.

The finality and beauty here further supports his well-justified place in world literature...


December 3, 2009 at 12:39 am
(1) Brian - Kafkacotton says:

I’ll definately have to get to this one. There are so many great books out there that it takes along time to just move from the A+ category down to the A’s.

As Thoreau said, “Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.”

November 9, 2011 at 10:51 am
(2) Mayuram V.Sankaran says:

I think that a reading of the best books of the world alone is not good enough! We must ask ourselves at the end of reading a book: “Are we any wiser by reason of having read this book? Does it help promote a feeling of kinship with one’s fellow beings — a feeling of brotherhood and love — and also, helps us to abjure the kind of violence and chicanery that we constantly witness all around?” If the answer to that question is in the affirmative, that is, if the reading of the book does indeed help unite different people around the world with one common feeling of compassion for their fellow-beings, then the purpose of reading such books can be said to have been achieved!

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