Then comes the really shocking scene Lesters daughter who I guess is supposed to be around 16 or so comes on to George when hes visiting Felicia. So in Sentimental Education Frederic, the worlds most dreary young bachelor, wants to shag the wife of Monsieur Arnoux, a publisher. Just like in Shampoo, except that George the hairdresser was a lot less dreary. Also in Shampoo and Sentimental Education there are these long long long boring party scenes where I think the effect is supposed to be scintillatingly socially satirical. I did not notice any specific Star Wars connections in Sentimental Education, but neither did Henry James.
While searching for illustrations for those updates, I began to notice strong parallels between Flauberts mid-nineteenth century story and Honoré Daumiers cartoons for French illustrated newspapers of the same period. Arnoux, she reminded me of Emma Bovary every time she swayed into a scene, especially when it was a question of her 'bottines'; Flaubert and Frédéric seem to have a thing about slim leather-clad feet peeping out from underneath the vastness of a crinoline. And since Frédéric had been studying the caricatures in the Charivari so closely, I began studying them too, especially the ones by Honoré Daumier, and thats how I stumbled on so many parallels between Flauberts scenarios and Daumier's sketches. When Frédéric accompanies Madame Arnoux on her shopping trips, its hard not to imagine the scene like this, especially since Frédéric is such a very flexible character: (The text underneath Daumier's sketch says that since women now wear skirts made of steel, men would need to be made of rubber to give them their arm in the street!) Daumier intends to be funny of course, and you might argue that Flaubert is being serious much of the time. And of course, Daumier just happens to have a witty cartoon about a grouse too: At the same dinner, the Wit insults one of Frédéric's women friends, and next thing he knows, Frédéric is involved in a duel - one of the funniest scenes in the book.
A "sentimental education" means your first love, and if Frédérics not careful he isnt going to learn shit from it. Frédéric hems and haws about Madame Arnoux, while having affairs with a trio of other women: a courtesan, the girl next door, a different friends wife. There are a lot of dudes like Frédéric in the world, these Cabbage Patch AirPod holders, and Flauberts not going to let any of them get away with it. If you're boring Henry James, you have a real problem. As aimless as real life, even, and if I wanted that I wouldnt be reading a book, would I?
And Flaubert does a good job of sneaking up on you: for the first hundred pages or so, I felt it was one of those books where nothing was going to happen, and it wasn't until I was about halfway through that I really began to feel disquieted. In Proust's Le Côté de Guermantes, Marcel becomes as obsessed with the Duchesse de Guermantes as Frédéric does with Mme. Arnoux, but by the end of the novel he's got over her; we get a detailed account of how her charm gradually fades away, so that he can finally see her objectively. Flaubert assumes you know the story already, and keeps referring to people and events I'd never heard of - I was flipping to the endnotes like I was reading Infinite Jest). And, the other day, I started wondering the title comes up as she speaks the words When Men Cheat On Their Partners, What Are They Really Thinking? CARRIE is sitting alone at a table set for four people, reading a paperback novel. CARRIE is so engrossed that she doesn't notice that CHARLOTTE, SAMANTHA and MIRANDA have arrived, and are looking at her curiously. SAMANTHA: checking to see how far CARRIE has got Oh, you're nearly finished. CARRIE: voiceover Charlotte did mind, but Samantha steamrollered her. CARRIE: voiceover This was during Charlotte's first marriage, a period she doesn't like to talk about. CARRIE: voiceover Samantha hadn't yet discovered she had a talent for PR. CARRIE: voiceover Samantha was also a close friend of Jack. JACK and SAMANTHA are having noisy sex. CARRIE: voiceover Now Jack ran this publishing company. One day, Fred met Charlotte. FRED, very young and innocent, meets CHARLOTTE. CARRIE: voiceover Fred had never seen anyone so beautiful in his life. CARRIE: voiceover Fred needed to get friendly with Jack. CARRIE: voiceover Jack liked the attention. Dinner party at JACK and CHARLOTTE's. FRED gazes raptly at CHARLOTTE, while she ignores him. CARRIE: voiceover Jack had really got to trust Fred. He started taking him to parties at Samantha's place too. FRED looks embarrassed, but is clearly eyeing up SAMANTHA CARRIE: voiceover Pretty soon, Fred had fallen for Samantha as well. MIRANDA: So, uh, let me see, he can only love Charlotte but he's got the hots for Samantha and he's engaged to the girl next door? CHARLOTTE looks like she wants to sink through the floor. SAMANTHA: to MIRANDA Don't worry, babe, it hasn't got complicated yet. CARRIE: voiceover Fred made progress with Charlotte. FRED and CHARLOTTE gaze soulfully into each other's eyes, go for walks hand-in-hand, pick flowers, etc CARRIE: voiceover Obviously, Fred wanted more. CARRIE: voiceover Fred was so angry with Charlotte for not turning up. FRED and SAMANTHA are having sex. CARRIE: voiceover Fred liked being with Samantha. FRED is having sex with RICH BANKER WIFE. SEVERAL WOMEN are yelling at FRED, throwing things, etc SAMANTHA: back in restaurant Your friend Stanford told Charlotte and me we should read Sentimental Education.
Because Frédéric cant make it happen with his mate Arnouxs missus, nor his mate Arnouxs mistress, this frustration is the bane of his existence as he falls in and out of money, society and love.
Frederik je od onih likova koji, naizgled, sve rade pogreno, ali za ije postupke ne nalazite alternativu (u tom smislu, roman je hermetiki zatvoren). Ali jeste Dojsa, Hamsuna, Prusta, Kafku (koji se nije odvajao od francuskog izdanja ove knjige).
Writing it, not reading it. I marvel that he has written a book with no character for which one could have a shred of sympathy and yet somehow we sit there caring what happens.
That he was one of the greatest writers who ever lived in France is now commonly admitted, and his greatness principally depends upon the extraordinary vigour and exactitude of his style. Less perhaps than any other writer, not of France, but of modern Europe, Flaubert yields admission to the inexact, the abstract, the vaguely inapt expression which is the bane of ordinary methods of composition. Being, as he is, a mixture in almost equal parts of the romanticist and the realist, the marvellous propriety of his style has been helpful to later writers of both schools, of every school. The absolute exactitude with which he adapts his expression to his purpose is seen in all parts of his work, but particularly in the portraits he draws of the figures in his principal romances. Flaubert is a writer who must always appeal more to other authors than to the world at large, because the art of writing, the indefatigable pursuit of perfect expression, were always before him, and because he hated the lax felicities of improvisation as a disloyalty to the most sacred procedures of the literary artist.