Narrated Desire: Reflections on Flaubert’s Sentimental Education

The European Legacy 23 (4):382-402 (2018)
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Flaubert’s Sentimental Education, published in 1869, is a novel about thwarted desires. My essay looks at some pathologies of desire the novel’s protagonist, Frédéric Moreau, may be said to exemplify in order to bring into view the conditions that make desire satisfaction possible. I take the tribulations of the protagonist not as mere consequences of his personal flaws but as significant clues about the mechanics of desire in general. I discuss the ways in which the style and form of the novel mirror the predicament of the desire-driven character, and I conclude by questioning the view that Flaubert’s aestheticism amounts to a banishment of desire.



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The Rationality of Emotion.Ronald DE SOUSA - 1987 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 22 (4):302-303.
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Why Emma Bovary had to be killed.Jacques Rancière - 2008 - Critical Inquiry 34 (2):233-248.

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