A Privileged Reader: An Editorial Collaboration Between Gustave Flaubert and Louis Bouilhet


Gustave Flaubert’s writing of Madame Bovary has often been considered the work of a genius who labored intensely and in solitude on the writing and rewriting of his novel, first published in 1856 in serial form. This article argues that this is an illusion. In fact, one of the primary contributors in the process of writing Madame Bovary was Flaubert’s dear and intimate friend, Louis Bouilhet. In an analysis of the genesis of a passage from the novel (part one, chapter eight), I aim to demonstrate how Bouilhet was an editorial collaborator whose suggestions and revisions allowed Flaubert the possibility of formulating multiple options in his search for the “mot juste.”

Ramona Naddaff
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