Flaubert: Remembering, Forgetting, Creating

Curiously tormented references to memory abound in Flaubert’s work. Examples from Novembre, Madame Bovary, Salammbô, L’Éducation sentimentale, Trois contes, Bouvard et Pécuchet and Sous Napoléon iii reveal a recurrent pattern of memory description that is echoed in the Correspondance. Recurrent images of being invaded, crushed, stifled or drowned by memories combine with images of liquidity, bloodshed and death. Yet the same terms and images recur in Flaubert’s accounts of the painful creative process, and clusters of such images in his fiction point to a subtext about the agonies of writing: memory was an essential component of the struggle to create. (ag)

Green, Anne
Volume 2010-11 Fall-Winter; 39(1-2): 119-130