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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Flaubert

Part 3 of Flaubert's Sentimental Education includes the long "pastoral" interlude in which Frederic and his "mistress," Rosanette, leave Paris for several weeks near Fountainbleu - they rent carriages and drive idly around the countryside day after day - neither money or time is ever an issue in their pointless lives - as the gunshots ring in the background. There's revolution in the air to which they are indifferent and oblivious. Over the course of this interlude we see the inevitable doom of this relationship of convenience - R clearly uninterested in the cultural observations the F offers. We also learn of her tragic background, sold into sex slavery at 15 to support her mother's drinking. F seems strangely unsympathetic- a shallow man. But his growing estrangement from R leads him to so far his most ennobling action in the novel - a dangerous return to Paris to help his wounded friend Dussardier. As it happens tho D doesn't need his medical attentions and the short-lived revolution is soon suppressed and F is none the wiser. In fact his relationships w women at this point descend to a new low as he not only continues to pursue the unhappy and vulnerable Mme Arnoux but he betrays R - now pregnant by the way - and is cruelly dismissive of Mlle Roque, the young woman from his home town who know nothing of his philandering and dissolution and naively believes they are soon to become officially engaged.

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