Though he disapproved of Gustave Flaubert’s ruthless modes and suffered the brunt of the French writer’s indifference, Henry James was quick to understand that L’éducation sentimentale and Madame Bovary had somehow altered the destiny of the novel and given the practitioners of the genre tools not easily found in the English language. To a great extent, therefore, James’s perception is at the origin of Flaubert’s passage to England (and to the United States): a presence not always welcome or uncontroversial but somehow legitimized by the intellectual and aesthetic authority of the Master. Soon, the literary world gravitating around Rye at the turn of the century finds itself contaminated by Flaubertian ideas and characters, especially so indeed in the case of Joseph Conrad and Ford Madox Ford, whose creative partnership revolves heavily around the French writer and his group. But Flaubert also branches out in Virginia Woolf’s direction, offering food for a radical re-visitation of the novel as genre. In this essay, I shall attempt to show that Flaubert works as an alchemical laboratory of modernist aesthetics in Britain: where his poetics are received, manipulated and transmuted. The first part will be dedicated to charting the map of the Fredéric Moreaus and the Emma Bovarys as they revive in Ford’s The Good Soldier or No More Parades; or it will follow Félicité as she puts appearances in Gertrude Stein’s or Joyce’s stories. More crucially, perhaps, the second section of the essay will explore the formal and stylistic implications of Flaubert’s shadow; trying in particular to assess the role his theoretical thoughts on prose played in Woolf’s passionate search for a new form; and to explore the affinities between the French novelists ‘sentences without speakers’ and Woolf’s free indirect style. “La prose est née d’hier, voilà ce qu’il faut se dire. Le vers est la forme par excellence des littératures anciennes”, writes Flaubert in a letter to Louise Colet; a striking anticipation of Woolf’s considerations on what is needed for the novel of the future: “It will be written in prose, but in prose which has many of the characteristics of poetry” (‘Fiction, Poetry and the Future’).
|Titolo:||Croisset-London and Back, or, Flaubert's Anglo-Saxon Ghosts|
|Parole Chiave:||Franco-British encounters ; literature ; late Victorian ; Modernist ; comparative literature|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore L-LIN/10 - Letteratura Inglese|
|Data di pubblicazione:||28-giu-2012|
|Tipologia:||Book Part (author)|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||03 - Contributo in volume|