"A Journey into Flaubert’s Normandy", is a fascinating, lively, and informative book - richly illustrated with 19th-century art, modern and archival photos, and custom-designed street maps - that allows both tourists and armchair travelers to visit the novelist’s homes, some of which are now museums, and to discover the locations that featured prominently in his controversial work and colorful private life. Susannah Patton takes the reader to Rouen, with its stunning cathedral; to the resort town of Trouville and its much-painted beach; to Croisset, where Flaubert’s riverside house gave him the refuge to write; to the quiet country town of Ry, where the real Madame Bovary lived and died; and to pastoral Pont L’Eveque.
In Madame Bovary, as in his other books, Gustave Flaubert revealed his love-hate relationship with Normandy. Set along the northern French coast, the region is steeped in history and beguilingly beautiful, but in Flaubert’s time it was also stiflingly close-minded. This combination inspired the novelist, whose heroes struggle to escape social convention upon a stage that is unmistakably Norman: the ancient capital of Rouen, where Flaubert was born in 1821; the small towns that dot the lush expanse of meadows, orchards, and rolling hills; the windswept coast, where he first fell in love and to which he frequently returned.
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