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(06/12/2008) Flaubert In Egypt: A Sensibilty On Tour by Gustave Flaubert. Boston. 1972. Atlantic/Little Brown. Translated From The French & Edited By Francis Steegmuller. A Narrative Drawn From Gustave Flaubert's Travel Notes & Letters. keywords: Literature Translated France Travel. 232 pages. Cover design by Elna Rapp. 0316812153.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In the autumn of 1849, at the age of twenty-seven, accompanied by his wealthier and worldlier friend, Maxime du Camp, Flaubert set off on a long tour of the 'Orient' - the Near East -- a region that had long haunted his young imagination. He kept a diary, much of whose exotic and erotic detail has hitherto remained unpublished, even in France. He also wrote vivid letters to his mother, and splendidly frank letters to his friend Louis Bouilhet, important passages of which have been published in France only recently by skillfully amalgamating the material that deals with the Egyptian part of the journey, and providing an informative introduction and linking commentary, Mr. Steegmuller has enabled us to enjoy for the first time an extraordinary account of a remarkable 'sensibility on tour. ' What emerges is a combination of a travel book written by a great writer - romantic, sensual, preternaturally observant -- and a commentary on an important period in the writer's life by a masterly biographer. Whether Flaubert is writing of architectural splendors or the cudgeling of a beggar, the colors of sky and desert, a Bedouin dance, or a memorable night with a prostitute, his descriptions glow with the excitement of discovery. Maxime du Camp also published accounts of the trip drawn from his diary. His racy contributions complement those of his more famous companion; indeed, when each tells the same story, the contrast can be instructive and amusing. It is not surprising that upon his return to France, du Camp became the owner and editor of a magazine, and an active journalist; or that Flaubert, with his exotic experiences behind him, should sit down to create MADAME BOVARY. One of our most admired men of letters,.

Francis Steegmuller was a biographer, a novelist, an essayist, a critic, and a translator. Among his many books are FLAUBERT AND MADAME BOVARY, MAUPASSANT: A LION IN THE PATH, THE GRAND MADEMOISELLE, THE TWO WORLDS OF JAMES JACKSON JARVES, APOLLINAIRE: POET AMONG THE PAINTERS, LE HIBOU ET LA POUSSIQUETTE, COCTEAU: A BIOGRAPHY - the 1971 National Book Award Winner -- and STORIES AND TRUE STORIES. Mr. Steegmuller was also a frequent contributor to The New Yorker, a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and a Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur. He lived in New York City with his wife, the novelist Shirley Hazzard.

 

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