Flaubert's Gymnastic Prescription for Bouvard et Pécuchet


In Bouvard et Pécuchet a consideration at a textual level of the protagonists' reading and misreading of Amoros's gymnastics manual reveals the process of Flaubert's production of irony. The characters' efforts at defining their bodies and temperaments are thwarted by Flaubert's text, which attacks their identity through the use of "on," the infinitive, and the "style indirect libre" among other techniques. The threat of the loss of the characters' identity reinforces the impersonality of the passage where the specific is undermined by the general. Scientific knowledge becomes a commonplace. Flaubert confirms that many of his contemporaries' discourses are prescriptive in nature. (ENM)

Meyer, E. Nicole
Release Year:
1995 Spring-Summer; 23(3-4): 373-81