I accept Preault’s silence and thank you for it.
Your old Gu. Flaubert. Yesterday I gave Sombre Amour to Le Moniteur”
Flaubert’s groundbreaking Madame Bovary, considered scandalous when published, was a stark portrayal of bourgeois society that led to Flaubert’s trial for immorality (he was acquitted). Successive works included A Sentimental Education and The Temptation of Saint Anthony, an exploration of ancient religions and, “an attempt to do in words what is more easily done in painting,” (Thesaurus of Book Digests). Flaubert remains one of France’s most influential realist writers. The Préault mentioned in our letter could be Parisian sculptor Antoine-Augustin Préault (1809-1879), a contemporary of Flaubert.
Although they were schoolmates, Flaubert’s close friendship with Bouilhet dates from 1846. “It endured over the years because of the deep sympathies between them. They thought alike; they laughed alike; they hated alike. They even looked alike… For so many years the two men had spent such long hours together in literary consultation; when they were apart, they corresponded regularly,” (“Louis Bouilhet, Flaubert’s ‘Accoucheur,’” Symposium: A Quarterly Journal in Modern Literatures, Bart).
Bouilhet dedicated his first work Miloenis to Flaubert in 1851, and between 1862-1863, Flaubert and Bouilhet collaborated with Charles d’Osmoy (1827-1894), a French noble, librettist and politician, on the play Le Château des coeurs, although it was not published until 1880. “The authors tried without success to have the work performed. The theater as a vehicle for the fantastic had interested Flaubert since 1847, when he composed Pierrot au sérail… Le Chateau offers some sparkling moments of social satire…. But is generally a compromised work, having too many authors,” (A Gustave Flaubert Encyclopedia, ed. Porter).
When Bouilhet died on July 18, 1869, “the bereaved novelist wrote to George Sand that he had lost his accoucheur [midwife], the man who could see into his thoughts more clearly than he could himself; Bouilhet’s death had left a void which could never be filled,” (Bart op. cit.).
Saint-Gratien is a suburban commune of Paris. In the winter months, from 1856-1869, Flaubert lodged at 42, boulevard du Temple in Paris.
Published in Gustave Flaubert Correspondence: Année 1869 edited by Louis Conard. Folded with normal creasing and wear. In very good condition.