ALS Mentioning his Close Friend, the Recently Deceased Poet Louis Bouilhet

Signed by Gustave Flaubert

Item: 21828
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FLAUBERT, GUSTAVE. (1821-1880). French author. ALS. (“Gu. Flaubert”). 1p. 8vo. N.p., N.d. (“Thursday morning,” dated in an unknown hand September 11, 1869). (To Philippe Leparfait, the adopted son of his recently deceased friend and confidant, French poet Louis Bouilhet, 1821-1869.) In French with translation.

“You want to know more than I can tell.

I asked D’Osmoy three times to come this week and to let me know the day and the exact time. All he did was tell me he would come late this week.

Since I will not have a single piece of furniture left in my place from Monday on, I will leave and go to St. Gratien. But I will come to Paris almost every day. And my servant will pay me a visit every morning to bring me the letters and the proofs. So, write to me at Boulevard du Temple until further notice.

I accept Preault’s silence and thank you for it.

Your old Gu. Flaubert. Yesterday I gave Sombre Amour to Le Moniteur

Gustave Flaubert

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 sérailLe 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.

ALS Mentioning his Close Friend, the Recently Deceased Poet Louis Bouilhet

Signed by Gustave Flaubert

$1800 • item #21828

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