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Old 04-25-2008, 11:53 PM   #1
Patricia
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Flaubert, Gustave: Bouvard and Pécuchet, v.1, 26 April 2008.

Gustave Flaubert: Bouvard and Pécuchet: A Tragi-Comic Novel of Bourgeois Life
(Bouvard et Pécuchet)
Posthumously published in 1881. Translation by M Walter Dunne (1904).

Two lower middle class chaps decide to educate themselves and successively explore various branches of knowledge, with comic results. Wikipedia describes the novel as:
‘a grand satire on the futility of human knowledge and the ubiquity of mediocrity,’ also noting:

‘Nowhere do Flaubert's explorations of the relation of signs to the objects they signify reach a more thorough study than in this work. Bouvard and Pécuchet systematically confuse signs and symbols with reality, an assumption that causes them much suffering, as it does for Emma Bovary and Frédéric Moreau. Yet here, due to the explicit focus on books and knowledge, Flaubert's ideas reach a climax. Consequently, the book is widely read as a precursor to modern theories on semiotics and postmodernism.’
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