Good Reading : May 2010
MAY 2010 ı goodreading 29 writer's city Rouen and later obtains her wedding trousseau from the town. But the key site in Rouen mentioned in the novel is Notre Dame Cathedral, where Madame Bovary meets her lover. They are shown around the cathedral by an overly enthusiastic beadle who points out all the interesting tombs and artworks. Several of the cathedral's stained glass windows also appear in other stories by Flaubert. However, he had reservations about the exterior of the cathedral, describing one of the spires as a 'sort of truncated funnel ... that rises grotesquely'. From 1843 until his death, Flaubert lived and worked in his home at Croisset just a few kilometres out of Rouen. The main house has now gone, but the sunny pavilion overlooking the Seine is open to the public as a Flaubert museum. It contains memorabilia, a statue of the great author, and the stuffed par rot mentioned in A Simple Heart. Or to be more accurate, it contains one of the stuffed parrots. As Julian Bar nes explains in Flaubert's Parrot, there is more than one contender for the title. In the grounds of Flaubert's Pavilion there is one particularly interesting feature. Beneath the trees there is a stone-covered pathway, along which he used to walk when seeking inspiration for his writing. He is famous for his deter mination to find the right word (le mot juste) in his writing and often struggled to achieve the exactness and clarity of style that he desired. Near the pavilion there is the half-timbered Flaubert Bar and Restaurant. Flaubert died in 1880, aged 58, and was buried in his family's plot at the cemetery in Rouen. His grave is marked with a relatively plain tombstone. It seems appropriate that the cemetery is on a hill overlooking Rouen, with striking views across the rooftops and spires. Flaubert famously commented, 'Madame Bovary, c'est moi' ( Madame Bovary -- that's me) but as you look down on the town you realise that he could equally have said 'Rouen, c'est moi'. May 8 this year marks the 130th anniversary of Flaubert's death. That sounds like a good reason to re-read Madame Bovary, which was recently reissued by Penguin Books in their budget 'Popular Penguins' series. Maybe it will even inspire you to visit Rouen. 3 6 4 7 8 1 Madame Bovary and her lover met at Notre Dame Cathedral in Rouen. 2 Flaubert’s grave in Rouen. 3 The apartment where Flaubert spent his childhood years. 4 Many streets in central Rouen are lined with colourful, half-timbered buildings. 5 Flaubert’s parrot, perhaps? 6 View across Rouen from the cemetery where Flaubert is buried. 7 Statue of Flaubert in Place des Carmes, Rouen. 8 Flaubert’s father was a surgeon in this hospital in Rouen.