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Thread: French literature of the 19th century

  1. #1

    French literature of the 19th century

    I’m looking for suggestions as to what to read next after suffering panic attacks while reading Guy de Maupassant’s Bel Ami. I have ordered Pierre and Jean, and Une Vie, but I want to read something along similar lines by different authors. I only have time for about 8/10 other novels really, as I need to be getting on with other reading. I am looking mainly for prose, as I am reading Baudelaire and a few of the French Symbolists in verse, but I am open to other areas of literature or philosophy, art, music etc, if it is essential to understanding, but I am mainly fishing for prose “musts”.

    Perhaps the logical choice is to read some of Zola's novels, but which ones? Or perhaps I should turn to Flaubert’s Sentimental Education as a priority?

    Any suggestions would be most welcome.

  2. #2
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    I do not think you will go wrongly if you read Nerval and Merimee besides the obvious (Flaubert, Balzac, Hugo, Mallarme, Lautreamont, Gautier, Rimbaud, Verlaine)...

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    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
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    If you have just finished Bel-Ami, the logical book would be L'Education Sentimentale written by Maupassant's mentor Flaubert. It is a terrific novel by any standards but it's style is quite different from Maupassant's writing and a more suitable follow-up would be Zola's L'assommoir or Therese Raquin which convey the same intensely parisian atmosphere.

  4. #4
    Yes I have considered both of those, I'll add them to the list, thanks.
    Last edited by LitNetIsGreat; 08-04-2009 at 01:30 PM.

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    Infrarrealista March Hare's Avatar
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    Perhaps Stendhal's The Red and the Black among the other suggestions above.
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

    El adjetivo, cuando no da vida, mata- Huidobro

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    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by March Hare View Post
    Perhaps Stendhal's The Red and the Black among the other suggestions above.
    Yes, another great one.

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    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    Check also Gautier's tales (and poetry), Lautreaomnt's Maldoror, and don't forget Nerval or Balzac.
    Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
    The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.- Mark Twain
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  8. #8
    Thanks for all the suggestions, I have several on order now.

  9. #9
    rat in a strange garret Whifflingpin's Avatar
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    Given some of the names listed already, I am surprised that no-one has mentioned Dumas.
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    Yes, we did. We said Nerval...

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    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    Yes, we did. We said Nerval...

    Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
    The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.- Mark Twain
    My Blog: Of Delicious Recoil
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  12. #12
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    You have received many worthy suggestions, and I would like to second and place emphasis upon two in particular, Flaubert and Balzac. Good stuff!
    Also, I have heard great things about George Sand, but have never gotten around to reading her - perhaps something to keep in mind.

  13. #13
    Yes you can always rely on people here for good suggestions.

    I have ordered both the Maupassant novels, the Flaubert and Zola's Therese Raquinand. I have Maldoror and The Red and Black on standby and I have pencilled in the other suggestions. I have read a little Balzac before, but I shall strongly consider him in there too. It all depends on how long it takes me to read them before ordering the others, because I must get on with my Milton really, but as I am on holiday I should be able to race through them, with few distractions.

    Just waiting for the postman to bring my goodies, don't you just love it when you are waiting for a delivery?

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    Moon Goddess crystalmoonshin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mono View Post
    Also, I have heard great things about George Sand, but have never gotten around to reading her - perhaps something to keep in mind.
    How about "Francois le Champi"?
    Vanitas vanitatum, dixit Ecclesiastes, vanitas vanitatum, et omnia vanitas.

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  15. #15
    zealandzen
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    Maupassant had that effect on me too! Sentimental Education is a good bet.

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