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Commemorating TraumaThe Paris Commune and Its Cultural Aftermath$
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Peter Starr

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780823226030

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823226030.001.0001

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The Party of Movement: Flaubert's Bouvard et Pécuchet

The Party of Movement: Flaubert's Bouvard et Pécuchet

(p.116) 5 The Party of Movement: Flaubert's Bouvard et Pécuchet
Commemorating Trauma

Peter Starr

Fordham University Press

This chapter argues that Flaubert effectively implies and subverts a series of traditional liberal values—those of freedom, culture, judgment, and individual distinction—while nonetheless taking his “revenge” on those who would deny such values. After briefly considering how Flaubert's reprise of melancholy vitalism in Bouvard results in a form of what LaCapra has called “post-traumatic writing,” the chapter concludes by examining two variants of the late nineteenth-century French Liberal response to an agonistic quality inherent in the era's mounting democratism, contrasting the melancholy ambivalence or double-voicedness of Ernest Renan's writings circa 1871 with what the author calls the antiagonistic strategies of Flaubert's contemporaneous novels. Bouvard and Pécuchet actually take up the matter of universal suffrage on the tenth of December 1848, when “all the people of Chavignolles voted for Bonaparte.”

Keywords:   Flaubert, liberal values, melancholy vitalism, LaCapra, Ernest Renan, antiagonistic strategies, Bouvard, Pécuchet, suffrage

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