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May he roar with pain!

John Sturrock, 27 May 1993

Flaubert–Sand: The Correspondence 
translated by Barbara Bray.
HarperCollins, 428 pp., £20, March 1993, 0 00 217625 4
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Correspondence. Tome III: janvier 1859 – décembre 1868 
by Gustave Flaubert, edited by Jean Bruneau.
Gallimard, 1727 pp., frs 20, March 1991, 2 07 010669 1
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Madame Bovary: Patterns of Provincial Life 
by Gustave Flaubert, translated by Francis Steegmuller.
Everyman, 330 pp., £8.99, March 1993, 1 85715 140 2
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Madame Bovary 
by Gustave Flaubert, translated by Geoffrey Wall.
Penguin, 292 pp., £4.99, June 1992, 0 14 044526 9
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... world was the growl. The Flaubert-Sand Correspondence has been excellently translated by Francis Steegmuller and Barbara Bray, and the work divided mimetically between them by gender, with Steegmuller doing Flaubert’s letters and Bray Sand’s. Just about everything that calls for it is footnoted, and there ...

Dear Mole

Julian Barnes, 23 January 1986

Flaubert and Turgenev: A Friendship in Letters 
translated by Barbara Beaumont.
Athlone, 197 pp., £18, October 1985, 0 485 11277 9
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... is often disappointed. Editing Flaubert puts you in with the big hitters: with Jean Bruneau and Francis Steegmuller (not to mention Alphonse Jacobs, editor of the Flaubert-Sand letters). As a translator, Barbara Beaumont is workmanlike rather than exciting. For instance, is the famous, roaring Flaubertian adjective énorme best rendered by ...

Flaubert’s Bottle

Julian Barnes, 4 May 1989

Flaubert: A Biography 
by Herbert Lottman.
Methuen, 396 pp., £17.95, April 1989, 0 413 41770 0
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... first done their business. Even the best biographers in English have either stopped half-way (like Francis Steegmuller) or been too brief (like Philip Spencer); the most recommendable version of Flaubert’s life in recent years has been disguised as the two-volume Steegmuller edition of the Letters. Now comes Herbert ...


D.J. Enright, 18 September 1980

Flaubert and an English Governess 
by Hermia Oliver.
Oxford, 212 pp., £9.50, June 1980, 0 19 815764 9
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The Letters of Gustave Flaubert 1830-1857 
edited and translated by Francis Steegmuller.
Harvard, 270 pp., £7.50, March 1980, 0 674 52636 8
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... kind of writer he was, was born rather than made is plainly indicated by the first few letters in Francis Steegmuller’s excellent new selection, the first of two volumes. The opening item, addressed to a schoolfriend and written on the eve of 1831, when Flaubert was nine, includes this: ‘I’ll also send you some of my comedies. If you’d like us to ...


Michael Hofmann: Shirley Hazzard, 6 May 2021

Collected Stories 
by Shirley Hazzard.
Virago, 356 pp., £16.99, November 2020, 978 0 349 01295 7
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... a largely secretarial capacity) for the UN; she was married to the biographer and Flaubert scholar Francis Steegmuller (they were introduced by Muriel Spark, which doesn’t seem like the most propitious start) and lived with him in New York, Naples and Capri. She suffered from dementia and died in 2016.Hazzard published four novels – The Transit of ...

Galiani’s Strangeness

P.N. Furbank, 27 February 1992

A Woman, a Man and Two Kingdoms: The Story of Madame d’Epinay and the Abbé Galiani 
by Francis Steegmuller.
Secker, 280 pp., £17.99, January 1992, 0 436 48978 3
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... because of the labelling which makes this an Age of Enlightenment. This is a lengthy approach to Francis Steegmuller’s highly enjoyable A Woman, a Man and Two Kingdoms. But if I have a cavil about his book, it lies just here, and in his preface, where he describes his intentions. He takes as his text Talleyrand’s Qui n’a pas vécu dans les années ...

Writer’s Writer and Writer’s Writer’s Writer

Julian Barnes: ‘Madame Bovary’, 18 November 2010

Madame Bovary: Provincial Ways 
by Gustave Flaubert and Lydia Davis.
Penguin, 342 pp., £20, November 2010, 978 1 84614 104 1
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... In between, most of the 15 or more versions have been made by men. The best-known of them are Francis Steegmuller and Gerard Hopkins; and though Steegmuller did write some fiction – including mysteries under the name of David Keith – it’s a fair bet that Davis is the best fiction writer ever to translate the ...

Flaubert at Two Hundred

Julian Barnes: Flaubert, the Parrot and Me, 16 December 2021

... reality, it’s rarely like that. For me, a particular moment of ignition happened in 1972, when Francis Steegmuller published Flaubert in Egypt, a compilation from letters and journals of Flaubert’s trip to the Middle East in 1849-50 with his friend Maxime Du Camp. It was here that I first became consciously aware of Flaubert’s unmediated ...

On we sail

Julian Barnes: Maupassant, 5 November 2009

by Guy de Maupassant, translated by Douglas Parmée.
NYRB, 105 pp., £7.99, 1 59017 259 0
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Alien Hearts 
by Guy de Maupassant, translated by Richard Howard.
NYRB, 177 pp., £7.99, December 2009, 978 1 59017 260 5
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... for a hundred years. The novel has never been much known or valued among Anglophone readers: Francis Steegmuller, in his 1950 biography, called it ‘lamentable’, a term he also applied to Maupassant’s other high-life novel, Fort comme la mort. By their very subject matter they are set apart from what most readers consider ‘real’ Maupassant ...

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