Critical Insights: Gustave Flaubert Review

"This volume in the Critical Insights series presents a wide array of discussion on the nineteenth-century novelist Gustave Flaubert. The book closely examines his work in addition to casting a wide eye over the literary concerns of his time. Opening essays by Tom Hubbard describe a man noted both for his painstaking attention to, and certain detachment from, precise storytelling. His signature novel Madame Bovary would come to signify a new approach to literature.
The Critical Contexts section of this volume provides four foundational essays which can help readers to understand the time in which Flaubert wrote, as well as acknowledge the criticisms he may have received. Priscilla Meyer does well in her essay “Anna Karenina: Tolstoy’s Polemic with Madame Bovary” to contrast the two great works and highlight their artistic differences even as they share the plot vehicle of a scandalous adultery.
Critical Readings embarks on a more diverse set of objectives through 11 essays which cover everything from how Flaubert treats the concepts of time and memory to his influence on modernism and his artistic relationship to other writers. Mark Conroy’s essay “Seduction by Story in Flaubert and Conrad,” for example, considers Flaubert in contrast to Joseph Conrad relative to their unique ways of conveying their hero(ine)’s struggles. Apart from Madame Bovary, the essays in this section discuss Flaubert’s L’Education Sentimentale, Bouvard et Pécuchet, Salammbó and more. Each essay comes with its own cited sources. In addition, the volume contains a chronology of Flaubert’s life, a chronological listing of his published (some incomplete) works, a good bibliography, and an index."