Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for September 2nd, 2014

The first Madame Bovary

leave a comment »

Portrait of Gustave Flaubert by Eugène Giraud

The story or plot of a novel is of no interest to me. When I write a novel I have in mind rendering a color, a shade. For example, in my Carthaginian novel I want to do something purple. In Madame Bovary all I was after was to render a special tone, that color of the moldiness of a wood louse’s existence. The plot of the novel was so little a subject of concern to me that, a few days before beginning to write, I had still in mind a different character to the one I created. My first Madame Bovary was to have been set in the surroundings and painted in the tone I actually used, but she was to have been a chaste and devout old maid. And then I saw that this would be an impossible character.

Gustave Flaubert, as quoted by the Goncourts

Written by nevalalee

September 2, 2014 at 9:00 am

%d bloggers like this: