Salammbo: A Romance of Ancient Carthage

Excerpt

The French man of genius whose masterpiece is now for the first time presented in English to the attention of the Anglo- Saxon world was thirty-six years of age before he had published anything, and had attained the ripe age of forty-one when Salammbô made its appearance. Gustave Flaubert was born in the old town of Rouen, in Normandy, on the 12th of December, 1821. Both his father and his brother were noted physicians and surgeons, a fact which probably prompted Sainte-Beuve, when he came to criticise and to praise Gustave Flaubert, to remark that the author handled his pen as others handled the scalpel. The father was for more than thirty years chief surgeon of the Hôtel Dieu in Rouen, and was the author of many valuable treatises on medical science. The son Gustave, who had a passionate admiration for his elder brother, had determined to study medicine; but he soon perceived, says an acute biographer, that the observation of the phenomena of the moral order was better suited to his character, and he abruptly closed his scientific studies and turned to literature.

There are few instances in letters of a career so tardily begun ripening so quickly into renown, or concentrating into a few years so many excitements, struggles, debates, and victories. As soon as he had taken his great resolve, Flaubert . . .

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • London
Publication year:
  • 1885

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