Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Flaubert, Gustave

(1821-1880) French writer. Obsessive perfectionism severely restricted his output in later years. Several of the works he produced in more slapdash fashion during his teens are extravagant fantasies, including "Rêve d'enfer" (written 1837; first reprinted in the 1922 edition of the Oeuvres complètes), in which an alchemist (see Alchemy) encounters Satan. Satan appears briefly also in the rhapsodic "La danse des morts" (written 1838; reprinted in the 1885 Oeuvres complètes; trans as "The Dance of Death" in the Complete Works of 1904) and gives a very elaborate account of himself in the drama "Smarh" (written 1839; reprinted in the 1885 Oeuvres complètes). Salammbô (1863; trans M French Sheldon 1886 UK) is a brilliant romance of antiquity; its eponymous heroine is a self-sacrificing priestess of Tanit who saves Carthage from disaster when the Goddess's sacred veil is stolen by Mathô in the hope of ensuring that the city will fall to his siege. More overtly fantastic is La tentation de Saint Antoine (1874; trans D F Hannigan as The Temptation of St Anthony 1895 UK), a landmark Christian Fantasy which redeployed the material of GF's earlier exercises in Literary Satanism to great effect, although some critics prefer an even more extravagant and exotic version written 1849-1856 and published as La première tentation de Saint Antoine (1908; trans René Francis as The First Temptation of St Anthony 1910 UK). Trois contes: Un coeur simple, La légende de Saint Julien l'Hospitalier, Hérodias (coll 1877; trans George Bernard Ives as Gustave Flaubert 1903 in the Little French Masterpieces series ed A Jessup; new trans Arthur McDowell vt Three Tales 1923 UK) includes a much gentler fantasy of the same species (the second item) as well as the melodramatic concluding tale. [BS]

Gustave Flaubert


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.