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"Dried Fruits": Flaubert, Marx, and the Literary-Historical Event

Bray, PM; (2020) "Dried Fruits": Flaubert, Marx, and the Literary-Historical Event. Modern Language Quarterly , 81 (4) pp. 419-440. 10.1215/00267929-8637898. Green open access

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Abstract

This essay looks at Gustave Flaubert’s L’éducation sentimentale as a “literary-historical event,” that is, an event that becomes legible only by a literary text. Flaubert’s novel attempted to turn the ambiguous political events of 1848 and the coup d’état of Napoleon III into a literary manifesto and a history of his generation. One of the novel’s early titles was “Dried Fruits,” which conveys a sense of preserved youth or even lost potential that can be exploited later. Flaubert’s novel explores what changes over time and what inevitably repeats in apparently singular historical events. Similarly, Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte famously uses literary and theatrical tropes to explain the same events as Flaubert as they unfolded. Both Flaubert and Marx show us that literary form (irony, farce, attention to linguistic repetition) participates in the politicization of, and the resistance to, historical events.

Type: Article
Title: "Dried Fruits": Flaubert, Marx, and the Literary-Historical Event
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1215/00267929-8637898
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1215/00267929-8637898
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: event, French theory, Gustave Flaubert, Karl Marx, 1848
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10119740
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