Sunday, October 17, 2010

Gustave Flaubert

Flaubert was obsessive about finding *le mot juste* (the right word), and would fill up to 50 draft pages for every final one in the book, with his handwriting overflowing into the margins and onto the back of each leaf. One page could take him a week.
Source: Telegraph.

In this day and age when folks knock out stories like rabbits multiplying, it's refreshing to read that someone like Gustave Flaubert took his time. Though, admittedly, it seems he was a bit obsessive, right?

11 comments:

Paul D. Brazill said...

Madame Bovary & The Sentimental Education were ones that I remember liking when I was younger. But, you know ...

David Cranmer said...

I've never read the book but saw part of the Jennifer Jones film years ago. It didn't leave much of an impression.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Can't remember the artist off hand but one who died recently only produced one painting a year some years.

Ron Scheer said...

The Claude Chabrol version of MADAME BOVARY with Isabelle Huppert is supposed to be the best. The book is a classic I started and never finished, though people keep telling me it's brilliant. I wonder how many of these early westerns I'm reading now would add up to one BOVARY. Ha.

Charles Gramlich said...

That is a bit obsessive but I can appreciate it. Sometimes I feel taht way myself.

Leah J. Utas said...

Now that's someone who cared about the language and what it means. But yeah, maybe a tad obsessive.

David Cranmer said...

Patti, Quality over quanity.

Ron, I will remember The Claude Chabrol version if I ever try and give it another spin. Doubtful though.

Charles/Leah, I hold on to stories for months, but at his rate I'd never let them go.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

That writing description reminds me of my high school technique (before I was using a computer). Talk about a jumbled, incoherent, scratched out mess! Thank goodness for technology!

David Cranmer said...

Yeah, I'd be completely lost working that way. Heck, I'm not sure how well I would have done with a typewriter. Lots of whiteout for sure.

Jodi MacArthur said...

I'm all for multiple drafts of stories, hell, sometimes a simple flash can take a couple yaers, but 50 drafts of paper for every word althuogh romantic in a nostalgic sort of way is (at laest in my opinion) retarded. How wuold one ever get anything done or grow? It's like french kissing your pillow 50 times to make sure you do it right, either you don't or do, get over it and move on with your life or um, writing project. (ahem)

David Cranmer said...

Now wait a minute, "french kissing your pillow 50 times" is wrong? Dang, just learning this at forty!