[Insert usual apologies about absence here. It’s finals week. Get over it.]
I’m cuddled up in bed with the Michael Buble Holiday Pandora station set to an audible but not-too-loud volume, sipping some peppermint tea, thinking about writing the final paper for my European Novels class, and WHAT BETTER TIME THAN THAT to write a blog post, I always say!
I’m “writing” this paper on a little novel called Madame Bovary. Ever heard of it? Well I certainly hope so because PSYCH! this post is also going to be about that fabulously smutty novel and the elegantly mustachioed gentleman who wrote it. Mwahahaa PAPER RESEARCH TURNED BLOG POST. I’m efficient, motherfuckers. Get used to it.
For brevity’s sake (because it’s finals time, we get it, bitches, you gotta do whatchu gotta do) we’re going to skip over Gustave’s Flaubert’s childhood and life/career in general and just talk about the good stuff. He only had one major romantic relationship in his life, and that was with a poet-lady named Louise Colet. Colet was a righteous bitch who I just fell in love with after skimming her Wiki page. A couple years before she and Gustave started touching parts, she gave birth to a daughter, and neither her husband nor her lover (woops!) would say they were the baby-daddy. After all of her lovers (she had like four or five, not including Flaubert) kicked the bucket, she supported herself and her daughter by writing poetry. How cool is that?? Anyway, Flaubert and Colet were getting it on for, like 8 years, so it was a good chunk of time. Especially considering she was married and had an unclaimed love-baby for all of that time. After that extended tryst ended, Flaubert left Paris and moved back in with his mommy in Croisset near Rouen.
He apparently had a mistress or two before he died, but he never married and nothing with those bitches was every as serious as it was with Louise. He did, however, know (biblically speaking) probably hundreds of prostitutes. Male and Female. And he was really open about it. He wrote all about his sexploits with prostitutes from all over the world in his letters home – hopefully not to his mother, but who knows. According to such epistolary accounts, a young Turkish girl gave him a pesky cancher sore on his penis, he had anal sex with a male prostitute from Egypt who was “pock-marked” and wore a turban, and he contracted syphilis in Beirut. It was like the UN of STDs up in there.
The real scandalosity of Flaubert’s life came upon the publication of his greatest work (arguably), Madame Bovary. I would highly recommend not reading further if you have not read the book and you plan to do so at some point. Because you don’t want this shit ruined. It’s fucking juicy. Unless you don’t care, in which case, fuck it, we’ll do it live, amiright? But don’t blame me for spoiling the ending if you keep reading, MMKAY?
So, MB is published and people fucking love it. Women all over France are like, “This bitch is me! I’m Madame fucking Bovary!” And Flaubert is like, “Non non non non, Madame Bovary, c’est moi.” (He really did say that – I don’t make everything up, I swear.) But the authoritee, the man, the homme, if you will, is like, “Whooooah whooahh there, Gus, you can’t publish shit like this. Bitch has the loosest morals since, like, Eve, and she’s your heroine. Not cool.”
So the homme is like, “See you in court, son.” Because people said shit like that before SVU. And in 1856, before its extended publication, he was sued for having written the obscenity that was Madame Bovary. And guess what his defense was that allowed him to walk away and the book to become a bestseller and one of the most influential novels in history! “I killed the bitch!” How could Flaubert be condoning the character of Emma Bovary if he gave her the axe in the end? The scandal surrounding the trial made the novel’s release infinitely more popular than it would have been, probably. So joke’s on them!
If you stopped reading before because you didn’t want the book ruined, you can join us again.
Flaubert, I have come to grudgingly (since I didn’t like this class so much) realize, was a genius. I found out that he coined my favorite expression of all time, “God is in the details.” And when you read MB, you can really tell what he meant by that. The hyperdetail of MB creates a reality that is fucking holy, if you ask me. He was a perfectionist, not in his sexual health necessarily, but in his writing, and used to say “There is no such thing as a synonym, there is always a perfect word.”
Apparently I have wasted hours of my life trying to come up with synonyms for “boning.”