Dictionary of Accepted Ideas by Gustave Flaubert

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See Reader Rating

Synopsis

Jacques Barzun's masterful translation proves that Flaubert's Dictionary of Accepted Ideas—an acid catalogue of the clichés of 19th-century France—is as relevant today as ever.


Throughout his life Flaubert made it a game to eavesdrop for the cliché, the platitude, the borrowed and unquestioned idea with which the “right thinking” swaddle their minds. After his death his little treasury of absurdities, of half-truths and social lies, was published as a Dictionnaire des idées reçues. Because its devastating humor and irony are often dependent on the phrasing in vernacular French, the Dictionnairewas long considered untranslatable. This notion was taken as a challenge by Jacques Barzun. Determined to find the exact English equivalent for each “accepted idea” Flaubert recorded, he has succeeded in documenting our own inanities. With a satirist’s wit and a scholar’s precision, Barzun has produced a very contemporary self-portrait of the middle-class philistine, a species as much alive today as when Flaubert railed against him.
 

About Gustave Flaubert

See more books from this Author
GUSTAVE FLAUBERT was born in Rouen in 1821, the son of a prominent physician. A solitary child, he was attracted to literature at an early age, and after his recovery from a nervous breakdown suffered while a law student, he turned his total energies to writing. Aside from journeys to the Near East, Greece, Italy, and North Africa, and a stormy liaison with the poetess Louise Colet, his life was dedicated to the practice of his art. The form of his work was marked by intense aesthetic scrupulousness and passionate pursuit of le mot juste; its content alternately reflected scorn for French bourgeois society and a romantic taste for exotic historical subject matter. The success of Madame Bovary (1857) was ensured by government prosecution for “immorality”; Salammbô (1862) and The Sentimental Education (1869) received a cool public reception; not until the publication of Three Tales (1877) was his genius popularly acknowledged. Among fellow writers, however, his reputation was supreme. His circle of friends included Turgenev and the Goncourt brothers, while the young Guy de Maupassant underwent an arduous literary apprenticeship under his direction. Increasing personal isolation and financial insecurity troubled his last years. His final bitterness and disillusion were vividly evidenced in the savagely satiric Bouvard and Pécuchet, left unfinished at his death in 1880.LYDIA DAVIS has been a MacArthur Fellow, National Book Award finalist, and Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. She was awarded the 2003 French-American Foundation Translation Prize for her translation of Marcel Proust's Swann's Way and lives near Albany, New York.JESSICA HISCHE is a letterer, illustrator, typographer, and web designer. She currently serves on the Type Directors Club board of directors, has been named a Forbes Magazine "30 under 30" in art and design as well as an ADC Young Gun and one of Print Magazine's "New Visual Artists". She has designed for Wes Anderson, McSweeney's, Tiffany & Co, Penguin Books and many others. She resides primarily in San Francisco, occasionally in Brooklyn.
 
Published January 17, 1968 by New Directions. 96 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction

Reader Rating for Dictionary of Accepted Ideas
77%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 9 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×