By Gustave Flaubert
Hérodias, along with of Un Cœur Simple (A Simple Heart) and La Légende de Saint-Julien l'Hospitalier (The Legend of St. Julian the Hospitaller), form a trio of short stories published in 1876, and they rank with the finest of Flaubert's work. They are indeed, as Mr. George Saintsbury says, and Zola and other critics have not failed to remark, "examples, and very perfect examples, of all the styles which have made him famous. A Simple Heart displays exactly the same qualities of minute and exact observation, the same unlimited fidelity of draughtsmanship which distinguish Madame Bovary and Sentimental Education. The Legend of St. Julian the Hospitaller shows the same power over the mystical and the vague which is shown in The Temptation of St. Anthony. Herodias has the gorgeousness, the barbaric colours, and the horror of Salammbo.
Hérodias is the retelling of the beheading of John the Baptist.
Herodias gives a big birthday feast for her second husband, Antipas. Herodias abandoned a daughter for Antipas, only because her ambitions would be better served with him.
John the Baptist is already being held in detention, but Antipas has no wish to execute him. Herodias concocts a successful plan for getting Jon the Baptist finally decapitated.
The Italian writer Italo Calvino has praised the Three Tales (of which Hérodias is one) as "one of the most extraordinary spiritual journeys ever accomplished outside any religion."
Gustave Flaubert (December 12, 1821 – May 8, 1880) was a French novelist of the realistic era. He is considered one of the greatest Western writers. Flaubert was a pure stylist. He avoided the inexact expressions, abstract or not quite fitting writing which plague ordinary writing. He hated clichés. This explains the inordinate amount of time he spent on some his works, writing and rewriting portions. He also was averse to bourgeois stupidity. Madame Bovary is his masterpiece.
Project Bilingual (A division of Wolf Pup Books) is a continuing project making available great original French writers' texts along with their English translation. This edition, which offers after every original language paragraph its translation, makes both grammar and vocabulary checks as painless as possible. Idiomatic forms that could be overlooked can be easily detected.
Furthermore, large paragraphs have been broken down to much smaller units so that the check is as effortless as possible. We do hope that by reading French writers that defined the language itself or whose work permeated the French culture, you will be able to get the maximum benefit from this language series. Although this edition is not a replacement for traditional methods of learning language, it is a very powerful tool to speed up the process once you have attained the intermediate level and beyond.
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Published September 19, 2011
by Wolf Pup Books.
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