Flaubert’s novel has perplexed and rankled the Anglo-Saxon sensibility too much for one to pretend that there is any real consensus in this country as to its greatness. No other French novel has given us so apt a cue for defining the very different virtues of our own tradition; none has evoked in us such deeply-felt resistance. Our praise of Flaubert has been invariably double-edged, our criticisms of him have often been conducted as declarations of faith. It seems at times as if he had been more debated here than read. This holds for his friends as well as his enemies. When Pound and Eliot used him as a whip with which to chastise the artistic immaturity of the English they were, in a way, as guilty of making Flaubert subserve their own critical battles as is Dr Leavis in those stern asides which offer him up on the altar of the ‘great tradition’. What is there to choose between making Flaubert a war-cry or a bête noire? Yet when the English critic of Flaubert comes up against this kind of road-block it hardly helps him if he tries to by-pass it. To by-pass Pound, Eliot, Leavis — perhaps Arnold, James and Lawrence too — is to by-pass part of one’s own thought about literature. What seems like a detour is really the most direct route into the subject.
KeywordsDust Cage Amid Flare Assure
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- 1.See Georges-Paul Collet, George Moore et la France (1957)Google Scholar
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