At the end of Madame Bovary, Flaubert leaves Emma's dead body on display, sparing his readers nothing, even the way the rigor mortis makes her stiffened lips separate.

I don't think Flaubert was cold hearted. It's just that his words were more important than his characters.

Words are EVERYTHING for a writer. When it's really happening, the plot is born fully formed from out of the top of the heads of the words.



nk said...

Yes! That is exactly right. Flaubert was able to flout literary conventions because a literary work is something above and beyond those conventions.

Jennifer B said...

Amen to words.