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Flaubert in the Ruins of Paris

Peter Brooks

Tuesday, February 4, 2014, 7:00 p.m.

The ruins of Paris left by the bloody repression of the Paris Commune in the spring of 1871 at once became a tourist attraction and the subject of remarkable photographic collections made for the tourist trade. Flaubert took the train from Rouen to Paris just as soon as it was possible to do so, and visited the ruins in the company of Maxime Du Camp. He linked his reaction to the ruins to the incomprehension that had met his novel of some eighteenth months earlier, L’Education sentimentale. The lecture will explore that link.

brooks_peter.jpgPeter Brooks is Sterling Professor of Comparative Literature Emeritus at Yale University, where he was the Founding Director of the Whitney Humanities Center, and is currently Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholar in the University Center for Human Values and the Department of Comparative Literature, Princeton University. 

He is the author of several books, including Enigmas of Identity (Princeton University Press, 2011); Henry James Goes to Paris (Princeton University Press, 2007), Realist Vision (Yale University Press, 2005), Troubling Confessions: Speaking Guilt in Law and Literature (University of Chicago Press, 2000), Psychoanalysis and Storytelling (Blackwell, 1994), Body Work (Harvard University Press, 1993), Reading for the Plot (Knopf, 1984), and The Melodramatic Imagination (Yale University Press, 1976); and two works of fiction. A collection of Balzac tales and novellas he has edited and introduced, The Human Comedy: Selected Stories, is forthcoming from New York Review Books.