Gustave Flaubert’s famous tale “Un cœur simple” (1877) is in very close dialogue with a recent tale of his friend George Sand’s: “Les ailes de courage” (1872). Both works share an interest in the “éducation littéraire” and in the moral development of their illiterate main characters. Drawing on the eighteenth-century Rousseauistic concept of “l’enfant de la nature,” both Sand and Flaubert ask how a naïve or unschooled protagonist, attempting to make sense of his or her experience, responds to the weight of received culture: an intertextual relationship that merits more detailed study than it has previously received.
Bonin, Kate, "Troubadours, Taxidermy, and Transcendence: Reading Flaubert’s “Un cœur simple” with Sand’s “Les ailes de courage”" (2015). Modern Languages and Cultures Faculty Work. 3.