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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.


This article was originally published in The French Review.

Bonin, Kate M. “Troubadours, Taxidermy, and Transcendence: Reading Flaubert’s ‘Un cœur simple’ with Sand’s ‘Les ailes de courage.’” French Review 88.3 (March 2015): 177-88.

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