“A Sentimental Education" is Flaubert's novel. In 1863 Flaubert decides to take up a novel called " A Sentimental Education" the first edition of which was created as far back as 1843-1845. (published in 1910). In that work he described his "great love" to Eliza Schlesinger. In 1865 and 1867 in Mante Flaubert meets Madame Elise again. Taking up work on the second version, the writer repeatedly revised his plans. First he wanted to write a script, then the story of his generation: "I want to write a moral history of people of my generation; perhaps, rather, the history of feelings ... This is a book about love, about passion which can exist now, that is inactive." Flaubert is seriously preparing to create a novel.
“A Sentimental Education" in some way exhausts the romantic theme about the history of a young man. Flaubert sums up all the traditionally romantic lines of confessional narration, while sharply reducing ironically their pathos. Of course, his Frederick Moreau is a big dreamer. He loves romantic things and loves the Middle Ages and wants to become a French Walter Scott, conceives the novel "Silvio – a son of a fisherman", actions of which should take place in Venice, and for the possession of Antony the hero intends to kill several nobles. Flaubert wittily parodies the plot of the romantic work of Frederick. But work on the novel is abandoned as soon as Moreau arrives in Paris. True, here he continues his education: he listens to lectures in the Chinese language, then he begins to write German waltzes, then he is going to compose the history of the Renaissance. But all his dreams remain unfulfilled: he was not destined to become a minister, as well as a North American hunter.
Having received a bachelor's degre, he decides to leave Nogent forever for Paris. The inheritance that Frederick accidentally received allowed him to do nothing in Paris: just to live. Now he dreams of becoming an artist to be introduced to Mrs. Arnou, whose family he happened to meet. Seeing Madame Arnoux Frederic was shocked and realized that she was his ideal. A woman who reminded him of his favorite romantic heroines from the works of Chateaubriand, Musset, Byron and, of course, Goethe, subdued Frederic at first sight and for the rest of his life.
To the sensitivity of Frederic, his lofty love Flaubert contrasted the sober nature of Madame Arnoux, the embodiment of bourgeois nepotism and religiosity. Because of this Frederick's love turned out to be hopeless: he never became the lover of Madame Arnoux (and when he could become, he did not want to). His passion was extinguished, Mrs. Arnoux aged. And yet he was rewarded: to commemorate their eternal love Mme. Arnoux, before leaving forever, leaves him a strand of gray hair. The author's irony is justified as Frederick's "high" love developed in parallel with other love affairs: the courtesan Rosanette, Ms. Dambreuse, the wife of the banker, Louise Rocque, the wealthy successor to the bourgeois Mr. Rocca, who made his fortune on the machinations, the neighbor of Nogent . "Heart dramas" of the hero look comical, since the intensity of his meetings, for example, with Ms. Dambrez, falls at a time when her husband is seriously ill, and Rosanette is going to give birth. But this side of his "dual" life does not confuse Frederic. He is looking for a completely romantic excuse: "he is delighted in his soul by his depravity."
Hypocrisy, egocentrism, are so-called romantic "upbringing", hence the narcissism of Frederick. Frederick remained indifferent to public affairs, he was so absorbed in his own affairs, but about the political events the hero hears himself: his childhood friends Delorme, Senecal, Dussardieu gather in his apartment to discuss various problems, and Frederic himself owns all the devices of romantic revolutionary phraseology. Frederic is in favor of a very vague revolution: he is for a tax on rent, a pan-European federation, a wide encouragement of fine arts. But his romanticism in politics is more honest than the intentions of his friends to "snatch a share" in the previous coup. Fighting on the barricades, he preferred an idyll with Rosanette in the bosom of nature in Fontainebleau.
Delorme is more ambitious than Frederic, but "the old defender of the people" is imbued with hatred towards people, because the revolution does not give him what he would want: a lucrative place, well-being. Senakal, whose opinion is worshiped by Delorme, betrayed the revolution, read the writings of Utopian socialists, participated in secret Blanquist societies, was persecuted by the police and was exiled to hard labor on the island of Belle-Ile. But after the coup d'état on December 2, 1851, he was in the ranks of policemen, shot at a demonstration and killed Dussardier, and with him a beautiful but unrealizable dream of the freedom of mankind and an ideal republic.
The artist Pellerin, who despite his anti-sociality, took a great interest in the general flow of the revolution and even painted a picture-allegory in the republican spirit "Jesus Christ managing a locomotive, which rushes in the virgin forest. " Satirically depicted in the novel are all sections of society in their attitude towards the revolution. Former aristocrat Dambrez, who refused the count's title of d'Ambrez, in the expectation of further industrial and financial transactions after the coming of the king-citizen Louis-Philippe. Although he secretly dreams of a traditional monarchy, he is ready to adapt to any power, even a "social republic".
No less grotesque are the industrialist Fiumishon, the obsequious Martinon, the careerist journalist Hussonnet. The instinct of self-preservation is inherent in all the bourgeois regardless of the capital they own: Mr. Arnou, able to come out of the water in all situations; Mr. Rock, who desires to serve freedom (being in the National Guard, performs a "feat" by shooting the asking insurgent bread asking him for bread).
And in the insurrectionary people Flaubert sees only "ragamuffin winners" who, having broken into the royal palace of the Tuileries, all break down, destroy everything only in order to show their power. "In the anteroom on the pile of clothes stood a public maid, portraying the statue of Liberty, motionless, terrible, with wide-open eyes," such is the image of Flaubert's people-ruler. Receiving an image of an object from the position of the subject perceiving it in this novel receives the limiting expression. Therefore, for the grand events of 1848 the reader looks through the eyes of Frederic, too busy with himself to understand what is happening. That's why, having met, Frederic and Delormier did not find a better memory than visiting in a brothel's youth. "This is the best thing that we had in life," Frederic said. "Yes, perhaps, the best that we had in life," confirmed Delormier. These words end the novel about the generation, in which beautiful love remained a dream, high impulses turned out to be insignificant deeds, their romantic characters marked with the stamp of degeneration.