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Book Title: Flaubertův papoušek|
The author of the book: Julian Barnes
Edition: Mladá fronta
The size of the: 8.85 MB
City - Country: No data
Date of issue: 1996
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
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Reader ratings: 5.3
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This book is the biography of Gustave Flaubert written by the Francophile Julian Barnes.
Or may be not, may be this is a pointless story of a widower and retired doctor, Geoffrey Braithwaite, who is as fascinated with Flaubert as is his creator.
Or if we are to get intellectual, is this a satirical meditation on writing, on reading, on the possibilities of gaining a deeper insight into the literary output of an author by studying his life, or even on the irremediably fictional nature of being able to access another person at all?
Or is it the story of the whereabouts of Loulou, Flaubert’s stuffed parrot that sat at his desk while he wrote Un Coeur simple?
So, how could I parrot Julian Barnes and write a review about my understanding of Flaubert’s Parrot? May be the parrots themselves would open up the key to my review.
FACTUAL - MIRO
This stuffed parrot is, surprisingly, a Joan Miró work of art (or part of one). It belongs to the MoMa, and is a gift of Mr. amd Mrs. Pierre Matisse. It is labeled as Stuffed Parrot on Wooden Perch, 1936.
Miro’s bird is part of an artistic concoction in which in addition to the stuffed bird he has also included a perch, a stuffed silk stocking with its garter, etc. But I am not interested in this artifice. I wanted to select only that which pertains to the bird. I am sticking to the facts.
Julian Barnes was born in 1946 and he wrote this book and it was published by Jonathan Cape in 1984. It was listed for the Booker Prize. The first edition had 190 pages. Sales Rank in Amazon.co.uk is 29,392 (as of August 12th, 2013).
BEAUTY - The Flying Wonder
And it should not surprise us that there is also beauty in this book. Barnes’s writing in this work is not particularly florid but elegant it is. I think he would agree, though, that the most beautiful passage in his book is his quote of Flaubert. The following passage shares the abstract beauty of my Flying Parrot as well as its mysterious exotic quality.
Ahead of them lay the Nile, bathed in mist, like a white sea; behind them lay the dark desert, like a petrified purple ocean. At last, a streak of orange light appeared to the east; and gradually the white sea in front of them became an immense expanse of fertile green, while the purple ocean behind them turned shimmering white.
ARCHETYPAL - PERFECT
Barnes questions whether there is a perfect reader. May be there isn’t, but I hope there is an archetypal Parrot. Does this one correspond to your idea of Parrot? Or may be you prefer other colours depending on what you have seen or imagined? For example, it could have a green body with a blue head and with a bit of pink at the end of its wings, and its neck could also have a touch of gold. If so, this parrot would be, if not perfect, at least the one that Flaubert described, (son corps était vert, le bout de ses ailes rose, son front bleu, et sa gorge dorée).
If it is difficult to find a perfect reader, or a perfect critic, what about a perfect Review for GR? Can it be attempted, or should I stick with just this Perfect Parrot and continue looking for the Perfect Review?
FUNNY - TOY
This being a book written by Barnes, it is peppered with his unmistakable clever witticism. But as humour can only be triggered from its own context, examples or quotes will not do. I would have to append a silly and ineffectual “and this made me laugh” to elicit the desired effect.
But I’ll have to admit that I did laugh out loud several times.
TRIPARTITE – Chronology
May be because he wants to cater for all tastes, Barnes, or is it Braithwaite, presents three different chronologies of Flaubert’s life. Of course I have my favourite. Out of the two formulaic ones --the pessimistic and the optimistic-- and the one constructed with quotes from Flaubert’s diaries and letters, I pick the latter.
And should I choose the blue parrot?
MODERNIST – Multiplicity
The three chronologies indicate that Barnes is aware of multiplicity of viewpoints. This issue he addresses multiple times as well, both directly and indirectly. What is Biography writing?. Multiple parrots or multiple personas?. The core of Modernism.
But I prefer not to post a photo of a Disembodied Parrot. Not all Modernism is interesting.
Unavoidably, even documents with direct utterances, such as letters and diaries are suspect. Can we trust perception, and what about projections?
APOCRYPHAL – In Shadows
Barnes explores even what it not there in Flaubert’s life, or rather, what never became his literary output. He could have written many more works, but given his highly engaged way of labouring over his novels, and the huge amount of research he undertook for each, these ghosts of ideas had to remain just as shadows of never-to-be books.
WHY the PARROT?
What I think Barnes does not address is why Flaubert had a stuffed parrot on his desk? May be it was a culture thing, a nineteenth century French obsession with the eroticism of this very smart bird.
Courbet and Delacroix had a similar interest in Parrots. These paintings may give as an idea in which way they thought of them.
In the end, though, with all my parroting, I do not think I have given you a real bird nor have you learnt much about parrots.
This whole effort will remain futile, as happens with a great deal of writing, unless you want to give meaning to it.
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Read information about the authorJulian Patrick Barnes is a contemporary English writer of postmodernism in literature. He has been shortlisted three times for the Man Booker Prize--- Flaubert's Parrot (1984), England, England (1998), and Arthur & George (2005), and won the prize for The Sense of an Ending (2011). He has written crime fiction under the pseudonym Dan Kavanagh.
Following an education at the City of London School and Merton College, Oxford, he worked as a lexicographer for the Oxford English Dictionary. Subsequently, he worked as a literary editor and film critic. He now writes full-time. His brother, Jonathan Barnes, is a philosopher specialized in Ancient Philosophy.
He lived in London with his wife, the literary agent Pat Kavanagh, until her death on 20 October 2008.
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