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フロベールの鸚鵡

ジュリアン バーンズ
斎藤 昌三
単行本
白水社
293ページ
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フロベールの鸚鵡 (白水Uブックス―海外小説の誘惑)

ジュリアン バーンズ
Julian Barnes
新書
白水社
294ページ
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Flaubert's Parrot

Flaubert's Parrot is a novel by Julian Barnes that was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1984 and won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize the following year. The novel recites amateur Gustave Flaubert expert Geoffrey Braithwaite's musings on his subject's life, and his own, as he looks for a stuffed parrot that inspired the great author.

Plot summary

The novel follows Geoffrey Braithwaite, a widowed, retired English doctor, visiting France and Flaubert locations. While visiting sites related to Flaubert, Geoffrey encounters two incidences of museums claiming to display the stuffed parrot which sat atop Flaubert's writing desk for a brief period while he wrote Un Coeur Simple. While trying to identify which is authentic Braithwaite ultimately learns that Flaubert's parrot could be any one of fifty ("Une cinquantaine de perroquets!", p. 187) that had been held in the collection of the municipal museum.

Although the main focus of the narrative is tracking down the parrot, many chapters exist independently of this plotline, consisting of Braithwaite's reflections, such as on Flaubert's love life and how it was affected by trains, and animal imagery in Flaubert's works and the animals with which he himself was identified (usually a bear, but also a dog, sheep, camel and parrot).

Themes

One of the central themes of the novel is subjectivism. The novel provides three sequential chronologies of Flaubert's life: the first is optimistic (citing his successes, conquests, etc.), the second is negative (citing the deaths of his friends/lovers, his failures, illnesses etc.) and the third compiles quotations written by Flaubert in his journal at various points in his life. The attempts to find the real Flaubert mirror the attempt to find his parrot, i.e. apparent futility.

References

External links

  • Julian Barnes discusses Flaubert's Parrot on the BBC World Book Club
  • Julian Barnes Website (Flaubert's Parrot), with extensive bibliography of translations and scholarly articles.




From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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