Dillluns, 12 d'octubre

Julian Barnes: "Flaubert's Parrot"

 The train-spotters's guide to Flaubert

Gustave belonged to the first railway generation in France; and he hated the invention. For a start, it was an odious means of transport. "I get so fed up on a train that after five minuts I'm howling with boredom. Passangers think it's a neglected dog; not at all, it's M. Flaubert, sighing". Secondly, it produced a new figure at the dinner table; the railway bore. Conversation on the topic gave Flaubert a colique des vagons; in june 1843 he pronounced the railways to be the third nost boring subject imaginable after Mm Lafarge (an arsenic poisoner) and the death of the Duc d'Orleans (killed in his carriage the previous year). Louise Colet, striving for modernity in her poeme "La Paysanne", allowed Jean, her soldier returning from the wars in search of his Jeanneton, to notice the running smoke of a train. Flaubert cut the line. "Jean doesn't give a damm about that sort of thing", he growled, "and nor do I."

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