Bouvard and Pécuchet

Gustave Flaubert

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"Bouvard and Pécuchet" is a satirical work by Gustave Flaubert. "Bouvard and Pécuchet" details the adventures of two Parisian copy-clerks, François Denys Bartholomée Bouvard and Juste Romain Cyrille Pécuchet, of the same age and nearly identical temperament. They meet one hot summer day in 1838 by the canal Saint-Martin and form an instant, symbiotic friendship. When Bouvard inherits a sizable fortune, the two decide to move to the countryside. They find a large property near the town of Chavignolles in Normandy. Their search for intellectual stimulation leads them, over the course of years, to flounder through almost every branch of knowledge. Flaubert uses their quest to expose the hidden weaknesses of the sciences and arts, as nearly every project Bouvard and Pécuchet set their minds on comes to grief. Their endeavours are interleaved with the story of their deteriorating relations with the local villagers; and the Revolution of 1848 is the occasion for much despondent discussion. The manuscript breaks off unfinished near the end of the novel.

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