Books: C'Esf Moi

INTIMATE NOTEBOOK 1840-1841 by Gustave Flaubert. 68 pages. Doubleday. $4.

If the parents of 17-year-old Gustave Flaubert had sneaked a look at their son's private journal, they might never have urged him to study for the law. Fortunately for Flaubert, and for his future readers, he defied his parents and chose to keep on writing.

The journal that traces the origins of that choice has long since disappeared. But in 1960, a grandniece of Flaubert's produced a copy that she had transcribed years before. This first English translation by Flaubert Scholar Francis Steegmuller makes it clear once more that even in his...

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