Scholarly article on topic 'The Alibi in the Universe of Flaubertian Dedublation'

The Alibi in the Universe of Flaubertian Dedublation Academic research paper on "Philosophy, ethics and religion"

CC BY-NC-ND
0
0
Share paper
Keywords
{"construction of the self" / alibi / controversy / contradiction / deculpabilization / discrepancy / dissimulation}

Abstract of research paper on Philosophy, ethics and religion, author of scientific article — Ioana-Paula Armăsar

Abstract The unity of Gustave Flaubert's work resides in the consciousness unravelled by equally strong contrary tendencies. Flaubert's dedublation can be encountered both in the puzzling form of the discrepancy between the characters’ psychological significance and the psychological meaning of the literary comment typical to Flaubert. When writing his correspondence, he is situated between the angle drawn by his real self and what he consciously lets his friends perceive, just like in the ancient Greek mask theatre. Furthermore, he swings between the temptation to emphasize his propensity towards the idea of implacable determinism and the resilience by means of the impersonality illusion. Facing numerous controversies which he himself has generated, the author rejects any “guilt”, considering that the guarantee of objectiveness lies in the fact that literature is kept within the limits of a case; but it is the very choice of the “slice of life” which uncovers the writer's orientation. Imagining a case that proves nothing, Flaubert directly and indirectly reveals his own pessimistic view on reality. The writer wholeheartedly wishes to believe in the existence of a world dominated by love and morality, but his book, Madame Bovary, proves the very contrary. Drawing on the psychic mechanism of the alibi, as a complex and refined cultural constant, the paper looks into Flaubert's dedublation universe, presenting this psychic phenomenon as a strategy to listen to one's own ego. As he refuses both reality and dream, Flaubert defies reality from the point of view of the dream, and mocks at the dream from the point of view of the reality. Using a total contradiction and turning impartiality into an alibi, Flaubert succeeds in changing emptiness into plenitude in a remarkably unique manner.

Academic research paper on topic "The Alibi in the Universe of Flaubertian Dedublation"

Available online at www.sciencedirect.com

SciVerse ScienceDirect

Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 63 (2012) 195 - 202

The 4th Edition of the International Conference: Paradigms of the Ideological Discourse 2012

The Alibi in the Universe of Flaubertian Dedublation

Ioana-Paula Armasara*

Lecturer, PhD, "Transilvania" University o/Bra§ov, EroilorStreet, no.25, Bra§ov,500030, Romania

Abstract

The unity of Gustave Flaubert's work resides in the consciousness unravelled by equally strong contrary tendencies. Flaubert's dedublation can be encountered both in the puzzling form of the discrepancy between the characters' psychological significance and the psychological meaning of the literary comment typical to Flaubert. When writing his correspondence, he is situated between the angle drawn by his real self and what he consciously lets his friends perceive, just like in the ancient Greek mask theatre. Furthermore, he swings between the temptation to emphasize his propensity towards the idea of implacable determinism and the resilience by means of the impersonality illusion. Facing numerous controversies which he himself has generated, the author rejects any "guilt", considering that the guarantee of objectiveness lies in the fact that literature is kept within the limits of a case; but it is the very choice of the "slice of life" which uncovers the writer's orientation. Imagining a case that proves nothing, Flaubert directly and indirectly reveals his own pessimistic view on reality. The writer wholeheartedly wishes to believe in the existence of a world dominated by love and morality, but his book, Madame Bovary, proves the very contrary. Drawing on the psychic mechanism of the alibi, as a complex and refined cultural constant, the paper looks into Flaubert's dedublation universe, presenting this psychic phenomenon as a strategy to listen to one's own ego. As he refuses both reality and dream, Flaubert defies reality from the point of view of the dream, and mocks at the dream from the point of view of the reality. Using a total contradiction and turning impartiality into an alibi, Flaubert succeeds in changing emptiness into plenitude in a remarkably unique manner.

© 2012 TheAuthors.PublishedbyElsevier Ltd.Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of Dunarea de Jos UniversityofGalati

Keywords: construction of the self; alibi; controversy; contradiction; deculpabilization; discrepancy; dissimulation.

* Ioana-Paula Armasar. Tel.: +4-073-517-0399; fax: +4-026-847-4059. E-mail address: paula.armasar@yahoo.fr

1877-0428 © 2012 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of Dunarea de Jos University of Galati doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.10.030

i. Introduction

Any dictionary shows that the word "alibi" means "evidence whereby a suspect attempts to prove their innocence ascertaining that they were elsewhere than at the place of commission, at the time of the commission of a crime".

In our research on the dedublation of personality - which is a very frequently encountered psychological phenomenon, often detectable with famous as well as with common individuals - we have also examined the case of a particular type of personality namely writers whose work permits and requires certain cover strategies.

Both truth and deception are, in the course of nature, subject to change but the constant need for truth and deception remains a constant. It is in that very moment that the writer's torment becomes manifest: in this need that must be incessantly nourished [1].

The concept of alibi comprises the element of dissimulation without being, at the same time, camouflage, compensation or substitution. In relation to the juridical acceptation of the word, in it's figurative meaning alibi designates the effort of the individual to obtain cover for an "attraction" that does not involve a criminal responsibility but a moral one.

Between the alibi and the psychological phenomena of camouflage, substitution, compensation and exculpation there are common points which contribute to the formulation of its implications: the element of dissimulation is encountered in camouflage and compensation, the self-justification tendency can be found in compensation, substitution and exculpation, etc.

In its figurative sense, the alibi is a particular and autonomous psychological phenomenon. Stemming from a certain feeling of guilt, in most cases it is devoid of reason, somehow gratuitous, as in reality the individual is not guilty of anything (even if everyone is familiar with the proverb: "Qui s'excuse s'accuse!"/"He who excuses himself, accuses himself!") (our translation).

The alibi manifests itself at different levels becoming intellectualized and complex, according to each individual. As an example, we can take the simple and unsophisticated phenomenon of everyday life when a joke about shy people is made in the presence of such individuals; they simulate their participation in the general laughter even if they perceive themselves as targets. This fact acquires profoundness and subtlety if we thing about Marcel Proust, among many other writers, who didn't speak very highly of homosexuality in his novel A la recherche du temps perdu in spite of the attraction that he himself experienced.

The psychological mechanism of the alibi is a constant in certain complex and refined domains of culture such as art and philosophy but it is preponderantly in literature that it manifests itself.

2. Objective and subjective in Flaubert's Prose

Hereinafter we will analyze the manner in which the concept of alibi operates in literature by exemplifying with the most complex and refined writer (as compared to any other writer) Gustave Flaubert and his novel Madame Bovary.

According to the theories of Jules de Gaultier[2], the Bovarysm that Madame Bovary initiated is an inner effort of individuals to view themselves as entirely different human beings than they actually are both for themselves and for the others. Therefore, it would be very interesting to discover the extent to which Gustave Flaubert's Bovarysm is an alibi phenomenon.

The discussion on the objectivity and subjectivity of Madame Bovary's author has already become classic. Flaubert resolves the conflict between the real and the illusive by means of a negative, pessimistic view of reality.

The issue of his main character's moral responsibility is traditionally linked both to the freedom of decision and to the ability to choose.

If human beings are not able to choose freely then they can't be held responsible for their acts. If he rendered Emma Bovary responsible for the failure of the conjugal moral laws, the author wouldn't have complied with the exigencies of his objective poetics.

Therefore determinism, as a method, "justifies" Emma's crime "in preparing the ground" for her adulterous love (education, readings, dreams and reveries, portrait of the husband devised precisely to contradict all the heroine's ideals, contact with the world of the wealthy, Rodolphe who situates himself between social prestige and the shrewdness of an old Don Juan, Léon's innocence - halo of discretion, desolation and crumbling of religious illusions when Rodolphe abandons her).

When describing Emma's path to adultery it is interesting to notice that Flaubert came up with objective reasons that could somehow justify the crime: there had to be an education which was incompatible with reality, an education which would render Emma incapable of perceiving, in her husband, the qualities and virtues within reach. She had to enter the world of the wealthy precisely when she had just been starting to get used to her mediocre lifestyle; Rodolphe had to have the prerogatives of high social standing and the ability of a philanderer and, furthermore, Charles had to display his medical incompetence. As regards Léon, the young secretary with the insight of an exceptional writer, Flaubert suggests that this man's false candor was more dangerous than Rodolphe's arrogance.

Only once does the author insist upon the idea of the determinism of human actions thus jeopardizing the integrity of the literary portrait of Charles Bovary namely when the latter tells Rodolphe, when musing on his wife's adultery and his own death, that "c'est la fatalité le coupable!"/"it is fate that is to blame!"(our translation). He explicitly and overtly supports this idea in asserting that this is the only profound thought ever uttered by his character. But this statement is not in accordance with the character style of Charles Bovary who had always been described as ignorant and slow-witted. We have to insist upon the fact that the Charles Bovary-Emma Bovary couple was constructed in such a way that the female character could never see her husband's sole virtue, namely that he loved her sincerely and that he dedicated himself entirely to his family.

On the one hand Flaubert didn't resist the temptation of emphasizing, even at the expense of the artistic continuity of his work, his attachment to the idea of implacable determinism, of the foreordination of human actions. On the other hand, Flaubert had successfully resisted the temptations of his theme: he avoided the embellishment of the laws that govern the world, he pointed out that values are not, nor could they ever be durable. He did not pronounce a moral condemnation of Emma Bovary. The writer draws attention to the fact that any critical scrutiny of our ideals is bound to uncover a vulgar reality and believed that individuals should not touch their idols as the gilt would remain on their hands.

When describing Madame Bovary's state in her quest for the exceptional and the ideal, Flaubert [3], remarks that "elle retrouvait en adultère tout ce qui était fade dans le marriage"/"in adultery she rediscovered everything that had been dreary in marriage"(our translation). Emma's passion for Léon progressively faded as they became better acquainted with each other. Flaubert's idea seemed to be that eternal values only exist in human aspirations and all efforts to attain these values ends in despair and agony. The message is ancient and melancholic: over the years, even the greatest and most profound passions lose their charm (Emma was not only disappointed by Léon's ethical personality but she also lost the illusion that love can be stronger than habit).

Flaubert doesn't deny the sublime of hidden love. He only notices, given the human nature, that it is utterly impossible. It is important to see whether the conclusions that are suggested to the reader are devoid of subjectivity and if the writer's ideas don't have an extreme and excessively protective form at the expense of what would be psychologically and sociologically plausible.

The literary portrait of the grocer's character, often bordering on caricature, avoids almost any psychological analysis of Homais's behavior. The writer does not make any effort to shed light upon the secret mechanism of this character. The author doesn't find, and doesn't even try to offer, more psychological reasons or any justification whatsoever for any of this character's actions. Flaubert exaggerates even in the caricature dimension that he embarks upon, almost to the point of turning Homais's character into an artificial construction from an artistic and psychological point of view.

This portrait represents an absolute antithesis to the artistic and psychological interpretation of the female main character. With Homais there is the voluntary omission of the fundamental principle of literary-psychological determinism whereas for Emma Bovary there is a deterministic and artistic vision, elaborated from a literary point of view.

The success of the grocer is counterbalanced by the absolute failure of the Bovary family. What raises the reader's doubt regarding the writer's impartiality in creating the grocer's character is the proportion of Homais's success and chance [4]: "Homais était le plus heureux père, le plus chanceux des gens"/Homais was the happiest father, the most fortunate of men" (our translation).

Regarding the force of destiny, Flaubert once again proves his lack of objectivity: we have already pointed out that Charles Bovary experiences all possible misfortunes; Emma's tragic end is not permeated by any profound ethics, given the implacable determinism of her crimes; poor Hyppolyte who became the victim of Charles Bovary's medical science had not deserved his suffering either.

The collapse of religious illusions and the hopelessness of human beings at a deadlock are revealed by Flaubert in the dramatic description of Emma Bovary pathetic attempt to earn God's aid, mercy and redemption. The discussion with Father Bournisien portrays her as a woman who is a victim of circumstances. This scene which takes place when passing through a cathedral inevitably becomes a form of reproach for the implacable and indifferent laws governing the unfolding of human life. A human being who is suffering and who hopelessly seeks divine help - this is the underlying philosophical message of the above mentioned scene. The scene of Madame Bovary's death definitively completes our image of the author's attitude towards the religious view and towards the world's ethical considerations in general. This is the moment of Madame Bovary's most fierce torments. Death receives Flaubert's despondent heroine not with a promise of another, better life but with something of the cruel message of the blind man's song who happens, at that very instant, to pass by her windows. Taking all that into account, the reader compassionately understands Charles Bovary's cry [5]: "je haïs ce Bon Dieu, qui est le vôtre ! "/"I hate this Good God of yours!" (our translation). This cry is another one of Charles Bovary's great words which reveals the fact that he doesn't quite resemble the mediocre and primitive fellow that Flaubert himself had suggested to his readers (between the incompatibility of the character structure and this thought, we have to reexamine the writer's intervention).

3. A Poetics of Melancholy

Some of Flaubert's observations on intrinsic sadness and melancholy would help us in detecting his profound philosophical intentions. In his work we discover a monolithic unity, sometimes even ideal, between the general psychological meaning of the novel and the particular forms of expression of its meaning.

When in Madame Bovary's death portrayal the writer states that the woman's eyes resemble two lamps that are fading out, this comparison perfectly corresponds to the psychological context of the scene. However, there are plenty of aspects in the novel in which the correlation between the different significances of the book was not fully accomplished. In this sense, an illustrative example would be that of the descriptions of the churches. All the rendered details emanate an aura of sadness that could only be rationalized through the author's preeminent melancholy. His propensity towards a certain melancholic nihilism is perceivable in the other descriptions of the Bovaryst novel. These descriptions of nature are not logically consonant with the characters' state of mind. Discretely, almost imperceptibly even, Flaubert's sadness radiates from the flutter of the birds' wings, from the crow's long caws or from a monotone voice from afar, beyond the forest, etc.

Perhaps Flaubert's tendency is visible in the fact that he made possible the existence of some effects otherwise very well justified from a psychological point of view. For instance, it is only logical that the memory of Léon, the secretary, persist in Emma's heart for a long time. In the text of the novel, the writer even provided some necessary elements that would render the persistence of this memory and the pain it provokes perfectly intelligible from a psychological point of view. The dissipation of Emma's passion normally entails the progressive disappearance of her melancholy. If the writer had in fact conformed to his own objectivistic conceptions, he would have adapted his commentary on the progressive diminishing of Emma's passion to what was objectively happening with his heroine. In this case, all considerations would have obviously been less melancholic. The mild image of the red sky turning, little by little, into shadow reflects Flaubert's rather than Emma's state of mind.

The incongruities between various intentional moments of the novel occur in a significant number of cases in even more radical and more obvious forms. This aspect is demonstrated by the episode of the rekindling of Emma and Rodolphe's romance.

The psychological significance of the episode where Flaubert describes their encounter and the suavity of the first days of love which once again filled the two lovers' hearts, the sadness that obviously springs from it, shouldn't have had such high intensity. It is not clear enough why their fully reawakened love which is utterly filled with soft sensuality could trigger, in the two lovers, memories and painfully melancholic feelings.

Flaubert's lyrical expression is in striking contradiction with the psychological significance of Rodolphe's character. Readers inevitably ask themselves why the author uses the word "suavity" when referring to an inveterate and callous individual as Emma's first lover. The author had already explicitly forewarned us that the character was deliberately delaying his departure from Yonville with Emma and that Rodolphe's feelings are in no way the image of a genuine affection towards the romantic heroine.

But it is precisely in this melancholy of the Flaubertian lyrical expression that we must try to find an explanation for the dissonance that we discerned.

If from a psychological point of view the melancholy of the two lovers and mostly of Rodolphe is highly unconvincing when they recall and relive their first love, the presence of the short yet extremely intense feeling of nostalgia which is present during their first night of passion is explainable by Flaubert's own feelings. It is not at all difficult to ascertain the similarity of this predisposition with the one towards sadness that can be encountered in many lyrical passages of the Flaubertian novel.

Flaubert's fascination with a certain sad and somber beauty is also discovered in a description of Emma Bovary's second love affair. When describing the culminating point of his heroine's previous love affair, Flaubert embarks upon recounting Léon and Emma's three days of passion, a veritable honeymoon, at the "Boulogne" hotel. Instead of what the reader would have expected of him and even acknowledging the task that he assumes and explicitly expresses, Flaubert offers the reader, instead of what should have been a honeymoon in apotheosis, nothing other than two hours of dusk and night which are generally specific for scenes of romantic passion as well as clichés of romantic melancholy which is emphasized in Flaubert's text by the description of the weeping willow.

To sum up, the fact that Flaubert reduced the "delicious and marvelous" three days to a few images with a melancholic mood indicates, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the already signaled tendency which is characteristic for his entire novel. This tendency manifests itself in the form of the opposition between the announced psychological objective and its fulfillment.

But probably the most striking form of clash between the fundamental psychological significance of Emma's character and the psychological sense of Flaubert's literary comment can be found in the fragment referring to the anointing of the dying woman.

The writer, who obstinately and with a remarkable power of conviction brought arguments in favor of Emma's innocence and who presented her tragedy as the result of a sum of several inevitable circumstances, expresses with his own words an unequivocal and ruthless condemnation.

On the other hand, on the basis of the psychological structure of Emma Bovary's character and of the author's observations, the reader had already formed an idea about the main character which is radically different from the one that the author presents in the course of action within the anointing scene.

Equally astonishing is the religious perspective of the heroine's condemnation that Flaubert resorts to. The underlying structure of the novel "Madame Bovary" basically excludes any possible attempt of religious interpretation. But how could we explain this obvious clash between the psychological meaning that the author ascribes to Emma's character and the specific meaning of the ritual that the priest performed over the dying body?

This explanation has to be sought for, this time, in the melancholic note that dominates the condemnation of Emma's sins. The rhetoric inspired by Emma that the author resorts to in order to condemn his heroine is utterly sad. In the text the emphasis is not placed on the thought of the sinner whose feet had been so swift in her running to quench her desires but on the image of the sinner who would no longer run and would no longer experience desire. The condemning and menacing words are placed at the beginning of the speech

whereas the sad and melancholic reflection upon the final and tragic outcome of Emma's life is uttered towards the end of the religious service.

The aesthetic interpretation of these Flaubertian contradictions is difficult to conciliate with the evidence of their melancholic significance. If these variations of the novel's core meaning had only aesthetic reasons, it would have been easy to explain why they manifest themselves in the same psychological direction. The most plausible and the same time the most satisfactory explanation of this phenomenon is that Flaubert adopted a synthetic method of solving the problem of the balance between tendency and artistic form. He found a way of constructing a force which corresponds to artistic expression and, at the same time, to satisfy his melancholic propensity.

Very similarly to his heroine Emma Bovary who sought to manifest her pain and melancholy at any cost, Flaubert attempts in his manner to display his own pain. From this perspective, the words that his defense lawyer uttered in his plea in court according to which his client had a serious personality, by its nature inclined towards gloomy and sad things, acquire a new meaning even if this is not precisely the essence of Flaubert's tendency. It would be more appropriate to assert that he suffered from the need to make all things appear sadder than they actually were. He strengthens - and protects at the same time - the pain caused by the awareness that the world is not how it should have been.

Another dimension of the real/ideal relationship once again betrays the hidden agenda: the Flaubertian portrayal of certain misfit characters endowed with extreme sensitivity. He "exculpates" himself by presupposing that the proof of objectivity resides in the fact that literature should be within the limits of a case. But mostly the choice of the "slice of life" unveils the writer's orientation. In illustrating a case that proves nothing, Flaubert voluntarily and indirectly depicts a pessimistic view of reality.

We can safely claim that, in an extraordinary manner, the novelist capitalizes on something that is situated in the realm of the possible so as to satisfy his need for somber and tragic effects. In this manner, Flaubert's propensity for melancholy and sadness overcomes the one for objectivity and realistic representation.

Flaubert's vocation for melancholy proves to be more powerful than his inclination towards the objective and the truthful: many Emmas wept in numberless small towns in France and elsewhere but how many of them committed the heroine's gesture? The writer experiences the nostalgia of a just and moral order however his entire novel exhibits something entirely different.

4. The Shattering

The Flaubertian exegesis pointed out [6] that the unity of Gustave Flaubert's creation is founded on the antagonistic conscience full of opposing but equally powerful tendencies. He always allows us to find him in two situations: "this is how I am built" and "this is how I'm building myself'. On the one hand, by continuously reinventing the game for himself, he views himself as a character and not as a person; on the other hand, what substantiated him appeared as a sort of entity, devoid of substance and somewhat unreal. Regarding his relationship with his friends, the confidence of others was the price to pay for his lack of sincerity. To him, being real meant being credible. When Flaubert utters "I" he is never honest: he plays, he stages and he adjusts himself. This is why his Correspondence [7] and his scarce autobiographical attempts have to be considered with great circumspection: his subjectivity becomes rather relative due to the game that he sustains with the purpose of confirming the others' exigencies as it is only the other who could consider him either spiritual or vulgar, either intelligent or tedious, either honest or sullen, etc. He could not help but notice how the others viewed him and understand the meaning of the words that described him. The relationship with his friends (Alfred de Poitevin, Laporte, Maxime du Camp) revealed him as a man who needed to be loved, admired, envied because he doubted himself. His lack of strength is concealed by the imperative that he used in the letters to those who were not part of the Flaubert family and upon whom he exerted his domination. His literary work emerges from the surface or from the depth of his items of correspondence. As Sartre notices, in feudal terms, he is not the generous Lord who bestows his benevolence in understanding and forgiving but, in his complex of dependence, he is the faithful vassal. Flaubert was a man of contradiction: his clinging to Croisset by his mother's side is a source of anxiety and at the same time resignation and, paradoxically, joy as this situation is felt as a necessity.

When he expresses his own "point of view" he is constantly ambiguous and evasive. If certain illustrated objects or feelings pertain to reality, he dissociates himself from them, takes his distance and his arid and disdainful objectivity highlights the ignoble and vulgar in everything that does not belong to the sphere of the romantic dream. If the object is illustrated in a romantic manner, the light of the derisive shines upon this artificial and empty world which is not permitted to materialize into the world of experience. "Madame Bovary" brings forward the conflict between romantic dream and existence, embodied by Emma, and the reality of the provincial society against which this dream would shatter.

Flaubert equally refuses reality and dream: he despises reality from the vantage point of dreams and mocks dreams from the vantage point of reality.

In the structure of his novel, this tendency manifests itself in two ways: the form of one of them doesn't diminish the general aesthetic level of the literary work at all but there are also moments when this form somehow decreases the novel's aesthetic level in such a way that, from time to time, certain passages of "Madame Bovary" are extremely pathetic or even melodramatic.

5. Conclusions

Following our findings that resulted from the analysis of various episodes from "Madame Bovary", the conclusion that is drawn is rather paradoxical: the novel is constructed in order to highlight certain somber and tragic aspects of human reality. The entire analysis attests the fact that the writer designed the structure of his novel so as to present an aspect of human existence in its most somber and terrifying manifestation. The truth is that the writer desperately wants to be able to believe in the existence of a world filled with love and morality but his novel demonstrates an entirely different reality. The paradox of the novel resides in the fact that, through the designed structure and the illustrated events, the writer torments not only the reader but also himself.

Several times Flaubert declares his repugnance toward the envious. But in fact he detests the envy that devours him and ruins his existence. According to him, envious individuals "fabricate themselves", develop some sort of frustration and in time they end up hating the whole world. The contradiction of the envious is that they feel inferior and relative. The envious enclose their value into their very frustration and they end up fetishizing their intimate, subjective life: the void turns into plenitude.

It is well known that during his entire life, Flaubert signed his correspondence with different names, kept and used according to the addressee: "The Troubadour" to Georges Sand, "The Oafish" or "Father Cruchard" to Caroline Comanville, "The Old", "The Governess", "The Devout of Seville" to lady Brainne, "Your Excessive", "The Giant" to Laporte, etc. Each label is a voice, a role that the writer would play for his interlocutor. Similarly to the ancient theatre where masks rendered the identification of the actor impossible, only the tone and voice lead to the recognition of the actual person. Anatole France once claimed that Flaubert proved to be a volcano when facilitating natural eruptions with some sort of pyrotechnics.

Once his spiritual accomplishment had been achieved, it became obvious to him that the only truly existing reality is the concrete world and that the romantic ideal is but a myth of the imagination and of feelings. Flaubert therefore starts to regard the romantic dream ironically, to mock and despise it as something unachievable. But the world of reality still didn't seem appealing. The fact that ideals might be unattainable does not render the world more acceptable.

Thus, in Flaubert's mind an extraordinary moral chiasmus emerges and finds its highest expression in "Madame Bovary": Flaubert disdains reality from the vantage point of the romantic dream because reality is sordid when compared to the splendor of the dream; however, he also disdains the dream from the vantage point of reality because it is weak, illusory and unattainable in the concrete world of experience.

All his intimate writings offer the reader the spectacle of an ambivalent and unsecure man: discontent with himself and constantly pursuing an ideal. In the midst of his own disorder he experiences a need for order. It's like criticism has been trying to turn the convolutions of an incessantly interrupted line, namely his literary work, into a harmonious curve.

As regards conformist individuals, Flaubert's attitude remains just as contradictory: he searches for them and despises them at the same time. For him they are like the tunic of Nessus when we come to ask ourselves whether he would be able to "detach" them without perishing himself. At that moment he accuses reality of marking a difference, of setting a distance between feeling and the idea of feeling, sensation and the image of the sensation. He accuses words of deceiving him [8]: "donc, c'est cela que les gens comprennent par «amour»? "/"so is this what people understand by 'love'?" (our translation) - Emma Bovary asks herself , "c'est cela que les gens nomment «science»?"/"is this what people call 'science'?" (our translation) - Bouvard and Pécuchet ask themselves [9].

To conclude, Flaubert's aspiration towards impartiality functions as an alibi throughout his work. In addition to the fact that it serves as a form of compensation, the attempt to achieve an artistic expression which is as objective as possible, becomes a cover for this morbid vocation for amplifying pain.

It must be taken into account that Flaubert's feeling of sadness might indicate the fact that he uses his own state of spirit as an alibi which, on the surface structure, can be understood as a unique, sui generis, manner of stimulating his creative talent.

It is not accidental that, in order to resort to an alibi, the writer appropriates one theoretical thesis which corresponds to certain social norms of a well-established epoch.

With Flaubert, this role is a scientific ideal that existed at that time in certain liberal intellectual circles of 19th century France yet he doesn't search for his alibi like criminals after the commission of a crime (and that is the difference between art and propaganda!).

References

[1] Popa, M. (1968). Homo fictus. Bucureçti : Editura pentrn literaturâ.

[2] Gaultier, J. de (2006). Le Bovarysme. Paris : Presses de l'Université Paris-Sorbonne.

[3] Flaubert, G. (1972). Madame Bovary. Paris : Gallimard, 286.

[4] Idem, 343.

[5] Ibidem, 325.

[6] Sartre, J.P. (1972). L'idiot de la famille. Paris : Gallimard. 3 vol.

[7] Flaubert, G. (1964). Œuvres complètes. Paris : Ed. du Seuil, 2 vol.

[8] Flaubert, G. (1972). op. cit., 144

[9] Flaubert, G. (1952). Bouvard et Pécuchet. Dictionnaire des idées reçues. Paris : Gallimard, Bibliothèques de la Pléiade, 243