Title: The Temptation of St. Anthony
Author: Gustave Flaubert
Release Date: June 4, 2016 [eBook #52225]
E-text prepared by Laura N.R. and Marc D’Hooghe (http://www.freeliterature.org) from page images generously made available by the Google Books Library Project (http://books.google.com)
and illustrations generously made available by Bibliothèque nationale de France (http://gallica.bnf.fr)
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.
Gustave Flaubert, best known for his masterpiece Madame Bovary, spent nearly thirty years working on a surreal and largely ‘unreadable’ retelling of the temptation of Saint Anthony. Colin Dickey explores how it was only in the dark and compelling illustrations of Odilon Redon, made years later, that Flaubert’s strangest work finally came to life.
Read online at The Public Domain Review.
“Anthony: What Is the Point of All This? The Devil: There Is No Point!”,
by Odilon Redon from his “The Temptation of Saint Anthony” series
I made the proofreading this book for Free Literature and it will be published by Project Gutenberg.
The original files are provided by Internet Archive.
And they are also available at HathiTrust.
It was in 1845 that an old picture by Breughel, seen at Genoa, first inspired Flaubert to attempt the story of St. Anthony. He sought out an engraving of this conception of Peter the Younger (surnamed “Hell-Breughel” for his fondness for such subjects), hung it on his walls at Croisset, and after three years of brooding upon it began, May 24, 1848, La Tentation de St. Antoine.
“In its primitive and legendary state the temptation of St. Anthony was nothing more than the story of a recluse tempted by the Devil through the flesh, by all the artifices at the Devil’s disposal. In the definite thought of Flaubert the temptation of St. Anthony has become man’s soul tempted by all the illusions of human thought and imagination. St. Anthony to the eyes of the first naive hagiologists is a second Adam, seduced by woman, who was inspired by Satan. St. Anthony conceived by Flaubert is a more thoughtful Faust; a Faust incapable of irony, not a Faust who could play with illusions and with himself–secretly persuaded that he could withdraw when he chose to give himself the trouble to do so–rather a Faust who approached, accosted, caressed all possible forms of universal illusions.”