Our Editors On:
A Simple Soul by Gustave Flaubert
In a world of class distinctions, where madams are strolling along while servants are romping around; in a society in which almost everyone are defined by the professional title they carry and measured in terms of attribution and assets; there suddenly pops-up a creature of no status, no profession, a free spirit: this is Loulou, a parrot who is handed over by Madame Aubain to her servant Felicite, and finds a place in her heart. Years after Madame Bovary, his first novel – for which he was put on trial for “hurting public morality,” but upon winning the trial received great public success – Gustave Flaubert wrote “A Simple Soul” (“An Innocent Heart,” in other translations), a short story that is a true literary gem. As readers enter the story it may seem at first as a prosaic account of class society in France of the time, but as Loulou the parrot sneaks up and enters, Flaubert proves how stylish, muscular, well-trained prose takes off.