Literature

A Book About Nothing

Gustave Flaubert used to write to one of his mistresses about art, in particular the art he practised, that of novel writing: What strikes me as beautiful, what I would like to create is a book about nothing, a book without external attachments, held aloft by the internal voice of its own style, as the earth stays aloft on its own, a book that would have almost no subject or at least in which the subject would, if possible, evaporate. Novels about nothing, or at least about very little, were rare at the time. There had been Tristram Shandy of…

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