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Baudry, F.D. (1980). Adolescent Love and Self-Analysis as Contributors to Flaubert's Creativity. Psychoanal. St. Child, 35:377-416.

(1980). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 35:377-416

Adolescent Love and Self-Analysis as Contributors to Flaubert's Creativity

Francis D. Baudry, M.D.

GENERALLY, THE EARLY WRITINGS OF A GREAT AUTHOR ARE APT TO reveal the intrusion of autobiographical aspects of his life much more clearly than the later, more polished works.

Flaubert's decision to become a writer and give up any attempt to compete in the real world may have been related in some way to a very moving, platonic love affair that had occurred at age 14. He first describes the details in thinly disguised form in a brief novelette, "Memoires d'un fou," written at age 17, some three years after the event (Flaubert, 1900). By that time Flaubert had already been introduced to sex. In studying his adolescent works prior to his first great novel, L'Education sentimentale, I was struck by the repeated occurrences of some aspect of his first love. Its unsuccessful resolution probably had much to do with Flaubert's turning away from a lasting real relationship with a woman. It is of interest to trace the vicissitudes of this experience—the ways in which it seemed to resonate with previously unresolved conflicts and contributed to Flaubert's choice of a literary career.

I plan to study the manifest content of Flaubert's adolescent writings in the hope of identifying and tracing various transformations and echoes of the platonic affair.

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