Thursday, October 28, 2010

What is it with the French?

Something I just noticed in reading about Flaubert: he seems to share a great kinship with Proust in that both were the cosseted hothouse offspring of highly respectable physicians.  Gide and Sartre too--not the children of physicians but from the same kind of solidly respectable upper middle class (with a sauce of academic achievement).  I tried to fit Stendhal and Balzac onto this same Procrustean bed, without success though I do note this curiosity about Stendhal and Flaubert: they seem to share a closely similar hostility to the conventional middle class.  Yet Flaubert, though he admired Balzac, had no use for Stendhal (he seems not to have understood him).

Am I right in my recollection that French kids stay home longer, leave home later, than any others in Europe?

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