The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters

CCXLVII. To George Sand 12 December 1872

Dear good master,

Don’t take seriously the exaggerations about my IRE. Don’t believe that I am counting “on posterity, to avenge me for the indifference of my contemporaries.” I meant to say only this: if one does not address the crowd, it is right that the crowd should not pay one. It is political economy. But, I maintain that a work of art (worthy of that name and conscientiously done) is beyond appraisal, has no commercial value, cannot be paid for. Conclusion: if the artist has no income, he must starve! They think that the writer, because he no longer receives a pension from the great, is very much freer, and nobler. All his social nobility now consists in being the equal of a grocer. What progress! As for me, you say to me “Let us be logical”; but that’s just the difficulty.

I am not sure at all of writing good things, nor that the book of which I am dreaming now can be well done, which does not prevent me from undertaking it. I think that the idea of it is original, nothing more. And then, as I hope to spit into it the gall that is choking me, that is to say, to emit some truths, I hope by this means to PURGE MYSELF, and to be henceforward more Olympian, a quality that I lack entirely. Ah! how I should like to admire myself!

Mourning once more: I headed the procession at the burial of father Pouchet last Monday. That gentle fellow’s life was very beautiful, and I mourned him.

I enter today upon my fifty-second year, and I insist on embracing you today: I do it affectionately, since you love me so well.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:54