Melancholy is a sensual pleasure that is deliberately provoked. How many people shut themselves away to make themselves sadder, or to weep beside a stream, or choose a sentimental book! We are constantly building and unbuilding ourselves.
Forse le avrebbe fatto piacere confidarsi con qualcuno su tutte queste cose. Ma come esprimere quell’inafferrabile malessere che muta d’aspetto come le nuvole, che turbina come il vento? Le mancavano le parole, e l’occasione, e l’ardire.
Gustave Flaubert’s travel diary among rare books at historic sale
“The handwritten manuscript is page after page of scratched out notes, smudges, comments and ink blots that reveal just how arduous the French novelist Gustave Flaubert found the writing process.
Celebrated for his first and most famous published work, Madame Bovary, which took five years to write, Flaubert was meticulous about the style and elegance of his work.
The 277-page Flaubert travel diary […] was written in 1848 when Flaubert and his friend Maxime Du Camp went walking in Brittany and decided to write a joint work: Flaubert the odd-number chapters, Du Camp the even. They were never published in his lifetime.” [source]
Nessuno, mai, riesce a dare l’esatta misura di ciò che pensa, di ciò che soffre, della necessità che lo incalza, e la parola umana è spesso come un pentolino di latta su cui andiamo battendo melodie da far ballare gli orsi mentre vorremmo intenerire le stelle.
Incantation from Gustave Flaubert’s “Salammbô” (1897). Alphonse Mucha (Czech, 1860-1939). Illustration from “L'Estampe Moderne.”
Salammbô (1862), a historical novel by Flaubert, is set in Carthage during the 3rd century BC, immediately before and during the Mercenary Revolt which took place shortly after the First Punic War. Flaubert’s main source was Book I of Polybius’s Histories.