(urth) Flaubert's _The Temptation of Saint Anthony_ as influence on _New Sun_?

Nessun Saprà nessun-sapra at web.de
Tue Apr 16 02:02:55 PDT 2013

According to a interview with Joan Gordon 1981 (reprinted in Wright´s
"Shadows") GW´s favorite authors are "Damon Knight, Kate Wilhelm, Joanna
Russ, Ursula LeGuin, R. A. Lafferty, Saul Bellow and John Updike, with many
more among the living. Poe, Proust, Dickens, Chesterton, FLAUBERT, Orwell,
Thurber, Twain, Melville, Irving, Van Gulik, Kafka, Borges, Dosteyevsky,


-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: urth-bounces at lists.urth.net [mailto:urth-bounces at lists.urth.net] Im
Auftrag von Darth Ed
Gesendet: Dienstag, 16. April 2013 05:30
An: The Urth Mailing List
Betreff: (urth) Flaubert's _The Temptation of Saint Anthony_ as influence on
_New Sun_?

My Wolfe reading group has been re-reading _The Book of the New Sun_ lately.
For about half the group, this is our third or fourth time reading it. For
the remainder, it is our second time.

One of our members remarked that he had recently read Gustave Flaubert's
_The Temptation of Saint Anthony_ [*] and he was struck by how many words
from _New Sun_'s antiquated vocabulary were used in _The Temptation of Saint


He listed a half dozen examples, which I can't recall at the moment, but it
was a very convincing list. We all thought it was very possible that this
novel may have had a profound influence on Wolfe in his writing of _The Book
of the New Sun_. The subject matter is certainly something that Wolfe might
have been interested in following his conversion to Catholicism. I thought
surely someone must have made this connection previously, but my searches of
the urth.net mailing list, WolfeWiki.com, and the web at large revealed no
discussion that I could locate of any connection between Wolfe and
Flaubert's _The Temptation of Saint Anthony_, except for *one* academic book
on Google Books:


The author of the essay rather matter-of-factly states, right after quoting
a passage from Gustave Flaubert's _The Temptation of Saint Anthony_:

"Gene Wolfe's _Book of the New Sun_ obviously derived in equal part from the
_Temptation_ and Borges's _Book of Imaginary Beings_ (which itself contains
many excerpts from the former source)."

Sadly, the next page in that book is not visible on Google Books. A member
of our group purchased the book from Google Books to check, and the Wolfe
discussion pretty much ends with that sentence. Fortunately, Google Books
has a convenient return policy. :-)

Has anyone here read Flaubert's _The Temptation of Saint Anthony_ and would
care to comment?

Has Wolfe made any comments concerning Flaubert or _The Temptation of Saint
Anthony_ in any interviews?

Obviously, Borges' work has long been recognized as an influence on Wolfe
and _New Sun_. Is this possible Flaubert connection relatively untrodden
territory? Or is this something generally known and my Google searches just
didn't turn up much discussion of it?



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