ALLAN BLOOM REVISITED (Reposted from 3/06/2011)

by George Anastaplo

You can’t expect orange trees to produce apples.

                                                -Gustave Flaubert516



            The reader can find in Allan Bloom’s Love and Friendship517 the merits and defects found in his surprise bestseller, The Closing of the American Mind,518 merits and defects that are related to the author’s publicly-exhibited talents, character, and passions.

I have, in my reviews of Closing, assessed the Bloom approach to texts and to issues of the day in much more detail than I can here.  Those assessments questioned his scholarship as well as his campaign519 against the young with respect to the Vietnam War, race relations, and sensuality.  Whatever reservations one may have about Professor Bloom’s scholarship, however, one should recognize that he was remarkably effective in the classroom.  In addition, we have all benefitted from his translations of Plato and Rousseau and from his development of good scholars (especially those pointed by him in the direction of Leo Strauss).520  It is to be regretted that his collaborators were not able to help him more than they did with his defects.  The lack of resistance in some quarters may have even reinforced bad tendencies in him, not least because he could count on the mostly undiscriminating approval (at least in public) of those closest to him.

Straussians should not allow “outsiders” to believe that they do not recognize the intermittent unreliability of Mr. Bloom’s “Straussian” accounts of the great books that he undertakes to discuss.521 One critical concern we should have is that the details of a text not be used by its interpreter to confirm or to elaborate opinions about that text and other matters previously conjured up, in place of studying an authoritative text in order to determine what one’s opinions should be. There is, about the approach to be deplored here, a perverted Straussianism. Insofar as we are guilty of this sort of thing, we are in need of good-natured but firm correction.522

One reader of Love and Friendship opens his review with these observations: “Allan Bloom’s last book is a 560-page epitaph to a scholarly life. Equal parts insight and vitriol, it reconfirms Bloom’s position as the Edmund Burke of our times.”523 My own reading of this book, limited as it has been, noticed many insights but little, if any (and certainly not “equal parts”), “vitriol.” Another reviewer suggests that, “at base, Love and Friendship masks great pain and a kind of intellectual brokenheartedness.”524 There may be something to this suggestion.

Still another reviewer voices criticisms of Allan Bloom that have been directed over years (mistakenly, I believe) against Leo Strauss as well:

[Allan Bloom displays] an exhilarating respect for the writers and thinkers who preceded us; and [he does] not attempt to stretch them or to force them into a Procrustean bed of modern clichés… But Bloom’s problem is that he does not sufficiently respect his own contemporaries. This is one of the most unpleasant aspects of his style. A few thinkers of our own time, such as Sartre and Buber, must content themselves with brief and disdainful remarks.525 Bloom seems to have flattered himself that he went into the desert alone—a strangely “modern” belief for a man who prefers all that is “ancient.”

He also has another modern weakness: his vision is skewed by a fear of boredom .What interest can be found, he wonders, in a marriage in which ex-lovers live “watching their beauties disappear slowly with age while they become bored with each other,”526 or in the existence of a mother who “lives in the boring details of taking care of her children”?527 Bloom likes to think of himself as a“Platonist,” but in fact he was more of a closet Nietzschean. Deep down he believed that whereas Plato tells us what is good, Nietzsche tells us what is true.528

Te most instructive review I have seen of Love and Friendship is the one published by Diana Schaub.529 She provides the points of departure for my remarks on the this occasion when she observes, “Despite [Allan Bloom’s] penetrating criticisms of Romanticism, and the psychological acuity he demonstrates in uncovering romantic illusions,, there is, in [him], an irrepressible, almost swooning self-identification with figures like Julien Sorel [in Stendhal’s The Red and the Black] and Emma Bovary [in Flaubert’s Madame Bovary]. Moreover, he believes that their creators identified with them as well.”530

It seems to me useful to consider here what is done with the Flaubert novel in Love and Friendship, especially since Flaubert is central to the seven authors listed by Mr. Bloom (with their texts) in his chapter titles. The sequence is Rousseau, Stendhal, Austen, Flaubert, Tolstoy, Shakespeare and Plato.531

The first and last authors, Rousseau and Plato, are given by far the longest treatment.532 Four of the authors are discussed in large part because they are influenced or challenged by Rousseau. I am reminded here of a comment by the scholar who published what may have been the best review of The Closing of the American Mind: “Mr. Bloom’s often anonymous and torrential mode of presentation makes it hard to tell whether the trouble is with his accuracy or his perspective. Moreover, he sometimes seems to present an anonymous modern opinion as though it had but to come in contact with the air to self-destruct, while his great moderns, Rousseau and Nietzche, seem somehow to merit awed admiration for setting us on the road we are condemned for following. Mr. Bloom’s relation especially to Rousseau is the mystery of mysteries to me.”533 One could well add here that Mr. Bloom was too receptive in his publications to the reigning interest in sexuality and not receptive enough to the marvels of modern science.


            Illustrative of what is called, in the Schaub review, Mr. Bloom’s “penetrating criticism of Romanticism” and his “psychological acuity… in uncovering romantic illusions,”   is his perceptive account of the two sets of concurrent encounters involving Emma and Léon, Charles Bovary and Homais, an account  which begins in this way: “One of Flaubert’s techniques for illustrating the idle opinions of his various human types is to orchestrate conversations in which there is a counterpoint between treble and bass, in which they do not communicate at all but nevertheless make together a harmony that is a musical joke.”534

Also revealing of the sort of thing that Bloom can do effectively is his discussion of how Emma Bovary responds to an aristocrat’s dinner party:535 “Here Flaubert shows the difference between what Emma sees and what everyone else sees. Others see only a repulsive old man; Emma sees the remnant of the ancien regime and its grandeur.” One difficulty here is that the Bloom interpretation does not seem to recognize that the devastated condition of the “repulsive old man” may be related to the uninhibited life he had led. Have we not all known old men who could, because of their lifelong virtues, make a finer showing in the years of their decline than could this “remnant of the ancien regime”?536

Even so, these accounts by Allan Bloom are arresting and instructive. They help account for Diana Schaub’s judgment upon Love and Friendship: “Quarrels and cavils aside, one cannot but be charmed by this book.”537


            However many charms there may be in the musical and other images of Love and Friendship, the discussion of Madame Bovary opens on a false note:

Madame Bovary is the simplest of tales, about a small-town

adulteress. One has to restore, in thought alone, of course,

something of the significance of adultery in order to see why

so much of the nineteenth-century novel was devoted to it.

Once in class I said, with a rhetorical flourish, that all

nineteenth-century novels were about adultery. A student

objected that she knew some which were not. My co-

teacher, Saul Bellow, interjected, “Well, of course, you can

have a circus without elephants.” And that’s about it.538

It is useful here to have a sample of the fateful collaboration of sorts between Allan Bloom and Saul Bellow, especially because Leo Strauss was out of the way.539

This passage in Love and Friendship is an unfortunate way to begin a discussion of Madame Bovary. For one thing, many if not even most of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century were not devoted to adultery. (Novelists such as Austen, Conrad, Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Melville, Scott, and Twain readily come to mind.) Besides, is it adultery that defines Emma Bovary? What finally ruins Emma Bovary has a surprising amount to do with the prospect of financial collapse.

Why did Mr. bloom begin his discussion of Madame Bovary the way he did? In  part because he was inclined toward what he calls “rhetorical flourishes,” something with which a man of his talents and ambitions can get considerable attention. This inclination contributed both to Mr. Bloom’s accomplishments and to his difficulties, difficulties he shared with the Sophists who were also men with noteworthy accomplishments. These “rhetorical flourishes” make much of what he says unreliable, however stocked they may be with penetrating insights. Unfortunately, the Bloom approach may also give “outsiders” the wrong impression of Leo Strauss’s influence.

An undue concern for the rhetorical may be seen in expressions used by Mr. Bloom throughout the book, not least in his openness to the seamier side of things. These include expressions, appropriate perhaps for the lectures from which they may have originated, that display Allan Bloom as “with it.” Examples from the Flaubert essay include: “Rodolphe has been putting his moves on Emma”; Emma, “ever the sucker”; “the nineteenth-century prefiguration of the Visa card”; “Ain’t it the truth”; “a pecking order of vanities”.540

More serious is what is said by Mr. Bloom about marriage and religion: “Any serious reader of Madame Bovary cannot help seeing that both marriage and religion are treated with contempt.”541 It is far from clear that Fraubert was as decidedly against marriage and religion as Mr. Bloom believed him to be. Indeed, many of the judgments indicated by Flaubert would not make much sense if, for example, marriage was simply contemptible. Related to this critique of Love and Friendship is the way Mr. Bloom can dismiss both the daughter and the husband of Emma Bovary. The child can be described as “her repulsive little girl.”542 This is the way Rodolphe, and at times Emma, saw the little girl. This may also be the way Mr. Bloom (perhaps identifying himself with Emma) saw her; but I do not recall that Flaubert portrayed her thus. In fact, she is shown as rather cheerful when we last see her as a child in the family home before she is consigned to her dismal fate. Observations such as these are related to the unfortunate forms that Mr. Bloom’s anti-feminism views could sometime take.

They may be related as well to Mr. Bloom’s response in Love and Friendship to the students who proclaimed, “Great Sex is better than Great Books.” His devastating response is, “Sure, but you can’t have one without the other.”543 We have here still another rhetorical flourish which is highly questionable: one has only to recall the many great lovers (and others with great souls) in the Western tradition who may be in great books, but who have probably never read any of the great books.

Far more restrained, and hence more instructive, than either the Closing book or the Love and Friendship book are Allan Bloom’s essays in Shakespeare’s Politics544 and some of the older essays in Giants and Dwarfs545. In the development of his best work Allan Bloom chanced to have the advantage of being curbed by scholars such as Leo Strauss and Harry Jaffa. More recent attempts to curb him, especially when made by lesser mortals, could be risky, for he could cripple himself by cutting off all social contact with anyone who presumed to offer criticism that might have benefited him, his associates and his readers.


            Allan Bloom both identifies with Emma Bovary too much and deprecates her unduly.546 Even so, the specialness of Emma seems sometimes to elude Mr. Bloom. It is not likely that having a heroine with the limitations he emphasizes would have permitted this novel to live as it has.

Charles Bovary, for one, senses that she is special. (Even the ruthless, self-centered Rodolphe gets glimpses at times of her specialness.) It is curiously revealing of Allan Bloom’s own limitations as a critic that he dismisses Charles Bovary as he does. (Perhaps this is related to his “self-identification with” Emma Bovary.) Dr. Bovary can be referred to by Mr. Bloom as “the cloddish Charles,” as “the perfect cuckold,” as “a hapless, useless fellow,” and as “the incompetent duffer.”547 But Charles and Emma turn out to be much more alike than they had seemed at first. (This is suggested by each giving, at the end of their respective lives, a five-franc piece to a supplicant.) Emma had, unknown to herself, reshaped her husband (Flaubert can speak of Emma “corrupting him from beyond the grave”).548 Although Charle’s own romanticism emerges only after Emma’s death, the dying Emma saw him “look[ing] at her with such tenderness in his eyes as she had never seen before.”549

Although Mr. Bloom dismisses Dr. Bovary, treating him as little more than a foil for his wife’s adventures, the novel opens and virtually closes with Charles Bovary. If reports of the genesis of the novel are to be credited, it was inspired by the story of a local doctor who committed suicide because of his unfaithful wife who had poisoned herself. That is, Flaubert’s friends are said to have advised him, “Why not write the story of Delamare?”550 Flaubert himself, in one of his letters describing the novel he was writing, anticipates his account of “[his] little lady’s death and funeral and of her husband’s grief.”551 Charles Bovary imitated his wife in several ways. He even surpasses her in one critical respect by doing what she sometimes wanted to do: he died of a broken heart.

Why does Mr. Bloom fail to take adequate account of Charles Bovary? Perhaps because of his presuppositions, his lack of discipline with respect to details, and his temperament. What is there that Charles, and we with him (if we are attentive), can notice and treasure about Emma? It is useful to match the dreadful poison-gulping scene at the end552 with something that should also be memorable: the scene at the beginning which has Emma laughing as she tries to lick up the last drop of liqueur in her glass, an enchanting scene which contributes to the bewitching of the reader along with Charles Bovary.553


            Emma got to be the way she was partly because of her reading. Her mother-in-law, at least, recognized this.554 This is an instance where what could have become a healthy, or good, sexuality is subverted by Far-from-Great Books. Curiously enough, Charles Bovary, who is definitely not a reader, has his own romanticism stimulated by reading a “book”—that is, a collection of the love letters he finds his wife to have received from her lovers. He even wants to have been one of her lovers.555

Had Emma Bovary been more thoughtful, she could have turned her husband into a usefully romantic figure. Perhaps, if thoughtful enough, she could have restrained herself from spoiling her relation with him also. But would she still have been Emma Bovary, as interesting (or exasperating) as we find her? Certainly she is supposed to be, and is for the typical reader, far more interesting than her husband or anyone else whom we get to know well in this novel. (Homais, too, is quite interesting. His perhaps-too-rapid moral disintegration at the end mirrors Emma Bovary’s collapse, although he is generally regarded as successful by the community at large.)

The career of Emma Bovary (if not also the end of Charles Bovary’s life) is anticipated by the career of Don Quixote, another adventurous soul influenced by what he reads. We can see here one of the many advantages of a “romantic” being a male rather than a female in the everyday world.556

The career of Emma was followed, in a sense, by the career of a leader treated with considerable respect by Allan Bloom in Closing:   Charles de Gaulle, a man with great illusions whom fortune treated far better than it treated Emma Bovary. He could easily have ended up on the gallows or, even worse; a laughing stock. Certainly there seems to be something distinctively French about both Emma Bovary and Charles de Gaulle.557


Although Allan Bloom does not appreciate Dr. Bovary for what he is worth, he, in concluding his essay on Madame Bovary, does notice Dr. Laivières virtues.558

But it is, in mid-nineteenth-century Europe, a time when the great ones of old are not being replicated. Thus, there are now only imitators of the outer form of Dr. Larivière, not of the real thing. Similarly, Emma can only imitate the forms of great passion. Flaubert may himself be aware of such parallels. Yet it may be a mistake to see this novel as Mr. Bloom does, when he regards it “as much the tale of a lost artist as of a lost woman.”559 Certainly, a novel may be highly artistic without being primarily about art.

It may also be a mistake to consider Madame Bovary as Mr. Bloom does, as “a plausible candidate in any contest for the greatest of all novels.”560 Henry James could see Madame Bovary as “really too small an affair.”561 More important, perhaps, Emma herself, although bigger than Mr. Bloom sees her, is not big enough for the greatest novels. One cannot care as much about, say, what happens to her as one does about what happens to Anna Karenina or even to Leopold Bloom. She is hard for the reader to like for long, however sorry one can be for her at times.


            One reason why Emma is not seen and dealt with as she should be by most of those around her is that they confused the high and the low. Is there not also something of this in Mr. Bloom’s account, keeping him from appreciating the depths if not the nobility of Emma and Charles?

The merits and defects in Bloom’s reading of  Madame Bovary are, I have indicated, much like those found in The Closing of the American Mind  and in other works by him for some years now. We are reminded, at the end of Flaubert’s novel, about what confusing the high and low can do to one’s judgment when we notice the gravedigger’s mistaking as a potato thief the young Justin when he slips in and out of the cemetery to grieve at Emma’s grave.562 A similar mistaking may be seen in how Mr. Bloom and all too many of his partisans disparaged the student opposition to our ill-conceived intervention in the Vietnam War.563

If I, in turn, have mistaken the high for the low in the small part of Allan Bloom’s last book that I have been able to examine on this occasion, I hope that I will be usefully corrected by those who know all of his work far better than I ever will.

515. This talk was prepared for a Claremont Institute Panel at the American Political Science Association Convention, New York, New York, September 3, 1994. This panel, on Allan Bloom’s Love and Friendship (cited infra note 517), was chaired by Peter W. Schramm and included Chalres R. Kesler, Clifford Orwin, and Diana Schaub, (The original title of this talk was “Allan Bloom and Emma Bovary.”) It is copied here from George Anastaplo , “Law & Lecture and its Modern Explorations,” 26 Northern Illinois University Law Review 251, 391-403 (2000). [Other discussions, by George Anastaplo of Allan Bloom and of Leo Strauss, can be found at]

516. Letter from Gustave Flaubert to George Sand (Oct. 28, 1872), in THE SELECTED LETTERS OF GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 239 (Francis Steegmuller, ed., Vintage Books, 1957) [hereinafter LETTERS OF GUSTAVE FLAUBERT].



519. See ESSAYS, supra note 518, at 225-34, 267-84. One of these reviews had been published in 1988: see George Anastaplo, In re Allan Bloom: A Respectful Dissent, in THE GREAT IDEAS TODAY 252 (1988). See, also,

520. See my 1993 remarks in For Allan Bloom (1930-1992), 43 SOUTH DAKOTA LAW REV. 169 (1998). The very helpful Bloom translations include Plato’s Ion, Plato’s Republic. Rousseau’s Letter to M. d’Alembert, and Rousseau’s Èmile.

521. On Leo Strauss, see Anastaplo, THE ARTIST AS THINKER, at 249-72. See also ORIGINAL INTENT, supra note 28, at 363, THE AMERICAN REGIME, supra note 58; LEO STRAUSS, THE STRAUSSIANS, AND THE AMERICAN REGIME (Kenneth L. Deutsch and John A. Murley eds., 1999).

522. Public correction is needed of what has been said publicly by various scholars identified as Straussians. For a peculiarly uninformed editorial, see Brent Staples, Undemocratic Vistas: The Sinister Vogue of Leo Strauss, N.Y. TIMES, Nov. 28, 1994, at A16. Compare Laurence Berns, “Correcting the Record,” PS Political Science and Politics, vol. 28, p. 659 (1995).

523. Richard Higgins, Allan Bloom’s Last Book: A Treatise of Love, BOSTON GLOBE, July 6, 1993, at 6th section, 51. For another “last book” by Allan Bloom (as reported by a novelist), see infra note 539.

524. D. Keith Mano, The Closing of the American Heart: Love & Friendship, NEW REPUBLIC, Oct. 4, 1993, at 38.

525. Sigmund Freud, too, is dealt with disdainfully, but not briefly. See also Anastaplo, THE AMERICAN MORALIST, at 135-38.

526.This quotations is taken from the following passage:

Romeo and Juliet, no matter how many times read or seen, always induces a

reaction that if this or that little thing had been changed, they would have lived

 happily ever after. There seems to be no reason why this great tragedy could

 not have been replaced by the lesser tragedy of their settling down together,

watching their beauties disappear slowly with age while they became bored

with each other.

LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP, supra  note 517, at 276. See infra text accompanying note 527. See also Anastaplo, THE ARTIST AS THINKER, supra note 10, at 17, 21; Compare ROBERT BURNS, John Anderson My Jo, in 2 POEMS AND SONGS, supra note 281, at 528; Part 5 of this Collection; infra text accompanying note 1253.

527. This quotation is taken from the following passage: “[In Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Oblonsky’s wife] is a decent woman who is almost exclusively defined by motherhood. She lives in the boring duties of taking care of her children, and worrying about their health and their good character.” LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP, supra note 517, at 236. It is not certain how much Mr. Bloom endorsed such sentiments. See also supra note 516.

528. Tzvetan Todorov, Professors of Desire, NEW REPUBLIC, Oct. 4, 1993, at 38.

529. Diana Schaub, Erotic Adventures of the Mind, 114 PUBLIC INTEREST 104 (1994).

530. Id. at 105. See supra Part 7.

531. Montaigne is treated in a special way. See LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP, supra note 517, at 33, 157. Madame Bovary is discussed at pages 309-29 of Love and Friendship.

532. The principal texts by Rousseau discussed in Love and Friendship are `Emile and La Nouvelle H`elosie, and the principal text by Plato, The Symposium. See LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP, supra note 517, at 39-150, 431-51.

533. Eva T.H-Brann, The Spirit Lives in the Sticks, in ESSAYS, supra note 518, at 184, 185-86. See also id. At279-80 n.25.

534. LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP, supra note 517, at 216. Mr. Bloom’s sensitive account continues:

When Charles and Emma arrive in Yonville, they meet M. Homais

            And his young boarder, Léon Dupuis, and dine together. Charles,

            the doctor, and young Homais, the pharmacist, naturally gravitate

            to each other, while the handsome Léon and the beautiful Emma

            are moved toward each other by spiritual magnetism. While

            Homais tells Charles about the attacks of fevers, biliousness, and

            enteritis common to the country, as well as the good money to be

            made out of them, Emma and Léon find they have a common taste

            in travel. The professionals discuss temperature and the presence

            of nitrogen and hydrogen in the air, while the Romantics move

            from walks to their passion for the sea and, even better, for the

            mountains, and from there inevitably to the inspirational power

            of music, and finally to reading and feelings Art should awaken.

            At this point the two groups meet at Homais, a lover of culture,

            offers Emma the use of his personal library, stocked with the best

            authors. Dull materialism and vapid spirituality have played their

            tunes, the one with no uplift, the other with no foundation. Homais

            and Bovary have established a business relationship; Léon and

            Emma an erotic one. Ultimately one player, Léon, will join the

            other two with their calculating rationality, his higher concerns

            being but the amusement of late adolescence preparatory to

            tension-relieving sexual experience. That will leave the only true

            high-stakes player, Emma, alone at the gambling table.


535.  Id. At 213. Mr, Bloom then adds:

In a sense the others are right. This is in fact a senile old man. Emma

            is silly and inflates the world with her uncontrolled imagination.

            But Flaubert prefers her delusions to other people’s reality.

            Moreover, the ancien régime really did exist, and from full aware-

            ness of that fact comes awareness of the deepest fact of Emma’s

            time: the heroes have departed, perhaps forever. Hers are not just

            childish fantasies, but insights into the way things once were. She is

            taking a self-destructive course, but her empty longing is more

            profound than is others’ acceptance of the way things are, as though

            they had always been that way.

Id. at 213-14. This passage in Madame Bovary is commented upon as well, but with a somewhat different emphasis perhaps, in The Closing of the American Mind:

Others see only a repulsive old man, but Emma sees the ancien

            régime. Her vision is truer, for there once really was an ancien règime,

            and in it there were great lovers. The constricted present cannot teach

            it us without the longing that makes us dissatisfied with the present.

            Such longing is what [American] students most need, because the

            great remains of the tradition have grown senile in our care,

Imagination is required to restore their youth, beauty and vitality, and

then experience their inspiration.

THE CLOSING OF THE AMERICAN MIND, supra note 518, at 135. I notice in passing that different translations of this Madame Bovary passage, with perhaps significant variations, are used by Mr. Bloom in his two books. See infra notes 538, 548 and accompanying text. On the longing that is, and is not, needed, see infra notes 539, 627.

536. See, e.g., George Anastaplo, Malcolm P. Sharp and the Spirit of ’76, LAW ALUMNI J. (The University of Chicago), Spring 1975, at 18; see also George Anastaplo, Lessons for the Student of Law: The Oklahoma Lectures, 20 OKLA. CITY U.L.REV. 20, 133 (1995) [hereinafter Lessons for the Student of Law].

            537. Schaub, supra note 529, at 110. Was not the term “charm” a favorite for Allan Bloom?

538. LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP, supra note 517, at 209. My page references and quotations are from  GUSTAVE FLAUBERT, MADAME BOVARY (Allan Russell, trans., 1950) (1857) [hereinafter MADAME BOVARY], the edition used most recently by Mr. Bloom. See LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP, supra note 517, at 210; Compare supra note 535, infra note 548.

539. See ESSAYS, supra note 518, at 277-78 n.10, 278 n.12; Compare id. at 278 n.15. For recent appreciations of Saul Bellow, see Julian Symons, Against the Bitch Goddess, N.Y. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT, Sep. 23, 1994, at 25; James Wood, The Long Walk from Chicago, GUARDIAN WEEKLY, Oct. 9, 1994, at 29; Compare John K. Wilson, If he hollers…, U. OF CHI. MAROON, Sep. 28, 1984, at C11, For reservations about the Bloom-Bellow (and implicitly anti-Strauss) collaboration, see ESSAYS, supra note 518, at 277 n.10, n.12, n.15; see also Andrew Patner, Allan Bloom, Warts and All, CHI. SUN-TIMES, Apr. 16, 2000, at 14E; infra notes 558, 627. For reservations expressed in 1994 and before, about “undiscriminating approval” of Mr. Bloom, see supra text accompanying note 520.

540. LOVE AND FRIENSHIP, supra note 517, at 222, 223, 234, 226, 229.

541. Id. at 227.

542. Id. at 222. Here Mr. Bloom echoes Emma (“Strange, what an ugly child she is!”).

Id.  See MADAME BOVARY, supra note 538, at 129.

543. LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP, supra note 517, at 546.



546. Is Emma Bovary somewhat like Marianne Dashwood in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility: sentimental, but without artistic talent? We can observe, with Michael Platt, “We shall never know in what degree the appearance of a real man would have rid [Emma Bovary] of what is vaporous in her longing.” Michael Platt, To Emulate or to Be (Aeneas and Hamlet), in LAW AND PHILOSOPHY, supra  note 300, at 917. On the limits of longing, see supra note 535; infra note 627.

547. LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP, supra note 517, at 210, 222, 229. Mr. Bloom seems to share Rodolphe’s assessment of Charles Bovary: “Rodolphe, who had directed ‘Fate’ in this instance, thought him pretty easy-going for a man in his position, rather comic, in fact, and a bit abject.” MADAME BOVARY, supra note 538, at 360.

548. MADAME BOVARY, supra note 538, at 353. On the dispensing of five-franc pieces, see id. at 311, 348. In the French text, “une piece de cinq francs” is referred to in both places, not “a half-crown piece” and “a crown piece.”

549. Id. at 328. See also Mary McCarthy, Foreword to GUSTAVE FLAUBERT, MADAME BOVARY xvi, xix-xx, xxi-xxii (Mildred Marmur trans., Signet Classic 1979) (1857); Walter Goodman, That Bovary Woman. Making Trouble Mostly for Herself, N.Y. TIMES, Feb. 5, 2000, at A15.

550. Charles I. Weir, Jr., Introduction to GUSTAVE FLAUBERT, MADAME BOVARY viii (Eleanor Marx Aveling trans., Rinehart and Co., Inc. 1948). See also McCarthy, supra note 549, at vii; Harry Levin, The Female Quixote in MADAME BOVARY AND THE CRITICS: A COLLECTION OF ESSAYS 106, 130 (B.F. Bart ed., 1966); infra note 556.

551. Letter from Gustave Flaubert to Louise Colet (June 26, 1853), in LETTERS OF GUSTAVE FLAUBERT, supra note 516, at 152 (emphasis added).

552. LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP, supra note 517, at 224; MADAME BOVARY, supra note 538, at 325-26.

553.     Here is that early scene:

                        In accordance with country custom, she offered him a drink. He

                        declined. She pressed him. Finally she suggested with a laugh

                        that they should take a liqueur together. She fetched a bottle of

                        curacao from the cupboard, reached down two small glasses, filled

                        one to the brim, poured the merest drop into the other and, after

                        clinking glasses, raised hers to her lips. As there was practically

                        nothing in it, she tilted her head right back to drink. With her head

                        back and her lips rounded and the skin of her neck stretched tight,

she laughed at her own vain efforts, and slid the tip of her tongue

between her fine teeth to lick, drop by drop, the bottom of the glass.

MADAME BOVARY, supra note 538, at 35. See also McCarthy, supra note 549, at xxi; Anastaplo, THE CONSTITUTIONALIST, supra note 145, at 773 n. 195; HUMAN BEING AND CITIZEN, supra note 20, at 297 n.20.

554. See MADAME BOVARY, supra note 538, at 138-39. See also LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP, supra note 517, at 211-13, 226-28; McCarthy, supra note 549, at xi-xii.

555. See MADAME BOVARY, supra  note 538, at 319.

556. Here is the incipient Feminist in Emma Bovary:

She wanted a son. He should be dark and strong, and she would

                        call him George. The thought of having a male child afforded her

                        a kind of anticipatory revenge for all her past helplessness. A man,

                        at any rate, is free. He can explore the passions and the continents,

                        can surmount obstacles, reach out to the most distant joys. Whereas

                        a woman is constantly thwarted. At once inert and pliant, she had to

                        contend with both physical weakness and legal subordination. Her

                        will is like the veil on her bonnet, fastened by a single string and

                        quivering at every breeze that blows. Always there is a desire that

                        impels and a convention that restrains. The baby was born at about

                        six o’clock one Sunday morning as the sun was rising. “It’s a girl,”

                        said Charles, She turned away and fainted.

Id. at 101. Flaubert, who admired Cervantes greatly, could have agreed to a link between Emma Bovary and Don Quixote. See Levin, supra note 550; see also LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP, supra note 517 n.182; Anastaplo, Lawyers, First Principles, and Contemporary Challenges, supra note 24, at 436; Compare Anastaplo, LAW & LITERATURE AND THE BIBLE, supra  note 33, at 564 (on the exploits of Rebekah); supra Part 6; infra Part 17. In any event, Emma Bovary needed someone who, while truly caring for her, could rule her as she needed to be ruled until (if ever) her judgment matured.

557. For the respect shown by Mr. Bloom for General de Gaulle, see THE CLOSING OF THE AMERICAN MIND, supra note 518, at 159, 187, 214-15. Compare id. at 77; ESSAYS, supra note 518, at 284 n. 51.

558. Here is the appraisal of the conscientious doctor (what can be the meaning of “does not fit into the plot”?):

Lariviere does not fit into the plot of Madame Bovary, but he is not

                        to be ignored as a human possibility. Practicing virtue without

 believing in it is the decisive statement. It would not be exhaustive

but it would be revealing to say there is something of Flaubert as

artist expressed in this character. Art for its own sake is all that is left.

LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP, supra note 517, at 229. See MADAME BOVARY, supra note 538, at 331-32; Levin, supra note 549, at 130. Is there an existentialist cast to Mr. Bloom’s (if not also to Flaubert’s) emphasis here? See Anastaplo, THE AMERICAN MORALIST, supra note 49, at 139-60. Be that as it may, Mr. Bloom himself made good use of physicians. It is noteworthy that he could work as much and as well as he did in his last years, considering how devastated his body had long been. For the modern model in such perseverance and its limitations, see the account of Stephen Hawking in Anastaplo, LAW AND LITERATURE AND THE BIBLE, supra note 33, at 803-27.

559. LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP, supra note 517, at 209-10.

560. Id at 226. On things always assuming a “grander size” for Mr. Bloom’s association with them, see Sara Prince Anastaplo, Allan Bloom at 26, in Murley, Braithwaite and Stone, eds., LAW AND PHILOSOPHY, supra note 300, at 1034.

561. Weir, supra note 550, at xi.

562. Does “the young Justin” mature into Flaubert the artist? The episode drawn upon here is anticipated and then described in this fashion:

Weary though they were, Charles [Bovary] and his mother stayed

                        up talking very late [after the funeral]. They spoke of the old days

                        and the future; she would come to live at Yonville now and keep

                        house for him, they would never be parted again. She was tactful

                        and comforting, inwardly delighted at the prospect of regaining an

                        affection that had been slipping from her over so many years.

                        Midnight sounded. The village was silent as ever. Charles lay

                        awake thinking incessantly of her.


                        Rodolphe, who had been out beating the coverts all day to beguile

                        the time, slept peacefully in his mansion. Far away, Léon was

                        sleeping too.


                        There was one other who was still awake at that hour.


                        On the grave among the pines a boy knelt weeping. His chest,

                        shaken with sobs, heaved in the shadows beneath the burden of

                        a measureless sorrow that was tenderer than the moon and deeper

                        than night. Suddenly the gate creaked. It was Lestiboudois,

                        returning to fetch his spade which he had left behind a while

                        before. He recognized Justin clambering over the wall and knew

                        at last where to put his finger on the rascal who stole his potatoes.

MADAME BOVARY, supra note 538, at 351. See also id.  at 85-86; Compare id. at 354 (on Justin’s immediate fate).

563. See ESSAYS, supra note 518, at 272-73, ORIGINAL INTENT, supra note 521, at 361-67, THE AMERICAN MORALIST, supra note 49, 225-44. There was, unfortunately, considerable self-deceptive, and self destructive, partisanship on all sides of the Vietnam War controversy in the United States. On the proper relation of the high to the low, see LEO STRAUSS, SPINOZA’S CRITIQUE OF RELIGION 2 (1965) [hereinafter SPINOZA’S CRITIQUE OF RELIGON], infra text accompanying note 615. For tributes to Allan Bloom, see supra notes 520, 560; Compare supra note 539, infra note 627.

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