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Salammbô by Gustave Flaubert

Salammbô (1862)

by Gustave Flaubert

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,426238,301 (3.74)59
An epic story of lust, cruelty, and sensuality, this historical novel is set in Carthage in the days following the First Punic War with Rome.
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» See also 59 mentions

English (19)  Hungarian (1)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (23)
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Il arriva juste au pied de la terrasse. Salammbô était penchée sur la balustrade; ces effroyables prunelles la contemplaient, et la conscience lui surgit de tout ce qu'il avait souffert pour elle. Bien qu'il agonisât, elle le revoyait dans sa tente, à genoux, lui entourant la taille de ses bras, balbutiant des paroles douces ; elle avait soif de les sentir encore, de les entendre; elle ne voulait pas qu'il mourût! À ce moment-là, Mâtho eut un grand tressaillement; elle allait crier. Il s'abattit à la renverse et ne bougea plus.
  Haijavivi | Jun 10, 2019 |
A bloodthirsty Carthaginian epic; reveals history in a way that few writers can manage. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Jul 3, 2016 |
As an avid ancient history fan, I was very pleasantly surprised to discover this work. Although historical fiction, in general Flaubert did his homework and wrote a fairly accurate account of the little known but brutal Third century BC war between Carthage and its mercenary army.

Flaubert did an excellent job of describing the exotic Carthaginian rituals, the multitude of peoples that comprised the mercenaries, etc. However, I found his lavishly ornate writing style tiring. Sometimes too much of a good thing really isn't that good after all. ( )
  la2bkk | Oct 17, 2014 |
A lesson from a great master in how not to write historical fiction. Flaubert is a writer’s writer, as Spenser is called a poet’s poet, so I can say that for a review.

It’s as outrageously bloody as Ross Leckie’s Hannibal – of course, with a lot more class. As exotic as... I don’t know what. The past was never this exotic: not exotic to itself. Flaubert believed in the writer being like God, everywhere present but invisible. It isn’t my school (nor his other, that a writer observes the world but has no right to comment), in spite of which I want to tell him that a collection of exotics is no way to airbrush out his hand. These are easy criticisms and have been made a hundred times. What isn’t easy is to assess what he’s doing, in the dodgy public domain translation I read. I swear to look into this again with the Krailsheimer – which I suppose is the only recent option?

In Salammbo herself he tried to portray an ancient type of woman without internal workings. I mean, he seemed to believe people of antiquity needn’t have our inner lives. It’s interesting, as is what he wants to say about religion. Because I feel I can’t get near this in a quick read of the free ebook, I’m going to give him five stars for effort and abstain on the achievement. I’ll return... since Flaubert is the original Slow Writer, who broke his back over a comma. I respect that. ( )
1 vote Jakujin | Feb 9, 2014 |
A bit of a rollicking tale, especially unexpected from Flaubert; it has the feeling of an epic poem, or a medieval romance. That's probably the best way to judge it: not dealing with deep characters (although Spendius is chilling); not interested in a perfectly coherent, driven plot (although there's plenty of action); but filled with asides, descriptions and repetitions. But it's also 'realistic', in the sense of packed with detail; this clashes in an interesting way with the characters' speeches to each other, which feel very mannered. I imagine this is much better studied than read breezily like I did.

But by far the weirdest thing was that it reminded me of 'Blood Meridian.' I wonder if there's anything to that. ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (50 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Flaubert, Gustaveprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Angioletti, Giovanni BattistaContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bo, CarloContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dumesnil, RenéIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fischetti, EzioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malmén, UlfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Otthoffer, MichelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pinxteren, Hans vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sbarbaro, CamilloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Suffel, JacquesPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Suni, AnnikkiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomas, HenriPréfacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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C'était à Mégara, faubourg de Carthage, dans les jardins d'Hamilcar.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Book description
Beyond the gardens of Hamilcar's palace, beyond the walls of Carthage, the Roman hordes stood waiting to annihilate the noblest city of ancient Africa. Within the city, all was madness: the houses were filled with the screams of women and the streets teemed with terrified men. The veil of the goddess Tanit, sacred to Carthage, had fallen to Matho, Roman soldier-of-fortune.

But when Salambo, the exquisite daughter of Hamilcar, rode into the Roman camp, into Matho's tent, to exchange her beauty for the veil of Carthage--he would throw away victory and forsake his army, his nation, and his soul for the price of her body.

Set during the historical struggle between Rome and Carthage, Flaubert's novel offers a richly detailed portrait of the lives and rites of two ancient kingdoms moved by their allegiances to very different gods.
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Average: (3.74)
1 4
2 14
2.5 5
3 36
3.5 15
4 59
4.5 7
5 41

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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