A note on climate change from Bouvard and Pecuchet

by Guy Davenport

by Guy Davenport

From Flaubert’s story of the two clerks:

 …[they] bought M. Depping’s work on The Marvels and Beauties of Nature in France…But soon there will be no more to discover.  …burning mountains are becoming extinct, natural glaciers are getting warmer

Written over a period of twenty years, but published only after his death in 1880.  He claimed to have read over 1500 books in preparation for writing it.

2 Responses to A note on climate change from Bouvard and Pecuchet

  1. Good old Gustave! Anything to be pessimistic about – he’s in there first!

  2. Lichanos says:

    Your comment, my post, and Flaubert, make an interesting tangle. I am one of those people who is unconvinced by climate change alarmist views, and I thought it was funny that Flaubert noted in 1880, long before the controversy, that glaciers were shrinking. (Indeed, it was the subject of scientific study back then, the effect of the ending of the Little Ice Age of the late 17th century).

    Your comment implies that GF was (rightly) pessimistic long before the fad began, which was not my meaning. Or, maybe you meant that he was simply ahead of his time regarding the fad for doom and gloom about the Earth’s future… As well, Bouvard and Pecuchet, strange work that it is, undermines everything it presents. Perhaps GF was pre-global warming critic of the hypothesis!

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