Flaubert teaches you to gave upon the truth and not blink from its consequences. he teaches you, with Montaigne, to sleep on the pillow of doubt. he teaches you to dissect out the constituent parts of reality, and to observe the Nature is always a mixture of genres. he teaches you the most exact use of language. he teaches you not to approach a book in search of moral or social pills -- literature is not a pharmacopoeia. he teaches the pre-eminence of Truth, Beauty, Feeling and Style. And if you study his private life, he teaches courage, stoicism, friendship. the importance of intelligence, skepticism and wit. the folly of cheap patriotism. the virtue of being able to remain by yourself in your own room. the hatred of hypocrisy. distrust of the doctrinaire. the need for plain speaking.
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Author: Julian Barnes