THE UNIVERSE OF WORDS: Flaubert's search for le mot juste
According to Flaubert, a writer was a craftsman whose tools consisted of words. He considered himself to be a kind of scientist who, with the help of the language, would be able to reproduce what he had found out through careful studies of nature and people. According to him, literature should be a scientific, artistic and theoretical endeavour, as well it had to be as concrete and true to life as possible. Above all, an authorship worthy of the name would be apt to apply all the means at its disposal and in particular language, which had to be cultivated and chastised to enable a use of its representative capacities to the highest possible degree. Flaubert was so engrossed in his writing that he told Louise Coles, perhaps the only woman he had truly loved, apart from his sister and her daughter, that:
What benefits new books bring us! I would like a basket full of books telling the youth of images which fall from heaven for me every day. This desire is natural. This prodigy is easy. For, up there, in heaven, isn't paradise an immense library? […] Thus, in the morning, before the books piled high on my table, to the god of reading, I say my prayer of the devouring reader: ‘Give us this day our daily hunger.