Comic Readings of Dictionnaire des idées reçues

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This essay examines the Dictionnaire des idée reçues as a humorous text which, whatever Flaubert’s stated intentions, invites a variety of responses from its reader, this more particularly for being unpublished and probably unfinished. Alongside the author’s broadside satiric attack on bourgeois stupidity, which in itself cannot be seen as uniquely value-based, one notes the scapegoating of various clans, including the petite bourgeoisie, the incitement of a humour of recognition, whereby even the author himself may have identified with various bêtises he included, the use of a childlike or adolescent approach to knowledge which involves endearing half-truths, imprecisions and improprieties, plus some outright nonsense which one reads entirely as one chooses. The result is a text the pleasure of which is analogous to that of other comic compendia of today, and whose range moves well beyond the confines of Flaubert’s self-advertized cynicism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-80
Number of pages18
JournalIsraeli Journal of Humor Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


  • Satire


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