Intimate Notebook

“If you begin your book telling yourself: it must prove this or that, the reader must come away from it religious, or ungodly, or erotic — you will write a bad book, because in composing it you have offended against truth, distorted the facts. Ideas flow spontaneously, following an inevitable, natural course. If, for any purpose whatever, you try to make them take a direction that isn’t their own, everything is wrong. You must let characters limn themselves according to their own logic; action must develop of itself. Everything must grow freely, and you must do no forcing in one direction or another. Examples: Les Martyrs, Gil Blas, Béranger.”
~ Gustave Flaubert

an extract...


Each week we publish short extracts from books that we love, or passages we have come across in magazines or on the radio. This week's is from Gustave Flaubert's diary, written between 1840 & 1841 when the author was in his late teens. We found this particular extract in the Swiss Literary Archives in Bern, Switzerland, while researching the notebooks of the American writer, Patricia Highsmith. It was glued into the final page of her cahier number twenty-nine, dating it to around the summer of 1968.