Sentimental education (l’éducation sentimentale in French) – 1869
Set against the chaotic backdrop of the 1848 Revolution, Sentimental Education follows the romantic adventures of Frederick Moreau, a young law student, and his education in the affairs of the heart.
Upon his return to Normandy, Frederick is captivated by Marie Arnoux, a enigmatic and captivating individual who leaves a profound impression on him. Eventually they make each other’s acquaintance and Marie becomes a symbol of unattainable perfection for Frederick, whose unrequited infatuation leaves him bouncing from one passion to another, falling in and out of love, money and society.
An elegant portrait of lust and illusion, Sentimental Education realistically captures 19th century French society and the obsessive occupations of the time. It stands up with the best work by Honoré de Balzac and Émile Zola, the latter of whom praised it for its authenticity and satire.