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Book cover design for "Flaubert Postsecular: Modernity Crossed Out" by Barbara Vinken.
Summary of the book:By his national affiliation and choice of genre, French novelist Gustave Flaubert can be considered emblematic of modernity. This book showcases his specific and highly refined imaginary as at once unique and symptomatic of an era. In particular, it contributes to the controversial discussion of modernity's relation to religion. At a time when new religious fundamentalisms throughout the world are on the rise, this has only become a more pressing issue.
Through this single acclaimed author, we realize that modernity can only be understood in terms of its critical rewriting of religious dogma. Strikingly, already in Flaubert, this rewriting emerges in conjunction with questions of the Orient and Orientalism. Flaubert's Orient is an Other that is always already within Western society. By highlighting the complexity of the relation between religion, modernity, and the Oriental, Barbara Vinken's discussion of these issues goes beyond simple binaries. Her Flaubert Postsecular is a model of scholarly research with far-reaching political implications.
This book is a piece of literary theory analyzing Gustave Flaubert’s body of work. The author pulls apart Flaubert’s writing to analyze it. We did the same thing visually that the author did conceptually – we took the first page of Flaubert’s most famous book, Madame Bovary, and sliced it up into strips so we could pull it apart. We photographed the title of the book peeking through these strips, as a visual metaphor for unpacking and dissecting Flaubert’s writing. The final cover is the first page of one of Flaubert’s most famous works being pulled apart, inviting the reader to explore the structure inside of it.
This book was published by Stanford University Press in 2015.