"Considered Gustave Flaubert's masterpiece, Bouvard and Pecuchet opens with two middle-aged copy-clerks who become fast friends after meeting on a city bench and discovering their shared habit of writing their names in their hats: "I should say so! Someone could walk off with mine at the office!" When a small inheritance allows Bouvard and Pecuchet to retire early and move to the country, they use their newfound leisure time to satisfy their curiosity about all the things they'd been too busy to study in the city. Flaubert shows his unlikely protagonists diving disastrously into everything from farming and politics to literature and love, and coming up empty-handed each time - until, finally, their obsessive pursuit of knowledge becomes an end in itself." "Bouvard and Pecuchet unravels the novel's realist tradition, and sets the stage for the modernist innovations of Kafka, Joyce, and Beckett. Although Flaubert died before completing it, this new translation contains the fullest and most accurate version of the text, as well as his "Dictionary of Accepted Ideas" and the previously untranslated "Catalogue of Fashionable Ideas.""--BOOK JACKET.