I came across
Flaubert's letters to George Sand
, the female novelist and libertine whom Baudelaire (with good reason) called a "stupid slut". They reveal him, I think, to be something of a Nietzscheian
avant la lettre
, or at any rate a modern reactionary. There are even traces of Sorel, in his attacks on eighteenth-century absolutism, which paved the way for the structure of modern politics and the identification of the state with the highest form of reason. His literary realism was evidently correspondent with a cynical political realism.
He despises the Paris Commune and democracy, the mass and its Christian indulgence towards the weak and suspicion of the strong; he is enthusiastic for an aristocracy of natural virtues and talents: