Flaubert Journal to Be Auctioned Off

Business tycoon, Pierre Bergé, the famous co-founder of Yves Saint Laurent, has begun selling off works from his own private library. Known to be one of the most valuable collections in private ownership, Bergé has managed already to collect over $11 million within the first round of sales from his collection, all of which went to a foundation set up by Bergé and Saint Laurent to support AIDS research.

Image courtesy of

Of the many rare and beautiful artifacts in Bergé’s library, a particular piece has grabbed headlines. An authentic travel journal by the French writer, Gustave Flaubert. A companion during his journeys through Loire and Brittany in 1886. In it are his meticulous and convoluted notes, representative of an exhaustive and rigorous writing process.

An expert in such artifacts at the French auction house called, Drouot, is Benoît Forgeot. He said the following of the journal:


“When you read this book you are in [Flaubert’s] atelier looking over his shoulder, seeing the process of creation, the search for perfection … We can see that Flaubert was a man for whom writing was a difficult process; he was perpetually unsatisfied with what he had done, as is clear from all the scratching out and rewriting. This book is a direct contrast to his letters, where it is rare to find a single error.”


The Flaubert journal is considered the crown jewel of the expansive collection, which contains rare and exclusive prints, manuscripts, first edition, and more; from authors ranging from Wordsworth to Hans Christian Andersen. When questioned about his decision to sell, Pierre Bergé said “You have to know how to get rid of things.”


Feature image courtesy of