Readers of French literature will recognize Colet as the recipient, if not of the kind of physical attentiveness she wanted desperately from her lover Flaubert, then at least of a clutch of his most remarkable letters about art and fiction. In this roman Ã clef, Flaubert is named Leonce and is ""working on a great book like a fanatic in a cult of art. . . I was the confidante of this unknown genius. I received his letters every day, and every two months when a part of his task was completed, I became once more his fond reward, his shimmering sensuality, the passing frenzy of his heart, which, strange to say, opened and closed to these powerful sensations at will."" In Colet's quasi-memoir, the fustian (""shimmering sensuality"" and ""passing frenzy"") is applied rarely to Flaubert but a great deal more often to Alfred de Musset and George Sand, who are more or less the fictionalized subjects here: a story of affairs of the heart negotiated in the deepest jungles of the literary politics of the time. The plot is cardboard, the touch crude--yet, schlocky style and all, this curiosity (well rendered and nicely introduced by translator Rose) retains some genuine literary-historical interest.