| Quote #1
So the days slipped by with the same tiresome experiences, and enslavement to contracted habits. He turned over the pages of pamphlets under the arcades of the Odéon, went to read the Revue des Deux Mondes at the café, entered the hall of the Collége de France, and for an hour stopped to listen to a lecture on Chinese or political economy. (1.3.53)
Here's an early hint that Frederick just isn't interested in politics. In the midst of a revolution, this guy is totally unaffected by a lecture on politics. He's just passing the time.
| Quote #2
And it was not the love of drinking that attracted Citizen Regimbart to these places, but the inveterate habit of talking politics at such resorts. (1.4.145)
Wait, someone in Sentimental Education who's into politics? Mark the calendar! Regimbart is always up for a good debate; in fact, he seems to care very little about anything else. Does Flaubert think this guy is a better citizen than Frederick?
| Quote #3
The anxiety about external truth is a mark of contemporary baseness; and art will become, if things go on that way, a sort of poor joke as much below religion as it is below poetry, and as much below politics as it is below business. (1.4.239)
Pellerin, artist extraordinaire… ish. He's always going on about aesthetics, and he thinks that art should take precedence over everything—especially politics.