Flaubert and Don Quijote: The Influence of Cervantes on Madame Bovary

Overview

This book tells the story of how Flaubert's admiration for Cervantes' Don Quijote unfolded, and how profoundly it shaped and influenced the writer's approach to all his major works, beginning with his breakthrough novel Madame Bovary. It gives significance to what Flaubert meant when he said, while writing Bovary: "Je retrouve toutes mes origins dans le livre que je savais par coeur avant de savoir lire, Don Quichotte" (I can trace all my origins back to the book I knew by heart...). Several cultural and personal...

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Overview

This book tells the story of how Flaubert's admiration for Cervantes' Don Quijote unfolded, and how profoundly it shaped and influenced the writer's approach to all his major works, beginning with his breakthrough novel Madame Bovary. It gives significance to what Flaubert meant when he said, while writing Bovary: "Je retrouve toutes mes origins dans le livre que je savais par coeur avant de savoir lire, Don Quichotte" (I can trace all my origins back to the book I knew by heart...). Several cultural and personal factors converged to establish the prominent place of Don Quijote in Flaubert's imagination, but it is the profound parallels between the two novels that clearly illustrate how Don Quijote permeates Madame Bovary in both subject and approach. One such parallel is Alonso Quijano and Emma Bovary's desire to imitate fiction, which reflects a kind of literary madness in which the attempt to impose the narrative conventions of romances on life only leads hero and heroine to destruction, disappointment, and ultimately death. Soledad Fox's study situates each author in his respective historical and aesthetic context, and provides key examples of how the French author penetrated deeply into Cervantes' novelistic approach and how his relationship to Don Quijote directly shaped his literary success, disappointment, and ultimately death. Soledad Fox's study situates each author in his respective historical and aesthetic context, and provides key examples of how the French author penetrated deeply into Cervantes' novelistic approach and how his relationship to Don Quijote directly shaped his literary success.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A fascinating, authoritative study of Don Quijote and Madame Bovary, written with precision and clarity. Richly defining their cultural, social, and historical contexts, professor Fox develops a highly intelligent analysis of Cervantes’ influence on Flaubert’s novel and offers fresh insight concerning their differences, especially the contrast between the authors’ conceptions of their central characters.”  —David Kleinbard, professor emeritus, City University of New York

“The study is full of insights and is made by a very subtle and intelligent scholar who has a rare capacity not to force the material, but to listen to its voice with extraordinary respect and acumen.”  —Mikhail Iampolski, professor, comparative literature, New York University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781845193973
  • Publisher: Sussex Academic Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Soledad Fox is professor of Spanish and comparative literature at Williams College. She has published articles and lectured on Spanish and French literature on exile and autobiographical writing, and is the author of Constancia del la Mora: International Voice for the Spanish Republic.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vi

Preface and Acknowledgements vii

I Cervantes in Context 1

II Don Quijote: A Selective Genealogy 19

III A Self-Conscious Author 32

IV Readers and Books 45

V A Prosaic Education 75

VI Madame Bovary and Don Quijote 125

Notes 174

Bibliography 186

Index 190

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