This comprehensive reference begins with an introductory chapter that overviews Flaubert's life and career. A detailed summary of the novel's plot is followed by a close examination of the novel's genesis, its publication history, and the merits of various editions and translations. Later chapters discuss the social and cultural contexts informing the work, Flaubert's literary craftsmanship, and the novel's critical reception. The volume concludes with extensive bibliographic information.
Flaubert's determination to achieve stylistic and structural perfection led to the creation of his masterpiece, Madame Bovary. The achievement was long considered the exemplary novel in Western literature, and writers remain deeply indebted to its legacy.