Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert [NOOK Book]

Overview

In a provincial village far from Paris, a doctor named Charles Bovary marries a beautiful farm girl: Emma. She rapidly grows bored with him and takes a rich landowner as a lover. When her lover rejects her, she takes up with a law clerk. Her husband knows nothing of her romances, nor does he know that Emma has ruined him with her waste, poor management, and self-indulgence...

Madame Bovary takes place in provincial northern France, near the ...
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Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

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Overview

In a provincial village far from Paris, a doctor named Charles Bovary marries a beautiful farm girl: Emma. She rapidly grows bored with him and takes a rich landowner as a lover. When her lover rejects her, she takes up with a law clerk. Her husband knows nothing of her romances, nor does he know that Emma has ruined him with her waste, poor management, and self-indulgence...

Madame Bovary takes place in provincial northern France, near the town of Rouen in Normandy. The story begins and ends with Charles Bovary, a stolid, kindhearted man without much ability or ambition. As the novel opens, Charles is a shy, oddly dressed teenager arriving at a new school amidst the ridicule of his new classmates. Later, Charles struggles his way to a second-rate medical degree and becomes an officier de santé in the Public Health Service. His mother chooses a wife for him, an unpleasant but supposedly rich widow, and Charles sets out to build a practice in the village of Tostes (now Tôtes).

One day, Charles visits a local farm to set the owner's broken leg, and meets his client's daughter, Emma Rouault. Emma is a beautiful, daintily dressed young woman who has received a "good education" in a convent and who has a latent but powerful yearning for luxury and romance imbibed from the popular novels she has read. Charles is immediately attracted to her, and begins checking on his patient far more often than necessary until his wife's jealousy puts a stop to the visits. When his wife dies, Charles waits a decent interval, then begins courting Emma in earnest. Her father gives his consent, and Emma and Charles are married.

At this point, the novel begins to focus on Emma. Charles means well, but is boring and clumsy, and after he and Emma attend a ball given by the Marquis d'Andervilliers, Emma grows disillusioned with married life and becomes dull and listless. Charles consequently decides that his wife needs a change of scenery, and moves from the village of Tostes into a larger, but equally stultifying market town, Yonville (traditionally based on the town of Ry). Here, Emma gives birth to a daughter, Berthe; however, motherhood, too, proves to be a disappointment to Emma. She then becomes infatuated with one of the first intelligent young men she meets in Yonville, a young law student, Léon Dupuis, who seems to share her appreciation for "the finer things in life", and who returns her admiration. Out of fear and shame, however, Emma hides her love for Léon and her contempt for Charles, and plays the role of the devoted wife and mother, all the while consoling herself with thoughts and self-congratulations of her own virtue. Finally, in despair of ever gaining Emma's affection, Léon departs to study in Paris.

One day, a rich and rakish landowner, Rodolphe Boulanger, brings a servant to the doctor's office to be bled. He casts his eye over Emma and decides she is ripe for seduction. To this end, he invites Emma to go riding with him for the sake of her health; solicitous only for Emma's health, Charles embraces the plan, suspecting nothing. A four-year affair follows. Swept away by romantic fantasy, Emma risks compromising herself with indiscreet letters and visits to her lover, and finally insists on making a plan to run away with him. Rodolphe, however, has no intention of carrying Emma off, and ends the relationship on the eve of the great elopement with an apologetic, self-excusing letter delivered at the bottom of a basket of apricots. The shock is so great that Emma falls deathly ill, and briefly turns to religion.

When Emma is nearly fully recovered, she and Charles attend the opera, on Charles' insistence, in nearby Rouen. The opera reawakens Emma's passions, and she re-encounters Léon who, now educated and working in Rouen, is also attending the opera. They begin an affair. While Charles believes that she is taking piano lessons, Emma travels to the city each week to meet Léon, always in the same room of the same hotel, which the two come to view as their "home." The love affair is, at first, ecstatic; then, by degrees, Léon grows bored with Emma's emotional excesses, and Emma grows ambivalent about Léon, who becoming himself more like the mistress in the relationship, compares poorly, at least implicitly, to the rakish and domineering Rodolphe.......
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940014394604
  • Publisher: eProsperity
  • Publication date: 5/29/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 282 KB

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 13, 2013

    WOULD RECOMMEND

    Worth the reading,

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  • Posted January 18, 2013

    Slow

    This classic was ok, but not great. The story is slow

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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