Madame Bovary (Collector's Library)

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Powerful, deeply moving examination of the moral degeneration of a middle-class Frenchwoman.

Bored and unhappy in a lifeless marriage, Emma Bovary yearns to escape from the dull circumstances of provincial life. Flaubert's powerful, deeply moving examination of the moral degeneration of a middle-class Frenchwoman is universally regarded as one of the landmarks of 19th-century fiction.
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Madame Bovary

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Overview

Powerful, deeply moving examination of the moral degeneration of a middle-class Frenchwoman.

Bored and unhappy in a lifeless marriage, Emma Bovary yearns to escape from the dull circumstances of provincial life. Flaubert's powerful, deeply moving examination of the moral degeneration of a middle-class Frenchwoman is universally regarded as one of the landmarks of 19th-century fiction.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780760748657
  • Publisher: Sterling Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/21/2003
  • Series: Barnes & Noble Collector's Library
  • Edition description: Pocket-Sized Unabridged Edition
  • Pages: 431

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The uncouth schoolboy; The Bovary household; A mother's ambitions; Studies with the cure; Training for medicine; Student life in Rouen; Failure and success; A practice in Normandy; The bailiff's widow; The first Madame Bovary.

We were in the prep-room when the Head came in, followed by a new boy in mufti and a beadle carrying a big desk. The sleepers aroused themselves, and we all stood up, putting on a startled look, as if we had been buried in our work.

The Head motioned to us to sit down.

'Monsieur Roger,' said he in a quiet tone to the prep master, I've brought you a new boy. He's going into the second. If his conduct and progress are satisfactory, he will be put up with the boys of his own age. '

The new boy had kept in the background, in the corner behind the door, almost out of sight. He was a country lad of about fifteen, and taller than any of us. His hair was clipped straight across the forehead, like a village choirboy's. He seemed a decent enough fellow, but horribly nervous. Although he was not broad across the shoulders, his green cloth jacket, with its black buttons, looked as if it pinched him under the arms and revealed, protruding well beyond the cuffs, a pair of raw, bony wrists, obviously not unaccustomed to exposure. His legs, encased in blue stockings, issued from a pair of drab-coloured breeches, very tightly braced. He had on a pair of thick, clumsy shoes, not particularly well cleaned and plentifully fortified with nails.

The master began to hear the boys at their work. The newcomer listened with all his ears, drinking it in as attentively as if he had been in church, notdaring to cross his legs or to lean his elbows on the desk, and when two o'clock came and the bell rang for dismissal, the master had to call him back to earth and tell him to line up with the rest of us.

It was our custom, when we came in to class, to throw our caps on the floor, in order to have our hands free. As soon as ever we got inside the door, we 'buzzed' them under the form, against the wall, so as to kick up plenty of dust. That was supposed to be 'the thing.' Whether he failed to notice this manoeuvre or whether he was too shy to join in it, it is impossible to say, but when prayers were over he was still nursing his cap. That cap belonged to the composite order of headgear, and in it the heterogeneous characteristics of the busby, the Polish shapska, the bowler, the otterskin toque and the cotton nightcap were simultaneously represented. It was, in short, one of those pathetic objects whose mute unloveliness conveys the infinitely wistful expression we may sometimes note on the face of an idiot. Ovoid in form and stiffened with whalebone, it began with a sort of triple line of sausage-shaped rolls running all round its circumference; next, separated by a red band, came alternate patches of velvet and rabbit-skin; then a kind of bag or sack which culminated in a stiffened polygon elaborately embroidered, whence, at the end of a long, thin cord, hung a ball made out of gold wire, by way of a tassel. The cap was brand-new, and the peak of it all shiny.

'Stand up,' said the master.

He stood up, and down went his cap. The whole class began to laugh.

He bent down to recover it. One of the boys next to him jogged him with his elbow and knocked it down again. Again he stooped to pick it up.

'You may discard your helmet,' said the master, who had a pretty wit.

A shout of laughter from the rest of the class quite put the poor fellow out of countenance, and so flustered was he that he didn't know whether to keep it in his hand, put it on the floor or stick it on his head. He sat down and deposited it on his knees.

'Stand up,' said the master again, 'and tell me your name.'

In mumbling tones the new boy stammered out something quite unintelligible.

'Again!'

Again came the inarticulate mumble, drowned by the shouts of the class.

'Louder!' rapped out the master sharply. 'Speak up!'

Whereupon the boy, in desperation, opened his jaws as wide as they would go and, with the full force of his lungs, as though he were hailing somebody at a distance, fired off the word 'Charbovari.'

In an instant the class was in an uproar. The din grew louder and louder, a ceaseless crescendo crested with piercing yells--they shrieked, they howled, they stamped their feet, bellowing at the top of their voices: 'Charbovari! Charbovari!' Then, after a while, the storm began to subside. There would be sporadic outbreaks from time to time, smothered by a terrific effort, or perhaps a titter would fizz along a whole row, or a stifled explosion sputter out here and there, like a half-extinguished fuse.

However, beneath a hail of 'impositions,' order was gradually restored. The master--who had had it dictated, spelled out and read over to him--had at length succeeded in getting hold of the name of Charles Bovary, and forthwith he ordered the hapless wretch to go and sit on the dunce's stool, immediately below the seat of authority. He started to obey, stopped short and stood hesitating.

'What are you looking for?' said the master.

'My ca--' began the new boy timidly, casting an anxious glance around him.

An angry shout of 'Five hundred lines for the whole class' checked, like the Quos ego, a fresh outburst. 'Stop your noise, then, will you?' continued the master indignantly, mopping his brow with a handkerchief which he had produced from the interior of his cap.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 126 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(42)

4 Star

(27)

3 Star

(32)

2 Star

(11)

1 Star

(14)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 77 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Don't bother with other translations...

    I have read "Madame Bovary" in the original more than once, and have read two other translations of the text. Lydia Davis's is by far the best. She makes available to the reader of English what Flaubert's intent--not just his words. Wonderful and eye-opening!

    "Madame Bovary" is a true world classic and deserves every reader's attention.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2012

    Read this on college

    Read this book years ago and quite frankly detested the book. I almost gave up but i persevered and the ending was most satisfying in that it was over.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2011

    Anon

    Do not download!! Book is incomplete.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 29, 2013

    Phenomenal Translation

    I was reading a free (or nearly free) public domain version of this classic novel on my Nook but got tired of the stilted and awkward translation. I eventually switched to the Lydia Davis translation and am very glad I did. This translation really makes the novel come alive for readers in English. Flaubert was a groundbreaking novelist whose work still resonates today - this translation makes that clear.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Make sure you get either the Geoffrey Wall translation or the la

    Make sure you get either the Geoffrey Wall translation or the latest, Lydia Davis'. I don't see why Barnes & Noble makes it so difficult to find different versions of the same book. I added them as recommendations so you should be able to click on the image to the left to find the better translations.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2008

    Loved on a 2nd Chance

    I read this my sophomore year and hated it, but I read it again my junior year and was surprisingly impressed. Flaubert paints an excellent portrait of a woman spiraling out of control on her own terms, in a sense, empowering women. Emma Bovary is her own decision maker and suffers her own consequences for it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2013

    Hey faith

    Can you write about jb having sex and blojobs and stuff with brooklyn?please?:)

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2013

    Hi fath

    Can u write one about having sex

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2012

    Not the full book

    This is just a sample of the novel and not the full book--was not advertised as sample only.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 19, 2012

    A strong woman before they were allowed to be strong

    I read this in high school and again I love reading tales of strong women although her tale is not wholesome it allowed her an unhear of freedom most were not allowed to experience.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2012

    Boring

    You'd think a bpok about adultery would be more interesting. This book is like 30% adultery and drama, 70% boring descriptions of rural life and long drawn out conversations that have nothing to do with anything. I'm literally counting down the pages until i'm done with this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2012

    better than the awakening

    good read worth your time

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2011

    highly recommended

    arrived on time and in great condition

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 25, 2011

    Do not buy

    An unreadable translation

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2002

    Bovary rules

    I simply can't believe me eyes when I read some of the other reviews. One reader gives Flaubert's masterpiece one star, and then recommends a Nabokov novel, stating that this book is "utterly unrelated" to Madame Bovary. Nabokov once called Bovary "the unsurpassed star of French literature". Since we're quotating here, let me give you one of Oscar Wilde: "There are no such things as moral or immoral books, books are well written, or not well written". This, dear readers, is the whole point. If one says the story of Emma's lovelife is quite dull, I can fully agree on that..but again, this is the whole point! In his correspondance, Flaubert made clear he played with the idea of writing a book about 'nothing', a book that would only survive thanks to the suberb style. Bovary stands as a giant because of the style in which it's written. Furthermore, another reason why this book is my favourite of all times, is that the writer draws no conclusions. Homeros didn't draw conclusions, Goethe didn't, Flaubert didn't, even the Bible didn't.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2002

    Overrated

    Madame Bovary is a 'classic' despite what I believe. I chose to read it mainly because of the initial controversy it held -- intruiging for the time, but quite dull and somewhat commonplace now. This book is full of details (and not witty ones like Dickins' novels). I wrote a paper on it, and while i wrote, i began to like the book and Emma more. Simply reading it killed me I had to force myself through, but in analyzing it I found myself in Emma as others have said -- 'c'est moi!' Really, it was nothing I couldn't have gotton through by analyzing my own being though....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2000

    A Suggestion for readers!

    For the readers who have enjoyed this book, I urge you to read the Awakening by Kate Chopin. It is like this book, also leaving you glued to it, yet the ending is kind sad.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2000

    Not quite boring, not quite interesting

    Flaubert manages to take an interesting plot with interesting characters and make it not so interesting. He gives the story a great conflict, whether Emma should have an affair or not, but he doesn't tell the reader which would be better for her. He disects Emma's emotions so much that they lose their expressiveness.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2000

    terrible

    I must say it was boring! I had to force myself to read through it all.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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