Searching for Emma: Gustave Flaubert and Madame Bovary

Searching for Emma: Gustave Flaubert and Madame Bovary

by Dacia Maraini
     
 

Although many writers blend autobiography and fiction, few have been so forthright in admitting it as Gustave Flaubert. In reference to his legendary novel and protagonist, he wrote: "Madame Bovary, c'est moi." Madame Bovary has become an icon for casual readers and feminists alike, but, as Dacia Maraini argues, she is one of the most problematic, though

See more details below

Overview

Although many writers blend autobiography and fiction, few have been so forthright in admitting it as Gustave Flaubert. In reference to his legendary novel and protagonist, he wrote: "Madame Bovary, c'est moi." Madame Bovary has become an icon for casual readers and feminists alike, but, as Dacia Maraini argues, she is one of the most problematic, though fascinating, female protagonists in modern literature. In this lively, learned, and very personal study, Maraini explores the profound and contradictory relationship between the writer Flaubert and the character his readers have grown to love.

Maraini argues that in their desire to claim Emma Bovary as a standard-bearer of revolt, women have often overlooked the bitter, pitiless way in which Flaubert evokes Emma's insignificance and vulgarity. Searching for Emma guides the reader through Flaubert's novel and many of his letters, seeking out the sources of his obsessive cruelty toward Emma. Maraini relates Flaubert's contempt for Emma to his relationship with his mistress, Louise Colet, to his general terror of women, and to his own self-loathing. It was entirely in spite of himself, Maraini writes, that Flaubert created the female Don Quixote so admired for her restlessness and determination.

Searching for Emma offers a novelist's insight into the complex relationship between author and character, and into the deepest motivations of fiction.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Explores the profound and contradictory relationship between the writer Flaubert and the captivating heroine of his masterpiece. Argues that in their desire to claim Emma Bovary as a standard-bearer of revolt against patriarchal society, women have often overlooked the bitter, pitiless way in which Flaubert invokes Emma's insignificance and vulgarity, and relates Flaubert's contempt for Emma to his relationship with his mistress and to his own self-loathing. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Victor Brombert
Written in a straightforward fashion, "Searching for Emma" is bright and amusing, and it is sensitive to many issues....This book takes its place next to the meditations on Flaubert to be found in Julian Barnes and in Mario Vargas Llosa. -- Victor Brombert, Princeton University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226504308
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
02/28/1998
Edition description:
1
Pages:
146
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >