Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary

by Gustave Flaubert
3.4 57

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Overview

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

As a provocative tale of passion and complacency, ideals and self-delusions, Madame Bovary (1857) remains a milestone in European fiction. In telling his story of Emma Bovary—a farmer’s daughter who, with girlhood dreams fuelled by sensational novels, marries a provincial doctor—Flaubert inaugurated a literary mode that would be called Realism. But so exacting were Flaubert’s standards of authenticity that his portrayal of the breakdown of Emma’s marriage, and the frankness with which he treats her adulterous liaisons, scandalized many of his contemporaries. Yet to others, the mix of painful introspection, emotional blindness, and cynical self-seeking that distinguishes his characters made the novel instantly recognizable as a work of genius. It is a novel fixed upon the idea of romance—of the need for Romance—in the face of day-to-day banalities. It is a theme that is ironic insofar as the exquisite clarity of Flaubert’s prose serves to hauntingly underline the futility of the heroine’s ultimate tragedy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140621792
Publisher: Penguin Books, Limited (UK)
Publication date: 03/28/1998

About the Author

GUSTAVE FLAUBERT was born in Rouen in 1821, the son of a prominent physician. A solitary child, he was attracted to literature at an early age, and after his recovery from a nervous breakdown suffered while a law student, he turned his total energies to writing. Aside from journeys to the Near East, Greece, Italy, and North Africa, and a stormy liaison with the poetess Louise Colet, his life was dedicated to the practice of his art. The form of his work was marked by intense aesthetic scrupulousness and passionate pursuit of le mot juste; its content alternately reflected scorn for French bourgeois society and a romantic taste for exotic historical subject matter. The success of Madame Bovary (1857) was ensured by government prosecution for “immorality”; Salammbô (1862) and The Sentimental Education (1869) received a cool public reception; not until the publication of Three Tales (1877) was his genius popularly acknowledged. Among fellow writers, however, his reputation was supreme. His circle of friends included Turgenev and the Goncourt brothers, while the young Guy de Maupassant underwent an arduous literary apprenticeship under his direction. Increasing personal isolation and financial insecurity troubled his last years. His final bitterness and disillusion were vividly evidenced in the savagely satiric Bouvard and Pécuchet, left unfinished at his death in 1880.

LYDIA DAVIS has been a MacArthur Fellow, National Book Award finalist, and Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. She was awarded the 2003 French-American Foundation Translation Prize for her translation of Marcel Proust's Swann's Way and lives near Albany, New York.

JESSICA HISCHE is a letterer, illustrator, typographer, and web designer. She currently serves on the Type Directors Club board of directors, has been named a Forbes Magazine "30 under 30" in art and design as well as an ADC Young Gun and one of Print Magazine's "New Visual Artists". She has designed for Wes Anderson, McSweeney's, Tiffany & Co, Penguin Books and many others. She resides primarily in San Francisco, occasionally in Brooklyn.

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Madame Bovary 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 57 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is just a sample of the novel and not the full book--was not advertised as sample only.
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Alley_cat82 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
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