Madame Bovary

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Penguin Books Limited, Nov 25, 2010 - Fiction - 384 pages
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Emma Bovary is beautiful and bored, trapped in her marriage to a mediocre doctor and stifled by the banality of provincial life. An ardent reader of sentimental novels, she longs for passion and seeks escape in fantasies of high romance, in voracious spending and, eventually, in adultery. But even her affairs bring her disappointment and the consequences are devastating. Flaubert's erotically charged and psychologically acute portrayal of Emma Bovary caused a moral outcry on its publication in 1857. It was deemed so lifelike that many women claimed they were the model for his heroine; but Flaubert insisted: 'Madame Bovary, c'est moi'.

A new translation by Lydia Davis

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About the author (2010)

Gustave Flaubert was born in Rouen in 1821. 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 success of Madame Bovary (1857) was ensured by government prosecution for "immorality"; Salammb˘ (1862) and The Sentimental Education (1869) received a cool public reception; not until the publication of Three Tales (1877) was his genius popularly acknowledged. His final bitterness and disillusion were vividly evidenced in the savagely satiric Bouvard and PÚcuchet, left unfinished at his death in 1880.

Lydia Davis is the author of one novel and several collections of short fiction. She is also the translator of numerous works from the French by, among others, Maurice Blanchot, Pierre Jean Jouve and Michel Leiris, and was recently named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government. She received great acclaim for her translation of Proust's The Way by Swann's for Penguin Classics and her Collected Stories have just been published by Hamish Hamilton.

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