Madame Bovary

Front Cover
Wordsworth Editions, 1993 - Fiction - 274 pages
2 Reviews

With an Introduction by Roger Clark, University of Kent at Canterbury. Translation by Eleanor Marx-Aveling.

Castigated for offending against public decency, Madame Bovary has rarely failed to cause a storm. For Flaubert's contemporaries, the fascination came from the novelist's meticulous account of provincial matters. For the writer, subject matter was subordinate to his anguished quest for aesthetic perfection. For his twentieth-century successors the formal experiments that underpin Madame Bovary look forward to the innovations of contemporary fiction.

Flaubert's protagonist in particular has never ceased to fascinate. Romantic heroine or middle-class neurotic, flawed wife and mother or passionate protester against the conventions of bourgeois society, simultaneously the subject of Flaubert's admiration and the butt of his irony - Emma Bovary remains one of the most enigmatic of fictional creations.

Flaubert's meticulous approach to the craft of fiction, his portrayal of contemporary reality, his representation of an unforgettable cast of characters make Madame Bovary one of the major landmarks of modern fiction.

 

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I first read this when I was around 14 and it made no impression on me--at least that I can remember. But I have just read it again and it filled me with such a jumble of emotions. It tore at me on so many levels, but overall left me terribly, terribly sad.
To quote Erica Jong in Salon: "If Emma Bovary, with all her self-delusion, still stirs our hearts, it is because she wants something authentic and important: for her life to have meaning, for her life to bring transcendence."
I am still thinking about this book days after I finished reading it.
 

Review: Madame Bovary

User Review  - Nadia - Goodreads

The plot was too predictable. I wasn't in the mood to finish it. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
10
Section 3
27
Section 4
31
Section 5
36
Section 6
44
Section 7
53
Section 8
74
Section 13
126
Section 14
161
Section 15
177
Section 16
196
Section 17
200
Section 18
213
Section 19
227
Section 20
251

Section 9
77
Section 10
84
Section 11
94
Section 12
118
Section 21
271
Section 22
278
Copyright

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About the author (1993)

Born in the town of Rouen, in northern France, in 1821, Gustave Flaubert was sent to study law in Paris at the age of 18. After only three years, his career was interrupted and he retired to live with his widowed mother in their family home at Croisset, on the banks of the Seine River. Supported by a private income, he devoted himself to his writing. Flaubert traveled with writer Maxime du Camp from November 1849 to April 1851 to North Africa, Syria, Turkey, Greece, and Italy. When he returned he began Madame Bovary, which appeared first in the Revue in 1856 and in book form the next year. The realistic depiction of adultery was condemned as immoral and Flaubert was prosecuted, but escaped conviction. Other major works include Salammbo (1862), Sentimental Education (1869), and The Temptation of Saint Antony (1874). His long novel Bouvard et Pecuchet was unfinished at his death in 1880. After his death, Flaubert's fame and reputation grew steadily, strengthened by the publication of his unfinished novel in 1881 and the many volumes of his correspondence.

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