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Madame Bovary (Bantam Classics) Paperback – June 1, 1982
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Original Language: French --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Flaubert's controversial novel is the first of the great "fallen women" novels that were written during the Realism period ("Anna Karenina" and "The Awakening" being two other classic examples). It is hard to appreciate that this was one of the first novels to offer an unadorned, unromantic portrayal of everyday life and people. For some people it is difficult to enjoy a novel in which they find the "heroine" to be such an unsympathetic figure; certainly the events in Emma Bovary's life have been done to death in soap operas. Still, along with Scarlett O'Hara, you have to consider Emma Bovary one of the archetypal female characters created in the last 200 years of literature. "Madame Bovary" is one of the greatest and most important novels, right up there with "Don Quixote" and "Ulysses." I just wish I was able to read in it French.
Her attempts to escape the tedium of her life through a series of adulterous affairs are thwarted by the reality that the men she chooses to love are shallow and self-centered and thus are unable to love anyone but themselves.
In love with a love that can never be and dreadfully overstretched financially, Emma finds herself caught in a downward spiral that can only end in tragedy.
Part of the difficulty, and the pleasure, of reading Madame Bovary comes from the fact the Flaubert refuses to embed his narrative with a moral matrix; he refuses, at least explicitly, to tell the reader, what, if any, moral lesson he should draw from the text.
It is this lack of moral viewpoint that made Madame Bovary shocking to Flaubert's contemporaries, so much so that Flaubert found himself taken to court for the novel's offenses to public and religious decency. Although today's readers will find no such apparent scandals in the book, they will still be challenged to make sense of both Emma and her story.
It is quite common to see Emma Bovary as silly, extravagant and much too romantically inclined. An avid consumer of romantic literature (a habit into which the heroine was indoctrinated in her convent school upbringing), Emma has made the morbid mistake of buying into the notion of romantic love in its fullest sense, and the mortal mistake of believing she can reach its fulfillment in her own life.
As such, Emma Bovary becomes a tragic figure of almost mythic proportion.Read more ›
The story of Emma Bovary is well known and uncomplicated. Set in the provincial towns of Tostes and Yonville (it is subtitled "Patterns of Provincial Life"), with adulterous interludes in Rouen, "Madame Bovary" narrates the life of Charles Bovary and Emma Rouault. Charles, an "officier de sante"--a licensed medical practitioner without a medical degree--meets Emma while tending to her injured father. Charles is married at that time to the first Madame Bovary, also called Madame Dubuc, a widow and thin, ugly woman who dominates the mild-mannered Charles from the very beginning. "It was his wife [Madame Dubuc] who ruled: in front of company he had to say certain things and not others, he had to eat fish on Friday, dress the way she wanted, obey her when she ordered him to dun nonpaying patients.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Easily comprehended by readers such as me, who appreciate a realist style. Flaubert and translator provide a clear descriptive portrayal of a mid-19th C. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Arcola
Enjoyed this book very much. No wonder it has remained a classic for so long. The characterizations of a hundred years or more are recognizable in some of the characters we meet... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Frances Schwartz
I'd had no experience of Flaubert or the Bovary story and was simply curious to read it. Despite the cultural divide between me and 19th century rural France I was drawn into this... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Barbara R Carroll
If you haven't read this, you have missed out on a period piece whose plot must have created a literary scandal. Don't know why I've avoided reading it but glad I have now.Published 2 months ago by J. Cox
I was very excited to read this book as it's not something I would normally read. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Colleen M Rush
Worth the read. Not the best Russian novels but it brings the climate of the times. Madame Bovary was a powerful character.Published 2 months ago by Nick