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Madame Bovary (Norton Critical Editions) [Paperback]

by Gustave Flaubert, Margaret Cohen
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 14, 2004 0393979172 978-0393979176 2nd

The text of this Norton Critical Edition is based on Eleanor Marx Aveling’s celebrated translation, revised by Paul de Man.

Margaret Cohen’s careful editorial revision modernizes and renews Flaubert’s stylistic masterpiece. In addition, Cohen has added to the Second Edition a new introduction, substantially new annotations, and twenty-one striking images, including photographs and engravings, that inform students’ understanding of middle-class life in nineteenth-century provincial France. In Madame Bovary, Flaubert created a cogent counter discourse that exposed and resisted the dominant intellectual and social ideologies of his age. The novel’s subversion of conventional moral norms inevitably created controversy and eventually led to Flaubert’s prosecution by the French government on charges of offending "public and religious morality." This Norton edition is the only one available that includes the complete manuscript from Flaubert’s 1857 trial. "Criticism" includes sixteen studies regarding the novel’s central themes, twelve of them new to the Second Edition, including essays by Charles Baudelaire, Henry James, Roland Barthes, Jonathan Culler, and Naomi Schor. A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gustave Flaubert (1821-80) is considered to be one of the most important French novelists of the nineteenth century. He's most well known for his novel Madame Bovary, and for his desire to write "a book about nothing," a novel in which all external elements, especially the presence of the author, have been eliminated, leaving nothing but style itself. Often considered a member of the naturalist school, Flaubert despised categorizations of this sort, and in novels like Bouvard and Pécuchet demonstrates the inaptness of this label. In addition to these two novels, he is also the author of A Sentimental Education, Salambo, Three Tales, and The Temptation of Saint Anthony.

Margaret Cohen is Professor in the Department of French and Italian at Stanford University. Her publications include The Sentimental Education of the Novel and Profane Illumination: Walter Benjamin and the Paris of Surrealist Revolution, as well as the co-edited collections Spectacles of Realism—Body, Gender, Genre and The Literary Channel: The Inter-national Inventions of the Novel. She has also translated and edited Sophie Cottin’s Claire d’Albe (1799).

Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 2nd edition (December 14, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393979172
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393979176
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880), the younger son of a provincial doctor, briefly studied law before devoting himself to writing, with limited success during his lifetime. After the publication of Madame Bovary in 1857, he was prosecuted for offending public morals.

Customer Reviews

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful enough May 12, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Eleanor Marx translation is available online, and stingy students will use this as an excuse for not equipping themselves with the textbook. Her translation makes for slower reading than the Lydia Davis Penguin translation, but Flaubert demands to be read slowly, which is why the novel seems so long. The corrections to the Marx translation here are sometimes prissy -- Flaubert's `le negre` in I 6 becomes 'the black man' (as opposed to the N word used by E Marx) -- I think "the negro" is the correct translation. The critical material at the back is a useful introduction to the debate on this great novel, though there are misprints in the passages quoted in French in the articles by Auerbach (4 mistakes, pp. 423, 434, 441), Stephen Heath (466 -- missing comma), LaCapra (474, 5 mistakes1) and Naomi Schor (t scanned as r by a defective machine and left uncorrected: pp. 499 twice, and other mistakes on 499, 510j. I noticed this kind of sloppiness in other Norton Critical Editions, such as "The Tales of Henry James".
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected Surprise November 14, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had to read this for class and was not looking forward to it. For class, we typically read nineteenth century novels. They are long winded and hard to understand right away. However, this book was written brilliantly. The descriptions was very vivid and the plot line was entertaining.

The plot revolves around Madame Bovary, who is bored of her middle class surroundings. She is lost in the passion and details she finds in her romantic readings. She tries to seek these illusions in real life by committing adultery and fails miserably. Madame Bovary is delusional, but you can relate to her desire to escape boredom and find contentment.

For me, I enjoy reading this book because it represent the middle ground. Madame Bovary, was neither hero or villain. She is stuck in her world and used passion to escape. This passion defined her and caused her downfall at the same time. Overall, it was a great read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Genius April 18, 2014
Madame Bovary is a very complex character. On one hand you are feeling sympathy for her ,but then you realize that you are actually being manipulated. Much like her husband is manipulated by her. I have encountered a few women like madame bovary. In every case her type leaves her husband in debt, is very vain, and treats the children as inferior. They often have abandonment issues with narcissistic personality disorder. I wonder if the writer encountered this type of character it is just unreal.

Madame Bovary strives to be sophisticated in her words however they are full of lies and deception. Much like politicans they lie by presenting speeches written by speech writers.
The men she also has affairs with are high class. Then you realize she is like a high-class courtesan and the men are hypocriticial players. Really this is an attack on the "elite"
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fine January 28, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book was in fine quality, but a much older edition than I expected--I hope nothing is different except the cover.
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