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Madame Bovary (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – June 2, 2005
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"Madame Bovary is available in a superb new translation, in a handsome hardback volume,and if you've never read it, or if you've only worked through it in first-year college French, you need to sit down with this book as soon as possible. This is one of the summits of prose art, and not to know such a masterpiece is to live a diminished life."--Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World
About the Author
Margaret Mauldon has worked as a translator since 1987. She has translated Zola's L'Assommoir, Stendhal's The Charterhouse of Parma, Huysmans' Against Nature (winner of the Scott Moncrieff Prize for translation, 1999), Constant's Adolphe, and Maupassant's Bel-Ami, all for the Oxford World's Classics series. Malcolm Bowie, formerly Marshal Foch Professor of French Literature at the University of Oxford, is now Master of Christ's College, Cambridge. His publications include Proust Among the Stars, which won the prestigious Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism in 2001.
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Despite the relevance of those issues, the characterizations are not particularly realistic by modern standards: the characters are overdrawn - excessive. Emma is almost childlike in her profound unhappiness and obsessiveness; her husband Charles is beyond oblivious in failing to perceive Emma's thinking and behavior; and the comical arrogance of various professionals, such as the doctors and the pharmacist, is only exceeded by their ignorance and incompetence.
The book is set in small towns in the French countryside. It's difficult for the modern reader to fully grasp that environment, though the author offers fairly detailed and sophisticated descriptions. In fact, one might want to keep a dictionary handy.
The subject matter of the book is commonplace in the modern novel. But the book is interesting just from the standpoint that a nineteenth century author could produce a book that is so psychologically perceptive concerning marital life. It is considered to be a classic for a reason; it remains worth reading.
Most recent customer reviews
"Emma Bovary is the central character in Gustave Flaubert's masterpiece...Read more
That's what the critics say. Some reviewers are more honest. They say it's admirably boring.Read more