- Series: Oxford World's Classics
- Paperback: 358 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reissue edition (May 15, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199535655
- ISBN-13: 978-0199535651
- Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.5 x 5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 975 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Madame Bovary: Provincial Manners (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – May 15, 2008
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"A superb new translation... If you've never read Madame Bovary, 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."--Washington Post
About the Author
Margaret Mauldon has worked as a translator since 1987. For OWC 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. Malcolm Bowie was previously Marshal Foch Professor of French Literature at the University of Oxford, and Fellow of All Souls College before he became Master of Christ's College, Cambridge in 2002. He is the author of books on Mallarmé, Freud and Proust, and his acclaimed study Proust Among the Stars (1998) won the $50,000 Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism in 2001, the largest annual cash prize for literary criticism in the English language.
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See, Flaubert is perhaps the first solid example of masterful handling of what writers and English professors refer to as Free Indirect Speech. You'll notice that the story opens with an unnamed first person narrator, then, without warning, the story shifts to third person omniscient, having already utterly and completely drawn you into the story. It's brilliant, and even today, Flaubert is the one you'll be encouraged to study if you wish to master writing from this point of view.
I highly recommend this story, for philosophers, for writers, and for those just looking for an interesting tale exploring some important truths.
Then again perhaps the point of the novel is to show us how banal life is when one cannot find anything meaningful beyond oneself. Instead of being tragic, I found the both of their deaths as pointless as their lives. The fact that neither is any worse than the miserable people that surround them is the best thing left to say..
In that sense, the novel serves a useful purpose in that it reveals that a full life involves more than satisfying one's own appetites as Emma attempts to do and the folly of basing one's happiness on an unworthy object of adoration as he does. I recommend reading it as forerunner of so much of today's entertainment built on unsympathetic characters facing the consequences of their vapid choices. The art of the novel lies in Flaubert's ability to convey that message without appearing to preach.
The author did a remarkable job of making Madame Bovary's frustration almost palpable. The frantic life of lies and desperation that she lived in pursuit of her illusive dream manifested itself in a madness that would not even allow her to love her own daughter.
Flaubert does an engaging job of instilling in the reader a hope that Madame Bovary would not come to a tragic end. But, as the reader expected from the beginning, it was not to be.
A beautifully written story of discontent; told objectively, without romanticizing or moralizing. Madame Bovary is a masterpiece of realist fiction.