Item description for Madame Bovary (Literatura Universal) (Spanish Edition) by Gustave Flaubert...
Emma Bovary has proved one of the most compelling heroines in modern literature. Unhappily married to a loyal but bumbling provincial doctor, she revolts against her boredom by pursuing unbridled passion. Inevitably, Emma's sensual desires lead to suffering, corruption and her eventual tragic downfall.
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Studio: PANAMERICANA EDITORIAL
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.9" Width: 5.3" Height: 0.9" Weight: 0.9 lbs.
Release Date Feb 1, 1994
Publisher Panamericana Editorial
ISBN 9583001201 ISBN13 9789583001208
Availability 0 units.
More About Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) was born in Rouen, France, and was brought to popular attention when Madame Bovary was deemed immoral by the French government. Lydia Davis (translator)is a MacArthur Fellow, National Book Award finalist, and Officier of the Order of Arts and Letters and was awarded the 2011 French-American Foundation Translation Prize for her translation of Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary and the 2003 French-American Foundation Translation Prize for her translation of Marcel Proust's Swann's Way. She lives near Albany, New York.
Gustave Flaubert lived in Rouen. Gustave Flaubert was born in 1821 and died in 1880.
Reviews - What do customers think about Madame Bovary (Literatura Universal) (Spanish Edition)?
Ambiguous and Contradictory May 26, 2010
This translation of the French classic by Francis Steegmuller leaves much to be desired. The English translation feels choppy and graceless, which I assume from what I've read to be the diametrical opposite of the French original. I also have difficulties getting a hold of the author's attitude in this novel. On one hand, Madame Bovary has ideas and passions, beauty and sophistication but is trapped from realizing her potential because she's married to a helplessly simple man in a helplessly conservative French village. On the other hand, in a mad flight to escape her spiritual imprisonment, she throws herself into the arms of a most despicable rake, destroys her faithful husband, and abandons her daughter. This is most definitely a pre-modern novel, with the author possessing contradictory feelings about his protagonist; a decidedly modern novel would have sympathized more clearly with Madame Bovary. Another reason why it's hard to enjoy this book is that the theme -- a passionate, imaginative individual tormented by the smallness of his/her community -- has manifested itself so much in popular culture that reading "Madame Bovary" now feels lame and hackneyed.
surprising Feb 12, 2010
I wouldn't recommend this book to someone who doesn't like reading, or someone I didn't already know would like the setting and mood because I don't think they would ever finish it. The plot is sort of slow and whole chapters went by where I was so bored I nearly gave up. But I stuck around for all the little history details of that time and the humorous townsfolk. I'm glad I did because the last quarter of the book was completely different and full of drama. In the end it indulges in all the things the book wants to imply are wrong about fantasy and expectations and maybe I enjoyed it more for being starved of it earlier on. I have given this book all the stars because somehow I genuinely loved reading a book where not a single character was likable, and no one got what they deserved.
The style of writing changes as frequently as Madame Bovary's moods and can make you feel crazy, like her I suppose. It was fun to experience that and despite all my hate for her, at the end I swooned and I cried.
Apparently not the preferred translation Feb 6, 2010
Bought this for bookclub and a member who is a literature professor had another translation she preferred. Sorry-- Can't remember which translation that was. I did love the book!
Masterfully written Jan 1, 2010
I read this book when I was a teenager and the only thing I recall is that I enjoyed reading it. Now I read it again just after reading the biography of Gustave Flaubert by Henri Troyat. Of course there is no doubt that the book is masterfully written and Flaubert put everything he had into writing it. He suffered over it. For him, writing was his raison d'etre. As for the plot, it is outdated; it has to be put in the context of the time - the mid 1800's. While reading it I thought of Grimm's fairy tales (warning readers of the dangers of seeking out the exciting life), or a morality play in which Emma personifies vice, or more dramatically a Shakespearean tragedy. Of course, Emma has a contrived fatal flaw (she ignores money) a flaw which today would be credit card debt and which today would not cause as much trouble as debt did in those days. And Charles' flaw is being carried away by his heart and letting love render him naive. As a result the characters come across as caricatures. However, nothing can take away from the absolutely beautiful writing. Despite my perspectives as I was reading I reacted emotionally to the book. The first was the incident of the surgery on Hippolyte's club foot which made me cringe,and finally with Emma's suicide. I hadn't really projected ahead to where the book was going to end, except maybe to think that Emma was going to end up in the gutter like the professor in The Blue Angel. As I was reading I kept recalling GBS's quote about there being two great tragedies in life. Flaubert came across to me as a cynic and his completing with and winning all the accolades for Madame Bovary must have been a tremendous anticlimax, despite the fact that he had to keep writing.
Madame Bovary Dec 21, 2009
This novel both starts and ends with the story of Charles, the title character's husband. Emma, his wife, thinks that Charles is incredibly boring, which to her mostly means that he's lacking in ambition and masculinity. He is also not very smart, though he does have a lot of other enviable traits.
Charles is honest, hardworking, conscientious, uncomplaining and relatively good at his chosen profession (he's a country doctor). In Flaubert's time, just as in our day, for a physician to be good he had to consciously practice as little of his craft as he could get away with. We're told that Charles doesn't prescribe much to his patients besides laxatives and sleep aids, always fearing that he'd hurt them with anything more substantial. Flaubert was a son of the chief surgeon of the biggest hospital in Normandy, and he obviously knew the realities of the medical profession well. The only proactive medical decision described in the book - the unnecessary maiming of a stable boy named Hyppolite - is conceived and urged not by Charles, but by the pharmacist Homais, who is the novel's biggest villain.
If Charles is so great, why does Emma hate him so much? The answer is suggested by the nature of the men with whom she chooses to cuckold him. Emma's first lover Rodolphe is the most macho character in the novel, with the possible exception of the international opera star Lagardy whom she can only admire from afar and of a mysterious vicomte she once meets at a ball, and whom she can't have either. Rodolphe had had a lot of affairs and is never shy or insecure about anything. Unlike Charles, who truly loves her, Rodolphe can easily go in and out of the baroque, flowery language in which seducers usually talk in the cheap romance novels Emma had been devouring since childhood.
Her second lover, Leon, is somewhere between Rodolphe and her husband on the all-important manliness scale. When he tries to seduce her, she repulses his initial advances and he shyly apologises. A description of that is followed by a revealing sentence: "Emma was seized with a vague fear at this shyness, more dangerous to her than the boldness of Rodolphe when he advanced to her open-armed". Eventually Leon gets the hint.
Emma's impatience with Charles's literal-mindedness and her strong desire to be lied to are made explicit in a scene that follows the death of Charles's father. Charles is being typically sincere about his mourning, shedding tears and saying all the things people usually say when their loved ones die. Emma is so bored with all that that immediately afterwards she welcomes the chance to talk to the shopkeeper and usurer Lheroux, who practically drowns her in insincerity every time they meet. Lying, noticing other people's lies - those things are less boring to her than honesty for the same reason that the romance novels she reads are more interesting to her than the real world.
Because of their secularism most modern reviewers of this book concentrate on the corrosive effects on Emma only of the sappiness and romanticism of the novels she loves so much. Charles's mother, however, diagnoses a very different problem when she calls them "bad books, works against religion, and in which they mock at priests in speeches taken from Voltaire. But all that leads you far astray, my poor child," she goes on. "Anyone who has no religion always ends by turning out badly."
Does it say anything about Flaubert himself that he put such words into a novel that ends with the heroine's suicide? Can it really be that Charles's mother was speaking for the novelist here? Perhaps. While Flaubert has obvious sympathy for Emma, he never shows any such feelings for the pharmacist Homais, a militant secularist who mocks Christianity on dozens of the novel's pages. Homais is portrayed in a negative light in every single scene in which he appears, while his biggest adversary in arguments over religion, the priest Bournisien, is usually shown sympathetically.
One of the fun things about reading any classic novel is finding all of its inevitable anachronisms - things that point out how radically our world has changed since the book was first published. For example, early in the novel Flaubert goes on for a while about how ugly Charles's hat was. Nothing made in that period seems ugly to us now, does it? Fine art museums built in the 21st century routinely look worse than 19th century prisons.
It's hard to believe now that Flaubert had to defend this essentially moralistic tale in court against charges of immorality. He was especially criticized for the phrase "platitudes of marriage", incorrectly believed by some at the time to vaguely justify Emma's adulteries. Modern would-be censors would far more likely be incensed by the mention of "the ardent races of the south", which appears during a description of the singer Lagardy.
Emma and Charles implicitly agree with each other about their respective values in the sexual market. He can't believe he managed to marry someone so far above his league. She can't believe she ended up with someone so far below hers. Since they come from very similar economic backgrounds, their mismatch has nothing to do with social class. It is biological in nature - one of the obvious problems is that Charles simply doesn't have enough testosterone to be able to genuinely attract women of Emma's level of beauty.
Is what's good in the sexual market good for a civilized society as a whole? It's hard to believe that Flaubert would have been uninterested in that question while writing this book. He had certainly depicted Charles as being more productive and useful to the world than Emma. And at the very least, Charles holds his own on that score against Leon and Rodolphe. By far the most emotionally moving part of the novel is the last chapter, which concentrates on Charles's fate after his wife's death.
If you read up on Flaubert, you'll inevitably learn that he worked hard on his style. He spent countless hours getting each word of each sentence just right, treating his novels almost like poetry. I liked Flaubert's clear sense of morality and his unsentimental insightfulness about relations between the sexes, so I would have been happy to report to you that I loved his use of language as well. But that would be a lie. Having read the whole thing in French, I found its style clear and unobtrusive, but nothing more than that. Since French is not my native language, I very well could have missed some of the great man's stylistic subtleties. However, I did not find anything extraordinary about the language of the two English translations I've looked through either. If the translators involved were aware of Flaubert's stylistic awesomeness, then they clearly failed to reproduce it in English. This is, of course, not impossible, so I should probably withhold final judgment on it.
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