Item description for Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert...
Bored and unhappy in a lifeless marriage, Emma Bovary yearns to escape from the dull circumstances of provincial life. Flaubert's powerful, deeply moving examination of the moral degeneration of a middle-class Frenchwoman is universally regarded as one of the landmarks of 19th-century fiction.
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Gustave Flaubert(1821 1880) was born in Rouen, France, and was brought to popular attention whenMadame Bovarywas deemed immoral by the French government. Lydia Davis(translator)is aMacArthur 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 the2003 French-American Foundation Translation Prize for her translation of Marcel Proust'sSwann's Way. She lives near Albany, New York."
Gustave Flaubert lived in Rouen. Gustave Flaubert was born in 1821 and died in 1880.
Gustave Flaubert has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Madame Bovary?
Wow, what a prescient novel Sep 4, 2008
This is a very well written novel. It deserves its high status in the cannon of world literature. The most unique and surprising thing about this novel is that it seems to be so timely and modern. Though it was written long before our consumer driven culture of debt, it seems to understand these issues is a weirdly foretelling way. I was an English literature major in college so I was exposed to many fiction works from the time period of Madame Bovary, but I have never read such a modern novel from that time. Maybe Flaubert had a time machine?
Humanity Captured in Prose Jun 29, 2008
Like so many of the classics, Madame Bovary does an incredible job of recording humanity. All of the characters are whole, full-fleshed and individual. Emma's discontent with life, her yearning for something more, has probably been experienced by all of us. Her yearning destroys her, and her husband, but teaches us about ourselves along the way. The reason I love this book, and many of the other classics, is that the characters don't always have reasons, they think and behave erratically, sometimes logically, sometimes foolishly, just like real people.
Madame Bovary - but it's about men Jun 12, 2008
I probably disliked this novel as much as I did 'Sons and Lovers'. For a while I just thought I'd been reading too many French writers (Huysmans, Sand,....) but it was much deeper than that.
Although Madame Bovary is the central character, and an intriguing one at that, I don't believe that she is any more than a vehicle for Flaubert to vent his virtiole against men. There are four principle male characters in this novel and we see them reflected and caricatured in their responses to mixed-up, not altogether lovable Emma.
There is husband Charles who is overwhelmed by the love he feels from Emma - he sees himself as SO lucky. But he is blind - seeing none of Emma's distress, or philandering. And he is not very successful at what he does anyway.
Then there is lover Rodolphe. He is the ultimate selfish prig of a man. He reflects, as he walks away from Emma - having raised her hopes of a new more exciting life - that she was a wonderful mistress but he couldn't possibly compromise his selected way of life. Not for any woman, no matter how rewarding she might be. And when she appeals to him for help, she gets nothing from him.
The second lover, Leon, is a more youthful and inexperienced participant in Emma's life. But later he does marry (not Emma, of course) so it is not commitment he shies away from. Nevertheless he fails Emma.
Finally there is the chemist Homais, Charles's 'colleague'. He also has no sensitivity to Emma, almost misses seeing her at all. Like Charles, he is unsuccessful in some of his ventures, but he has such comically grand illusions about himself.
All four men exhibit fundamental flaws. For me Charles and Leon have some saving graces. But none of them I have much sympathy for.
And then there is the matter of Emma's decline - not due to her affairs. Was Flaubert unable to undermine Emma because of the affairs, because of Emma's selfish self-seeking? Did he have to create other artifices to inflict upon her - and the men around her (not that Homais really notices) - to give the story a 'moral'?
The writing is spectacular - Flaubert was a wonderful observer and expresser of ideas. But for me, good writing is more than observation and a facility with words. It is the structure of the novel that failed me.
Over the years... still a great book May 30, 2008
Emma is a typical unrealistic romantic girl, who sees love as the solution to all her problems and the answer to all her dreams of wealth and fame. Emma finds married life and attending expensive parties as the doctor's wife very disappointing. She compares herself to the wealthy people at these parties and becomes very depressed and angry at her husband for not fulfilling her dreams of wealth and fame. Emma becomes the center of the story when she begins her adulterous love affairs in an attempt to bring passion, romance and fulfillment to her empty life. At the end, faced with the emptiness of her fantasies, Emma, makes a tragic decision still hoping for a romantic ending, but that goes badly as well
Even motherhood was disappointing for Emma, as she had hoped for a boy but gave birth to a girl Many of Emma's actions were compulsive in every way and her interaction with her little girl was obviously cruel and selfish. Emma couldn't see the reality of any person in her life; she over estimated the passion of her lovers, even the sexual attraction between her and Rodolph got cold, even the pleasure of overspending money didn't last. Her husband and child, the only people true to her, were in front of her all of her life but she didn't see it. Was the reason again the hunter/prey nature of human beings? If Charles didn't give her unconditional love, would she not notice his love like she did? If she wasn't that cruel, would Charles idolize her like he did? Are the people who live their lives unnoticed like Charels destined to be like that for the rest of their lives? If Charles had known the true Emma from the beginning, wouldn't he still love her as much and do whatever she wanted to please her?
I don't know about all the emotional conflicts of human beings, but I know that Flaubert was an artist who presented his obnoxious character Emma in a fascinating and very readable way.. Eight years ago, and again recently, I was unable to put the book down until I finished reading it..
Interesting story! May 27, 2008
I enjoyed this book...the story really showed how a snotty rich girl retaliates, to be as concise as possible. I do think the story was a bit longer than it needed to be. Also this version has REALLY small print, which is annoying (even for really healthy eyes). All in all, I would recommend it. It's like chick lit takes on socioeconomic status issues.