Emma Bovary is beautiful and bored, trapped in her marriage to a mediocre doctor and stifled by the banality of provincial life. An ardent reader of ...Show synopsisEmma Bovary is beautiful and bored, trapped in her marriage to a mediocre doctor and stifled by the banality of provincial life. An ardent reader of sentimental novels, she longs for passion and seeks escape in fantasies of high romance, in voracious spending and, eventually, in adultery. But even her affairs bring her disappointment and devastating consequences. Flaubert's erotically charged and psychologically acute portrayal of Emma Bovary caused a moral outcry on its publication in 1857. It was deemed so lifelike that many women claimed they were the model for his heroine; but Flaubert insisted: "Madame Bovary, c'est moi." One of the greatest novels of the 19th century, Flaubert's torrid debut lives on in Geoffrey Wall's brilliant translation. This edition features an introduction by Wall, and a preface on Emma Bovary's femininity and modernity by novelist Michele Roberts. Part of Penguin's beautiful hardcover Clothbound Classics series, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith, these delectable and collectible editions are bound in high-quality, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design.Hide synopsis
Set amidst the stifling atmosphere of 19th-century bourgeois France, Flaubert's classic is at once an unsparing depiction of a woman's gradual corruption and a savagely ironic study of human stupidity. This repackaged edition features a new Introduction by leading feminist Robin Morgan.Set amidst the stifling atmosphere of 19th-century bourgeois France, Flaubert's classic is at once an unsparing depiction of a woman's gradual corruption and a savagely ironic study of human stupidity. This repackaged edition features a new Introduction by leading feminist Robin Morgan.Hide
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This is one case in which the chief character does not change at the end of the novel. Though I cannot argue about Flaubert's prose, since I have not read Bovary in French, I will say that this is one of the few novels I've read which I would not read a second time. Emma seems completely selfish and ungrateful, even when people try to hep her. I only give it three stars because of its honorable place in the canon of great literature. To each his own, I guess.
Flaubert's writing in Madame Bovary, as has been mentioned before, is slightly dry, but in my opinion it is the ideas that the novel conveys that make it so powerful. While many of us feel from time to time that our lives lack a certain excitement, Emma Bovary's thoughts are dominated by her overwhelming boredom with her husband and marriage throughout her life. I found her to be a slightly pitiable character in the beginning, but quickly her bratty nature lost much sympathy that I had for her. Nevertheless, Emma Bovary is an interesting character to study, especially due to her skewed system of values in which something is only as good as the emotional, passionate response it can evoke in her. Flaubert does paint some vivid images, most notably Emma's vision of God as she recieves Communion, but seems more concerned with painting the drabness of her life. Overall, I enjoyed Madame Bovary, but I had gotten the picture halfway through.
Hmm, a great part of me agrees with the previous review. I struggled to maintain interest in the life of Emma Bovary, who seemed so vapid, so selfish, and so primitive. The prose is extremely dry (that may depend on the translation) and one sighs in annoyance over the cluelessness of her husband. However, at the core of it, Madame Bovary is about the desperate struggle to feel something besides boredom. Emma is trapped by convention and instead of laying back, resigned, she fights. Sure, she fights stupidly and selfishly, but her yearning for happiness resonates with a ring of truth and aroused a measure of empathy in me despite my misgivings. *Mild Spoiler alert*
The tragedy of the story is that it is her act of self violence that results in the greatest height of emotion and greatest level of passion that Emma ever gets to know.
Madame Bovary is Flaubert?s story of a woman seeking love and interest outside her marriage. She continues in her illusion that she will find something better the next time around and simply falls into greater unhappiness and boredom. This book has nothing redemptive about it; no character is happy, there is no beauty in any of their relationships, and one becomes saturated with Madame Bovary?s boredom reading it.
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