The novel, with the subtitle Moeurs de province ("Provincial Customs"), first appeared in installments in the Revue from October 1 to December 15, 1856. It ushered in a new age of realism in literature. In Madame Bovary, Flaubert took a commonplace story of adultery and made of it a book that has continued to be read because of its profound ...
The novel, with the subtitle Moeurs de province ("Provincial Customs"), first appeared in installments in the Revue from October 1 to December 15, 1856. It ushered in a new age of realism in literature. In Madame Bovary, Flaubert took a commonplace story of adultery and made of it a book that has continued to be read because of its profound humanity. Emma Bovary is a bored and unhappy middle-class wife whose general dissatisfaction with life leads her to act out her romantic fantasies and embark on an ultimately disastrous love affair. She destroys her life by embracing abstractions--passion, happiness--as concrete realities. She ignores material reality itself, as symbolized by money, and is inexorably drawn to financial ruin and suicide.
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Unfortunately it was in French..did I miss that in the entry?? That was why I only gave it a 2.
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Feb 18, 2009
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.
Jul 22, 2008
An Interesting Character Study
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.
Mar 11, 2008
It has its ups and downs
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.
May 9, 2007
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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