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Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary (1857)

by Gustave Flaubert

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
21,241312114 (3.75)4 / 846
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 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 the consequences are devastating. 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'.… (more)
  1. 143
    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (roby72)
  2. 110
    The Awakening by Kate Chopin (StarryNightElf)
    StarryNightElf: This is the American version of Madame Bovary - set in turn of the century Louisiana.
  3. 100
    The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton (Limelite)
    Limelite: Essentially the same greedy, social climbing woman who gets herself into money troubles and manipulates men to get out of them -- but with more success. Similar commentary on society, but instead of the bourgeoisie of village France it's the upper crust of NYC of nearly the same time but without the trenchant humor of Flaubert.… (more)
  4. 112
    Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (DLSmithies)
    DLSmithies: Don Quixote was Flaubert's favourite book, and I've read somewhere that the idea of Madame Bovary is to re-tell the story of Don Quixote in a different context. Don Quixote is obsessed with chivalric literature, and immerses himself in it to the extent that he loses his grip on reality. Emma Bovary is bewitched by Romantic literature in the same way. There are lots of parallels between the two novels, and I think putting them side by side can lead to a better understanding of both.… (more)
  5. 80
    Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (HollyMS)
    HollyMS: Both works are about women who would do anything to gain a life of luxury.
  6. 60
    The Awakening and Selected Short Stories {9 stories} by Kate Chopin (Dilara86)
  7. 60
    Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (Booksloth)
  8. 60
    The Red and the Black by Stendhal (LittleMiho)
  9. 30
    Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane (roby72)
  10. 31
    The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa (browner56)
    browner56: The stories of two women, separated by 150 years, who search desperately for something they never find. Flaubert's legendary protaganist is the role model for Vargas Llosa's "bad girl".
  11. 31
    The Female Quixote by Charlotte Lennox (allenmichie)
  12. 20
    Something to Declare by Julian Barnes (KayCliff)
  13. 20
    Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes (KayCliff)
  14. 10
    Mrs Craddock by W. Somerset Maugham (soylentgreen23)
    soylentgreen23: 'Mrs Craddock' evidently shares a lot in common with Flaubert's masterpiece, especially in terms of its representation of a woman married to a dull man, who wishes to have a renewed taste of passion, despite the likely terrible consequences.
  15. 10
    Sodom and Gomorrah by Marcel Proust (caflores)
  16. 10
    Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz (potenza)
    potenza: Man Booker Intl finalist. Woman on the edge. Brutally feminist.
  17. 10
    The Doctor's Wife by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (Lapsus_Linguae)
    Lapsus_Linguae: Both heroines love novels and wish to lead an adventurous life but instead, they both get married to down-to-earth medical men who, despite a sincere affection, never understand them.
  18. 11
    The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore (CGlanovsky)
  19. 11
    Serious Men by Manu Joseph (orangewords)
  20. 00
    Een zuivere liefde by Sofja Tolstaja (Monika_L)

(see all 24 recommendations)

Europe (49)
Romans (17)
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English (260)  Spanish (18)  Italian (6)  French (6)  Dutch (6)  German (3)  Danish (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Swedish (2)  Finnish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Galician (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Hebrew (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (312)
Showing 1-5 of 260 (next | show all)
Scandalous for a novel coming out of the second half of the 19th century. An illustration of the perils of concupiscence. But also metaphysical in its suggestion of the transcendent:

"She was not happy -- she never had been. Whence came this insufficiency in life -- this instantaneous turning to decay of everything on which she leant? But if there were somewhere a being strong and beautiful, a valiant nature, full at once of exaltation and refinement, a poet's heart in an angel's form, a lyre with sounding chords ringing out elegiac epithalamia to heaven, why, perchance, should she not find him?"

Madame Bovary reminds me of Zora Neale Hurston's Janie. That may sound an incredulous comparison, but I must be indulged on this one. I must preface my explanation by explaining that, as a feminist, I am always assessing how well a female character speaks for the feminist agenda. I'm not sure it always matters whether or not the female character in question is written by a man, but it would certainly seem to me that a male author has a much harder task ahead of him to write a believably liberated and dignified female protagonist. So, putting aside the gender disparity between the authors of these two novels, I offer this criticism: both protagonists are ironically often credited with anachronistic audacity when, in fact, they are given to puerile fancifulness and utter myopia.

Flaubert: "All men surely were not like Charles. He might have been handsome, witty, gentlemanly, attractive, like the husbands whom her old schoolfellows no doubt had married. What were they doing now? In Paris, amid the bustle of streets, the excitement of the theatres, the brilliance of the balls, they were living lives where the heart had room to expand and the senses to develop."

Hurston: Janie is tempted away from her first husband with Joe Starks' promises of a life of idle luxury and, when something is expected of her, she likens herself to a mule. Marriage, in her view, requires no work at all, but should resemble the daydreams of a teenage girl underneath a pear tree. She finds her husband's store "a pleasant place if only she didn't have to sell things" and, in a statement that should make any feminist cringe, she tries to avoid the work by claiming, "'Oh Jody, Ah can't do nothin' wid no store lessen youse there.'"

Flaubert: "She did not ask herself whether she loved. Love, she thought, must come suddenly, with great outbursts and lightnings -- a hurricane of the skies, which falls upon life, revolutionises it, roots up the will like a leaf, and sweeps the whole heart into the abyss."

Hurston: "'Ah wants things sweet wid mah marriage lak when you sit under a pear tree and think."

And Janie never stops expecting to live out some imaginatively constructed, youthful ideal of love, though Hurston claims at the close of the third chapter that she has become "a woman." These female characters are anything but archetypes of strong, liberated, modern women, rather nearly everything I condemn in women -- namely, the inclination to seek validation through some external relationship. At least Flaubert writes for Madame Bovary even the most cursory acknowledgment of something deeper, nay higher. ( )
  TheaJean | Jun 2, 2020 |
The wages of Sin is DEATH!!!! Muahahahahahaha....

Oh, wait, this is supposed to be a shockingly candid morality play about wonton desires, materialism, sex, more sex, and the lassitude that comes from throwing caution to the wind and fulfilling your every fantasy.

You know... like Lindsay Lohan. Emma was the Lindsay Lohan. Spending more than she ever had, committing ADULTERY *gasp* 1850's, and generally being a bad, bad girl with that pocketbook.

In other words, a bored housewife's ultimate fantasy. No whips or chains this time, however. Flaubert really WOULD have been found guilty and thrown in the place where only the most morally depraved go.

You hear that, Voltaire? Just watch yourself. You, too, Sade. I don't want to be hearing any of that nonsense about couching philosophy in a sexually charged medium.

Oh, Flaubert... were you REALLY just talking about taking basic fiscal responsibility? Oh, crap. You were.

Oh, well, never mind... ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
3.5 stars.

Worthwhile classic to read, for sure. On the one hand, I feel sorry for Emma because she's clearly struggling with depression, but she's also choosing absolutely terrible ways to cope.

I really liked this translation by Lydia Davis, it was very readable. ( )
  j_tuffi | May 30, 2020 |
Narra la oscura tragedia de Emma Bovary, mujer infelizmente casada, cuyos sueños choca cruelmente con la realidad.
  katherinevillar | Mar 24, 2020 |
El libro relata la trágica vida de Emma Bobary, mujer que aburrida de su mediocre matrimonio comienza a tener relaciones extra conyugales.
  Ypasten | Mar 23, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 260 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (160 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Flaubert, Gustaveprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Agutter, JennyNarratormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Achille, GiuseppeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ajac, BernardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aveling, Eleanor MarxTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bair, LowellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bakker, MargotTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bersani, LeoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bodegård, AndersTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brissaud, PierreIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carifi, RobertoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, LydiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gendel, EvelynTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Konstantinov, KonstantinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kraus, ChrisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lacretelle, Jacques deIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mann, HeinrichAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marceau, FélicienPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marmur, MildredTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mauldon, MargaretTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, J. LewisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maynial, ÉdouardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McCarthy, MaryForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palola, EinoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pinxteren, Hans vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riesen, IreneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scheffel, HelmutTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schickele, ReneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schmied, TheoIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Speziale Bagliacca, RobertoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stahl, BenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Suffel, JacquesPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorpe, AdamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Viitanen, Anna-MaijaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wall, GeoffreyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Marie-Antoine-Jules Sénard
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Ex-President of the National Assemly
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To Louis Bouilhet
First words
Nous étions à l'Etude, quand le Proviseur entra suivi d'un "nouveau" habillé en bourgeois et d'un garçon de classe qui portait un grand pupitre.
We were in study hall when the headmaster walked in, followed by a new boy not wearing a school uniform, and by a janitor carrying a large desk.
We were at prep, when the Head came in, followed by a new boy not in uniform and a school-servant carrying a big desk.
We were at prep when the Headmaster came in, followed by a 'new boy' not wearing school uniform, and by a school servant carrying a large desk.
We were in class when the head master came in, followed by a "new fellow," not wearing the school uniform, and a school servant carrying a large desk.
What would _they_ be doing now? ... the sort of life that opens the heart and the senses like flowers in bloom. Whereas for her, life was cold as an attic facing north, and the silent spider boredom wove its web in all the shadowed corners of her heart.
Surprised by the strange sweetness of it, they never though to describe or to explain what they felt. Coming delights, like tropical beaches, send out their native enchantment over the vast spaces that precede them -- a perfumed breeze that lulls and drugs you out of all anxiety as to what may yet await you below the horizon.
'Have you got your pistols?'
'What for?'
'Why, to defend yourself,' Emma replied.
'From your husband? Ha! Poor little man!'
Gone were those tender words that had moved her to tears, those tempestuous embraces that had sent her frantic. The grand passion into which she had plunged seemed to be dwindling around her like a river sinking into its bed; she saw the slime at the bottom.
She repented her past virtue as though it were a crime; what still remained of it collapsed beneath the savage onslaught of her pride.
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"Madame Bovary", apparso a puntate sulla "Revue de Paris" nel 1856 e integralmente un anno dopo, incontrò subito un grande successo di pubblico - dovuto anche al clamore del processo a cui il suo autore, incriminato per oltraggio alla morale e alla religione, fu sottoposto -, imponendosi all'attenzione della critica come il capolavoro assoluto del romanzo moderno. Incentrato sulla superba figura di Emma Bovary - donna inquieta, insoddisfatta, simbolo di un'insanabile frustrazione sentimentale e sociale - e giocato su un antiromanticismo ideologico e formale di fondo, "Madame Bovary" come ha scritto Vladimir Nabokov, "dal punto di vista stilistico è prosa che fa ciò che si suppone faccia la poesia. Senza Flaubert non ci sarebbe stato un Marcel Proust in Francia, né un James Joyce in Irlanda. In Russia, Cechov non sarebbe stato Cechov".
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Penguin Australia

6 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140449124, 0141045159, 1846141044, 0451418506, 0143123807, 0734306873

Coffeetown Press

An edition of this book was published by Coffeetown Press.

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Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 140010274X, 1400109043

Urban Romantics

2 editions of this book were published by Urban Romantics.

Editions: 1907832106, 1907832114


An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

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