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Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
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Madame Bovary (original 1857; edition 2011)

by Gustave Flaubert

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
16,091227110 (3.76)3 / 608
Member:emif
Title:Madame Bovary
Authors:Gustave Flaubert
Info:CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2011), Paperback, 214 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:read in 2012, French, 19th century

Work details

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (1857)

Romans (17)
  1. 100
    The Awakening by Kate Chopin (StarryNightElf)
    StarryNightElf: This is the American version of Madame Bovary - set in turn of the century Louisiana.
  2. 101
    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (roby72)
  3. 101
    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)
  4. 80
    Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (Hollerama)
    Hollerama: Both works are about women who would do anything to gain a life of luxury.
  5. 60
    The Awakening and Stories by Kate Chopin (Dilara86)
  6. 60
    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)
  7. 50
    Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (Booksloth)
  8. 40
    The Red and the Black by Stendhal (LittleMiho)
  9. 41
    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".
  10. 30
    Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane (roby72)
  11. 20
    Sodom and Gomorrah by Marcel Proust (caflores)
  12. 31
    The Female Quixote by Charlotte Lennox (allenmichie)
  13. 21
    Serious Men: A Novel by Manu Joseph (orangewords)
  14. 33
    Three Tales by Gustave Flaubert (wrmjr66)
  15. 11
    Victorian Murderesses: A True History of Thirteen Respectable French and English Women Accused of Unspeakable Crimes by Mary S. Hartman (susanbooks)
    susanbooks: Flaubert based Emma, in part, on one of the women profiled in this really great book.
  16. 12
    Contre-enquête sur la mort d'Emma Bovary by Philippe Doumenc (Cecilturtle)
  17. 01
    Eine Frage der Schuld: Roman - Mit der «Kurzen Autobiographie der Gräfin S. A. Tolstaja»: Anläßlich der "Kreutzersonate" von Lew Tolstoi. Mit einem Nachwort von Ursula Keller by Sofja Tolstaja (Monika_L)
  18. 611
    Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (orangewords)
    orangewords: The language in both of these books is just amazing. Alluring prose covers a multitude of unlikable characters.
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English (188)  Spanish (13)  Dutch (6)  Italian (3)  French (2)  German (2)  Danish (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Swedish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Finnish (1)  Galician (1)  Hebrew (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (226)
Showing 1-5 of 188 (next | show all)
I am so thankful for finally finishing this book. The characters were either selfish, stupid, or weak. ( )
  bjh3038 | Aug 22, 2014 |
Generally acclaimed as one of the great 19th century novels, Madame Bovary lives up to its reputation. Even in translation, Flaubert’s efforts to find le mot juste comes through.

Although many of the characters evidently are meant to be archetypes of common personalities, Flaubert limns each one with such specificity that they become lifelike even while performing their plot roles as the “rake,” the “religious skeptic,” the “aristocrat,” the “country cleric,” or the “great man from the City.” Flaubert’s vocabulary is elevated and vast, but his syntax is simple, direct, and lucid, making the novel an easy read.

The plot revolves around adultery and the emptiness of bourgeois life, the former perhaps a symptom of the latter. Unlike many modern novels, the sex scenes are so terse and indirect that you may miss them if you are scanning too fast. Nonetheless, Emma Bovary comes across as very sensual and sexually alluring, if shallow and a bit of a ditz. She finds her husband boring and suffocating, but she is so self-absorbed we aren’t made to feel much sympathy for her. She believed when she married Charles that her life would be transmogrified into the fairytale that so often characterized the romances she read. The quotidian reality depressed her, and eventually drove her to desperation. The dénouement is tragic (more so for Charles than for Emma, the putative protagonist) and ironic. In Flaubert’s France, no good deed goes unpunished and many a bad one is rewarded.

Evaluation: It is with good reason that Madame Bovary continues to be read 150 years after its publication.

(JAB) ( )
  nbmars | Aug 17, 2014 |
En fantastisk bok som håller än idag!
Det är hisnande att den skrevs redan på 1860-talet!
Trots att det är otroligt sorglig på slutet, så är den dråplig och underfundig mellan varven!
En rejäl psykologisk genomskärning av den lyckliga Emma Bovary. Det jag finner den mkt läsvärd är att det är en mångfacetterad bild av huvudpersonen som tecknas upp! Man känner mede hennes frustation, och tristess och längtan till ngt annat, till ngt som man inte riktigt vet var det är. Även hennes mer otrevliga sidor, hennes egocentritet, eleka bhandling av den snälle men ack så tradiga make! En klassiker i dess rätta bemärkelse! ( )
  Drusus | Aug 1, 2014 |
I finished this book yesterday and I'm still not sure how I felt about it. It's the story of Emma Bovary who has multiple affairs to escape her boring marriage. I really despised Emma. At first I thought I didn't like Flaubert's writing because she's a very one-dimensional character, but now I think that was maybe his point. She spends her whole life waiting for someone else to make it exciting, instead of finding something worthwhile to be passionate about.

Flaubert's writing style is a bit overdone for my taste - lots of flowery description - but there was also a realism to it that I appreciated.For instance, he describes the gory details of Emma's death - she didn't just fade away looking beautiful. There's also a really funny scene where Emma and her lover spend the afternoon in a hired carriage doing "you know what" ;-) That was pretty amusing for a novel written in the 1850s.

All in all, I think I really liked it. Might be one of those that I need to revisit in a few years. ( )
  japaul22 | Jul 25, 2014 |
An immoral wife sleeps around to escape the hum-drum of existence. Ho hum. Who cares? Still, well written. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 188 (next | show all)
It is a shame Flaubert will never read Davis’s translation of “Madame Bovary.” Even he would have to agree his masterwork has been given the English translation it deserves.
 

» Add other authors (372 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Flaubert, Gustaveprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Achille, GiuseppeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ajac, BernardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bair, LowellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bakker, MargotTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bersani, LeoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bodegård, AndersTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brissaud, PierreIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, LydiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gendel, EvelynTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lacretelle, JacquesIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marmur, MildredTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mauldon, MargaretTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, J. LewisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McCarthy, MaryForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palola, EinoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pinxteren, Hans vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schmied, TheoIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Suffel, JacquesPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorpe, AdamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Viitanen, Anna-MaijaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wall, GeoffreyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
A Marie Antoine Jules Senard- Membro del Foro di Parigi ex presidente dell'Assemblea Nazionale già Ministro degli Interni. -
"Caro e illustre amico, consentitemi di iscrivere il vostro nome in apertura di questo libro, e prima ancora della dedica: è soprattutto a voi che devo la sua pubblicazione. Passando attraverso la vostra magnifica arringa, la mia opera ha acquisito anche per me una sorta di autorevolezza imprevista. Accettate perciò qui l'omaggio della mia gratitudine, che, per quanto grande possa essere, non sarà mai all'altezza della vostra eloquenza e della vostra dedizione."  Gustave Flaubert....Parigi 12 aprile 1857
Dedication
To
Marie-Antoine-Jules Sénard
Member of the Paris Bar
Ex-President of the National Assemly
Former Minister of the Interior
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.
Quotations
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.
Last words
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
This exquisite novel tells the story of one of the most compelling heroines in modern literature - Emma Bovary. Unhappily married to a devoted, clumsy provincial doctor, Emma revolts against the ordinariness of her life by pursuing voluptuous dreams of ecstasy and love. But her sensuous and sentimental desires lead her only to suffering, corruption, and downfall. A brilliant psychological portrait, Madam Bovary searingly depicts the human mind in search of transcendence, Who is Madam Bovary? Flaubert’s answer: “Madam Bovary, c’est moi.” Acclaimed as a masterpiece upon its publication in 1857, the work catapulted Flaubert to the ranks of the world’s greatest novelists.

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140449124, Paperback)

For this novel of French bourgeois life in all its inglorious banality, Flaubert invented a paradoxically original and wholly modern style. His heroine, Emma Bovary, a bored provincial housewife, abandons her husband to pursue the libertine Rodolphe in a
desperate love affair. A succès de scandale in its day, Madame Bovary remains a powerful and arousing novel.


@TheRealDesperateHousewife My sadness is bothersome. He says I need to change scenery. That will help like a trip to Italy cures TB. What I need is a good poking.

From Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:50 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

"Emma Bovary is beautiful and bored, trapped in her marriage to a mediocre doctor and stifled by the banality of provincial life. An ardent devourer 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 when real life continues to fail to live up to her romantic expectations 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'." -- BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 36 descriptions

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Five editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140449124, 0141045159, 1846141044, 0451418506, 0143123807

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