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Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
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Madame Bovary (original 1857; edition 2012)

by Gustave Flaubert, Hans van Pinxteren (Translator)

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16,003223111 (3.76)3 / 596
Member:melomaan
Title:Madame Bovary
Authors:Gustave Flaubert
Other authors:Hans van Pinxteren (Translator)
Info:de Volkskrant
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:franse literatuur, roman, fictie, hc, overspel, zelfmoord, frankrijk, huwelijk, gustave flaubert

Work details

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (1857)

  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 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)
  6. 60
    The Awakening and Stories by Kate Chopin (Dilara86)
  7. 50
    Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (Booksloth)
  8. 40
    The Red and the Black by Stendhal (LittleMiho)
  9. 30
    Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane (roby72)
  10. 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".
  11. 30
    Thérèse by Francois Mauriac (Baukis)
  12. 31
    The Female Quixote by Charlotte Lennox (allenmichie)
  13. 20
    Sodom and Gomorrah by Marcel Proust (caflores)
  14. 21
    Serious Men: A Novel by Manu Joseph (orangewords)
  15. 33
    Three Tales by Gustave Flaubert (wrmjr66)
  16. 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.
  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. 12
    Contre-enquête sur la mort d'Emma Bovary by Philippe Doumenc (Cecilturtle)
  19. 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 (184)  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 (222)
Showing 1-5 of 184 (next | show all)
An immoral wife sleeps around to escape the hum-drum of existence. Ho hum. Who cares? Still, well written. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
The first time I read Madame Bovary I neither enjoyed it nor particularly liked it. The issue was probably my expectations, the lack of any particularly sympathetic characters, a moral resolution, or the large canvas one gets with something like Anna Karenina.

This time, however, I I found it stunning: beautifully written, fascinating shifting of perspective, some of the most vivid and memorable scenes in just about any book, and a relentless logic that drives the entire book forward. This translation by Lydia Davis is excellent, although I don't have the Francis Steegmuller translation I read last time to compare the two. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
not sure what to expect but for sure a classic. she was very adventourous for her time and had lots of affairs but moneywise, she was not very smart and was also taken advantage of. it probably would been a better ending for her if she managed the money better. easier to read than expected. ( )
  kakadoo202 | Jun 16, 2014 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2304495.html

I guess rather daring for its day. It's impossible surely not to feel sympathy for Emma, condemned to social conformity by a society which believes itself to be in a process of liberalisation (but isn't really); she is desperately grasping for possible ladders to a more fulfilling life, without looking too closely at the details of where they might lead to. As with Middlemarch (and to a lesser extent Buddenbrooks) the politics of the time get a certain reflection in people's personal lives.

The translation is strikingly off in places. Flaubert's wonderful metaphor for emotional blockage caused by domestic torpor, "Elle ne savait pas que, sur la terrasse des maisons, la pluie fait des lacs quand les gouttières sont bouchées" does have some problems anyway in English translation, as very few English or Irish houses have "terrasses" (in America the word "porch" would just about cover it, but this side of the Atlantic "porch" generally means a smaller enclosed area). However, this becomes in English "She did not know that on the terrace of houses it makes lakes when the pipes are choked" - it actually sounds more cod-French than the original, by bafflingly dropping explicit reference to rain, thus leaving us uncertain about what "it" is ( )
  nwhyte | Jun 9, 2014 |
Madame Bovary has been on my list of books to read for decades, but for various reasons I always made other choices. Then my wife decided to learn French and as part of that process read the novel in its original language. I decided to finally pick up this book because it would be fun to discuss when we were both done. I read an English translation by Eleanor Marx Aveling who was one of the daughters of Karl Marx and, following in her father's footsteps, a socialist. I didn't know Marx's background at the time I read the book, but find it interesting, since the results of Emma's decision to pursue a life of self indulgence seem to exemplify the horrors that can happen to people who seek self gratification. In other words, if you believe “greed is good” you probably won't like this book.

I read somewhere that Madame Bovary along with Tolstoy's Anna Karenina are the two greatest “adultery” novels ever written. I'm not sure how anyone can make a statement like that, since so many novels have been written about adultery. But there is definitely a connection between these two works. Anna, however, is somewhat sympathetic, being drawn to a single lover she can't resist. On the other hand, Emma's true love seems to be herself. Here's a section from the book when Emma is sitting at an agricultural fair with Rodolphe, the man she's currently attracted to, and reflecting on all the men in her life – except, of course, her husband.

Then a faintness came over her; she recalled the Viscount who had waltzed with her at Vaubyessard, and his beard exhaled like this air an odour of vanilla and citron, and mechanically she half-closed her eyes the better to breathe it in. But in making this movement, as she leant back in her chair, she saw in the distance, right on the line of the horizon, the old diligence, the "Hirondelle," that was slowly descending the hill of Leux, dragging after it a long trail of dust. It was in this yellow carriage that Leon had so often come back to her, and by this route down there that he had gone for ever. She fancied she saw him opposite at his windows; then all grew confused; clouds gathered; it seemed to her that she was again turning in the waltz under the light of the lustres on the arm of the Viscount, and that Leon was not far away, that he was coming; and yet all the time she was conscious of the scent of Rodolphe's head by her side. This sweetness of sensation pierced through her old desires, and these, like grains of sand under a gust of wind, eddied to and fro in the subtle breath of the perfume which suffused her soul. She opened wide her nostrils several times to drink in the freshness of the ivy round the capitals. She took off her gloves, she wiped her hands, then fanned her face with her handkerchief, while athwart the throbbing of her temples she heard the murmur of the crowd and the voice of the councillor intoning his phrases. He said—"Continue, persevere; listen neither to the suggestions of routine, nor to the over-hasty councils of a rash empiricism.

I loved the process of following Emma Bovary as she made selfish decisions, rationalized her behavior, and paid the consequences. There are many reasons to read Madame Bovary, including its influence on later novelists, but it is the careful, detailed exploration of Emma's character that make this novel a masterpiece.

Steve Lindahl – Author of White Horse Regressions and Motherless Soul ( )
  SteveLindahl | May 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 184 (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 35 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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