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Madame Bovary (1857)

by Gustave Flaubert

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
26,384390118 (3.75)6 / 945
Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

Madame Bovary became notorious and a bestseller after Gustave Flaubert was acquitted from charges of obscenity in 1856. It details the many adulterous affairs and extravagances of Emma Bovary, a provincial doctor's wife. Her behaviour explores the banality and emptiness of rural life.

Flaubert considered himself a perfectionist, which is mirrored in the immaculate style of his writing. Madame Bovary is still considered one of the greatest literary texts of all time.

.
… (more)
  1. 203
    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (roby72, kjuliff)
    kjuliff: adulatory, bored wife
  2. 130
    The Awakening by Kate Chopin (StarryNightElf)
    StarryNightElf: This is the American version of Madame Bovary - set in turn of the century Louisiana.
  3. 122
    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. 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)
  5. 90
    Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (HollyMS)
    HollyMS: Both works are about women who would do anything to gain a life of luxury.
  6. 80
    Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (Booksloth)
  7. 70
    The Awakening and Selected Short Stories {9 stories} by Kate Chopin (Dilara86)
  8. 60
    The Red and the Black by Stendhal (LittleMiho)
  9. 50
    Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane (roby72)
  10. 30
    Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes (KayCliff)
  11. 20
    Something to Declare by Julian Barnes (KayCliff)
  12. 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".
  13. 20
    A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen (mysimas)
  14. 31
    The Female Quixote by Charlotte Lennox (allenmichie)
  15. 10
    Sodom and Gomorrah by Marcel Proust (caflores)
  16. 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.
  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
    Serious Men by Manu Joseph (orangewords)
  19. 00
    Whose Fault? by Sofja Tolstaja (Monika_L)
  20. 11
    The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore (CGlanovsky)

(see all 25 recommendations)

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» See also 945 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 316 (next | show all)
This book by Gustave Flaubert is an absolute classic. On the face, it is a simple story about an ordinary, if stupid, couple. Gustave Flaubert used symbolism from the name Bovary (Bovary = bovine) to the blind peasant to depict Emma's moral and intellectual blindness. The blindness extended to Charles Bovary, who could not see the signs of his wife's frustration and adultery.
His description of her turmoil is magnificent, as he depicts the characters - Charles Rodolphe and Leon. Gustave Flaubert's description of the development of her fatal relationships is mesmerizing. He depicts her growing frustration, her fantasies that lead her to a debtor's prison, and the tragic end of Charles and their daughter with ruthless poetry.
This book will never become old: it is also a reminder of the magnificent art of storytelling. Even simple stories can be magnificent. ( )
  RajivC | Jun 6, 2024 |
I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Canterbury Classics) for promotional purposes.

What a tragic yet captivating tale!

I added this book to my “To Read” shelf on Goodreads way back in March of 2015. Now 9 years later I finally read it and I’m so glad I did.

There is nothing happy about this story, but it’s beautiful and intriguing in its own way. Immediately upon starting, I was pulled right into the story.

Madame Bovary is such a fascinating character. She’s not particularly likable, and that’s precisely why I liked her. She’s a complicated woman who makes numerous questionable decisions, but I find that makes for the most interesting of characters. I found myself constantly thinking about her and what I would do if I were in her shoes.

For a classic, the writing style is easy to read and follow but still elegant. I didn’t have trouble understanding what was going on. The chapters are fairly short which also helps.

I originally was going to give this book 4 stars, but after a few days of reflection, I decided I had to give it 5 stars. This is a story that will stick with me for a while.

Overall, I loved this story and I can’t believe it took me this long to read it. It was well worth the wait! ( )
  oddandbookish | Mar 26, 2024 |
I'm glad I read Madam Bovary. I think I was expecting it to be more mannered and anchored in its time. It's a beautifully paced story where I could feel nearly 200 years of readers on the edge of their seats, wondering how this was going to turn out. I wondered too because Emma was at the same time predatory and submissive. Perhaps a modern, libidinous woman? I was distracted by the letter: thinking it would re-appear sooner than it did and thinking that it would blow everything apart - a turning point. But by the time it did re-appear, it was too late, and remarkably had no power. Instead, most of the motive forces in Madam Bovary were all about character. I say most because the death of Charles felt contrived and part of a general tidying-up by way of conclusion.
No doubt it could be seen as a moral tale in its day but again it's character that largely determines fate as in the case of Homais' fatuous triumph.

In my ignorance, I wonder what I'm missing, reading a translation when a writer is known for his style. What thrilled me was the way Flaubert chose what to describe. Thrilled not just as the exquisitely deft touch but also because the details conspired to draw the world into greater meaning.
Madam Bovary made for the kitchen fireplace. With the tips of her fingers she took hold of her dress at the knees, lifted it over her ankles and stretched out her black-booted foot to the fire, above the leg of mutton on the spit. (p. 92)
. Sometimes, the imagery is cinematic:
She made her way up the long drive, stumbling along among the heaps of dead leaves that were scattering in the wind. (p.324)

There were plenty of wonderful turns of phrase
She was as sated with him as he was tired of her. Emma had rediscovered in adultery all the banality of marriage. (p.301)
( )
  simonpockley | Feb 25, 2024 |
In Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert explores a number of themes related to 19th century France, including the limitations of the bourgeoisie and the powerlessness of women trapped in a rigid patriarchal society. The novel centers on country doctor Charles Bovary and his wife Emma, the daughter of one of his patients. Emma’s head was filled with ideals of marriage and romance, but real life fell far short. She’s bored with her husband and the limitations of village life, but has no money of her own, nor freedom to explore life outside the village. The one thing Emma does have is good looks and sex appeal, and she begins using it in hopes of finding happiness. This is the start of Emma’s unraveling, made worse by her irresponsible spending on expensive clothing and decorative objects.

For the rest of the novel, Emma makes one bad choice after another. I wish I had felt more sympathy for her; instead she made me want to scream. Much of this is due to Flaubert’s very descriptive narrative style. In the last third of the novel I found myself skimming paragraphs to get to the final climactic scenes. And then, once the ending became obvious, I found myself skimming that, too.

Madame Bovary is a classic and an important work of literature, made more remarkable for having been written by a man. I just wanted to be more “wowed” by it. ( )
  lauralkeet | Feb 2, 2024 |
Monstrously selfish woman damages everything of value in her life and everyone who loves her. I found it surprisingly modern and easy to read - I practically zoomed through it. The writing is delicious and the humor is wicked. I'm only sorry that it took me so long to get around to reading it. ( )
  Doodlebug34 | Jan 1, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 316 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (155 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Flaubert, GustaveAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Achille, GiuseppeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Agutter, JennyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ajac, BernardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Austen, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aveling, Eleanor MarxTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bair, LowellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bakker, MargotTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bersani, LeoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blair, KellyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bodegård, AndersTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brückner, ChristianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brissaud, PierreIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carifi, RobertoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Charles, JoanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, LydiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edl, ElisabethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gendel, EvelynTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huse, BirgerTranslatorsecondary 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
Perker, IlseÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pinxteren, Hans vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riesen, IreneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sander, ErnstÜbersetzersecondary 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
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Viitanen, Anna-MaijaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wall, GeoffreyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Widmer, WalterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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detebe (20721)
RBL (20075)
Signet Classics (CE 2387)

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Epigraph
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
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.
We were in the prep.-room when the Head came in, followed by a new boy if "mufti" and a beadle carrying a big 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.
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Wikipedia in English (4)

Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

Madame Bovary became notorious and a bestseller after Gustave Flaubert was acquitted from charges of obscenity in 1856. It details the many adulterous affairs and extravagances of Emma Bovary, a provincial doctor's wife. Her behaviour explores the banality and emptiness of rural life.

Flaubert considered himself a perfectionist, which is mirrored in the immaculate style of his writing. Madame Bovary is still considered one of the greatest literary texts of all time.

.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
"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".
(piopas)
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