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Madame Bovary (1857)

by Gustave Flaubert

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
23,550347115 (3.75)6 / 890
In "Madame Bovary," his story of a shallow, deluded, unfaithful, but consistently compelling woman living in the provinces of nineteenth-century France, Gustave Flaubert invented not only the modern novel but also a modern attitude toward human character and human experience that remains with us to this day. One of the rare works of art that it would be fair to call perfect, "Madame Bovary" has had an incal-culable influence on the literary culture that followed it. This translation, by Francis Steeg-muller, is acknowledged by common consensus as the definitive English rendition of Flaubert's text.… (more)
  1. 163
    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (roby72)
  2. 120
    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. 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)
  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. 30
    Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane (roby72)
  10. 20
    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. 31
    The Female Quixote by Charlotte Lennox (allenmichie)
  14. 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.
  15. 10
    A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen (mysimas)
  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
    Sodom and Gomorrah by Marcel Proust (caflores)
  18. 11
    Contre-enquête sur la mort d'Emma Bovary by Philippe Doumenc (Cecilturtle)
  19. 00
    Een zuivere liefde by Sofja Tolstaja (Monika_L)
  20. 11
    Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz (potenza)
    potenza: Man Booker Intl finalist. Woman on the edge. Brutally feminist.

(see all 25 recommendations)

Europe (37)
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English (284)  Spanish (20)  Dutch (8)  French (7)  Italian (7)  German (4)  Portuguese (Brazil) (3)  Catalan (3)  Danish (2)  Swedish (2)  Finnish (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Norwegian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Galician (1)  All languages (347)
Showing 1-5 of 284 (next | show all)
Madame Bovary (Bantam Classics) by Gustave Flaubert (1982)
  sharibillops | May 20, 2022 |
'Oh, why, dear God, did I marry him?' more like 'Oh, why, dear God, did I start reading this?'
I've been trying to read this for a year and I just can't keep trying to get through it. I'm reading literally anything else other than this and so I must dub this a DNF. My second DNF after Lady Chatterley's Lover. Guess I should avoid the "classics". ( )
  Nikki.Owens | Mar 25, 2022 |
On a second read, I have concluded Madame Bovary is the greatest novel written. It is quite a read. ( )
  becomingyolo | Mar 18, 2022 |
Here's what I wrote after reading in 1988: "A study of adultery and one woman's on-going search for romantic love. Additionally, a study of the impact of "mass culture", including the romanticism associated with teaching young girls, on an impressionable and almost heatless young woman. Two memorable characters: Emma, the adulteress who commits suicide and her mundane, saintlike husband." This one I remember reading well, even after so many years. ( )
  MGADMJK | Feb 24, 2022 |
Clearly the only way I can get myself to read one of the books in my continually growing to-be-read pile is for there to be a movie coming out. Get on it Hollywood, there are about 60 books I still need to get through.

Disclaimers: I read a translation due to my French being nonexistent, but the original is supposed to be exquisite. I don't have to warn about spoilers in a review about something published in 1856, do I?

Madame Bovary is one of those classics in which the elements that were once fresh and shocking are now cliched. Emma Bovary is unhappily married to a devoted but dull country doctor, Charles. Bored with her duties as a wife and mother, she fantasizes about a life full of romance and pleasure, similar to what she's read about in popular novels. Emma futilely chases these dreams by having love affairs and buying expensive items on credit. Both her lovers grow tired of her, and her debts bring about her husband's ruin. Emma swallows arsenic and dies an excruciating death.

It's said that Gustave Flaubert does not judge Emma, and in fact that's partially why the book was banned and he landed in an obscenity trial. But I don't think I agree with that. Isn't making your character a silly, shallow woman and then having her downfall stem from being silly and shallow pretty judgy in of itself? I've read a lot of books about doomed women and unlike most of them, Emma has no redeeming features. In Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy seemed to actually like his heroine. I did not not get that feeling in Madame Bovary. ( )
  doryfish | Jan 29, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 284 (next | show all)
Madame Bovary is many things - a perfect piece of fictional machinery, the pinnacle of realism, the slaughterer of romanticism, a complete study of failure - but it is also the first great shopping-and-fucking novel.
added by KayCliff | editTranslating Madame Bovary, Julian Barnes (Dec 4, 2020)
 

» Add other authors (158 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gustave Flaubertprimary authorall editionscalculated
Achille, GiuseppeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Agutter, JennyNarratorsecondary 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
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
Suffel, JacquesPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorpe, AdamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Viitanen, Anna-MaijaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wall, GeoffreyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Belongs to Publisher Series

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

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Epigraph
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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.
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (4)

In "Madame Bovary," his story of a shallow, deluded, unfaithful, but consistently compelling woman living in the provinces of nineteenth-century France, Gustave Flaubert invented not only the modern novel but also a modern attitude toward human character and human experience that remains with us to this day. One of the rare works of art that it would be fair to call perfect, "Madame Bovary" has had an incal-culable influence on the literary culture that followed it. This translation, by Francis Steeg-muller, is acknowledged by common consensus as the definitive English rendition of Flaubert's text.

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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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

HighBridge

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

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Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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