Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
(Penguin Classics)

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Flaubert, always obsessed with finding “le mot juste,” sometimes spent a week writing a single page. It shows. The prose sings.
-Toronto Star

Synopsis

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'.
 

About Gustave Flaubert

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Gustave Flaubert was born in Rouen in 1821, the son of a prominent physician. A solitary child, he was attracted to literature at an early age, and after his recovery from a nervous breakdown suffered while a law student, he turned his total energies to writing. Aside from journeys to the Near East, Greece, Italy, and North Africa, and a stormy liaison with the poetess Louise Colet, his life was dedicated to the practice of his art. The form of his work was marked by intense aesthetic scrupulousness and passionate pursuit of le mot juste; its content alternately reflected scorn for French bourgeois society and a romantic taste for exotic historical subject matter. The success of Madame Bovary (1857) was ensured by government prosecution for “immorality”; Salammbô (1862) and The Sentimental Education (1869) received a cool public reception; not until the publication of Three Tales (1877) was his genius popularly acknowledged. Among fellow writers, however, his reputation was supreme. His circle of friends included Turgenev and the Goncourt brothers, while the young Guy de Maupassant underwent an arduous literary apprenticeship under his direction. Increasing personal isolation and financial insecurity troubled his last years. His final bitterness and disillusion were vividly evidenced in the savagely satiric Bouvard and Pécuchet, left unfinished at his death in 1880.Geoffrey Wall is author of the critically acclaimed Flaubert: A Life and translated Madame Bovary for Penguin Classics.Michèle Roberts is the author of ten highly praised novels.
 
Published August 2, 2007 by Penguin. 388 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, History, Education & Reference, Romance, Action & Adventure, Humor & Entertainment, Children's Books, Law & Philosophy, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction
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Toronto Star

Excellent
Reviewed by Marcia Kaye on Aug 25 2012

Flaubert, always obsessed with finding “le mot juste,” sometimes spent a week writing a single page. It shows. The prose sings.

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