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Madame Bovary [Norton Critical Edition] (1857)

door Gustave Flaubert, Margaret Cohen (Redacteur)

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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 incalculable influence on the literary culture that followed it.… (meer)
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It seems important with all the news in the world right now about women losing more rights over their own bodies to read Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. Madame Bovary is a tale about a woman who reads, thinks too much, loves too much, flaunts conventions, has no agency over her finances, and then ultimately… well, this is a 19th-century novel, so she is not likely to get away with it.

I enjoyed the book, Flaubert’s writing is rich in description, setting, and "if the carriage is a rocking, don’t be a stopping" detail that put the book on many a “don’t read this list” over the years.

I don’t know think there was one character I truly liked. Emma was not a very likable character—she did not care for her husband, or her child, and seems to only care for her own feelings. She falls in love too easily. She is passionate about the wrong things, and she gives little thought to consequences until it is too late. Her husband is clueless. Her lovers are opportunists. Her husband’s mother is unlikeable. But then who doesn’t like reading about bad things happening to unlikeable people? Or maybe I like the is just me who has also been turning into the Depp/Heard trial all this week, or why I read novels by Thomas Hardy, clearly I have a thing for unlikeable characters.

Henry James wrote: “Madame Bovary has a perfection that not only stamps it, but that makes it stand almost alone; it holds itself with such a supreme unapproachable assurance as both excites and defies judgment…. The work is a classic because the thing, such as it is, is ideally done, and because it shows that in such doing eternal beauty may dwell.” (Source: The Novel 100)

I’ve found this title on no less than five recommendation lists and I’m sure I’ll find more:
1001 Books to Read Before You Die by Peter Boxall
“Reading List for the College Bound found” in The Literature Lover’s Book of Lists.
Books published by Signet Classics
The Novel 100: A Ranking of the Greatest Novels of All Time by Daniel S. Burt (ranked #7)
Mentioned by Amor Towles in an interview in The Writer’s Library by Nancy Pearl and Jeff Schwager ( )
  auldhouse | May 4, 2022 |
Wow. This book rocked my reading world. I'll probably read it again and then comment on it. Amazing book, though; it totally lived up to the hype. ( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
I listened to the audio version this time, rather than reading it again. It was still the story I remember and I felt impatient with Emma for her behavior and attitudes towards Charles. Seems to be a much different reaction this time - one of someone who has been married rather than the young adult I was the first time I read it. It will never be one of my favorites, but the craft that Flaubert took in crafting the language is to be noted. ( )
  tmscott13 | Jan 23, 2016 |
What a delight to reread this book, especially since my first reading was at age 18. Back then I missed the irony, humor, and deadliness, as well as Flaubert's startlingly modern perspective. Hard to believe this was published prior to the US Civil War. During my first reading I swooned, wept, and raged right along with Madame B. Evidently, at the time the book was published, many bourgeoise housewives did the same. How kind-hearted and compassionate Flaubert is with his flawed characters. The narrator seems like God, sadly meting out consequences for his creations.
  Mary_Overton | Jun 29, 2010 |
966 Madame Bovary Background and Sources Essays in Criticism Gustave Flaubert edited with a substantially new translation by Paul De Man (read 7 Sep 1968) Somewhat to my surprise, I have just finished reading this--it marks my first reading of one of the those famous French novels which were on the Index of Forbidden Books till the Index was abolished in 1966: books such as those by Stendahl, Balzac, and Flaubert. I found Madame Bovary heavy and a tour de force. It tells of a woman in Normandy who sought to fulfill her dreams in adultery, and of her failure and death. The story is not exceptional, but the telling has a power in it unmatched by most of what I've read. A sample of Flaubert (how I wish I knew French!): "As on the return from Vaulyessard, when the quadrilles were running in her head, she was full of a glowing melancholy, of a numb despair. Leon reappeared, taller, handsomer, more charming, more vague. Though separated from her, he had not left her, he was there, and the walls of the house seemed to hold his shadows. . .The river still flowed on and slowly drove its ripples along the slippery banks. They had often walked there listening to the murmur of the waves over the moss-covered pebbles. How bright the sun had been! What happy afternoons they had known, alone, in the shade at the end of the garden!" A masterpiece! ( )
  Schmerguls | Jul 29, 2009 |
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AuteursnaamRolType auteurWerk?Status
Gustave Flaubertprimaire auteuralle editiesberekend
Cohen, MargaretRedacteurprimaire auteuralle editiesbevestigd
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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 incalculable influence on the literary culture that followed it.

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Nagelaten Bibliotheek: Gustave Flaubert

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