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330 pages, Hardcover
First published December 15, 1856
Before marriage she thought herself in love; but the happiness that should have followed this love not having come, she must, she thought, have been mistaken. And Emma tried to find out what one meant exactly in life by the words felicity, passion, rapture, that had seemed to her so beautiful in books.
…sitting on the grass that she dug up with little prods of her sunshade, Emma repeated to herself, "Good heavens! Why did I marry?"
She asked herself if by some other chance combination it would have not been possible to meet another man; and she tried to imagine what would have been these unrealised events, this different life, this unknown husband. All, surely, could not be like this one. He might have been handsome, witty, distinguished, attractive, such as, no doubt, her old companions of the convent had married… But she—her life was cold as a garret whose dormer window looks on the north, and ennui, the silent spider, was weaving its web in the darkness in every corner of her heart.
Then the lusts of the flesh, the longing for money, and the melancholy of passion all blended themselves into one suffering, and instead of turning her thoughts from it, she clave to it the more, urging herself to pain, and seeking everywhere occasion for it. She was irritated by an ill-served dish or by a half-open door; bewailed the velvets she had not, the happiness she had missed, her too exalted dreams, her narrow home.
"Do you know what your wife wants?" replied Madame Bovary senior. "She wants to be forced to occupy herself with some manual work. If she were obliged, like so many others, to earn a living, she wouldn't have these vapours, that come to her from a lot of ideas she stuffs into her head, and from idleness in which she lives."
"Yet she is always busy," said Charles.
"Ah! always busy at what? Reading novels, bad books, works against religion, and in which they mock at priests in speeches taken from Voltaire. But all that leads you far astray, my poor child. Anyone who has no religion always ends up turning badly."
So it was decided to stop Emma reading novels.
She hoped for a son; he would be strong and dark; she would call him George; and this idea of having a male child was like an expected revenge for all her impotence in the past. A man, at least, is free; he may travel over passions and over countries, overcome obstacles, taste of the most far-away pleasures. But a woman is always hampered.
Her journey to Vaubyessard had made a hole in her life, like one of those great crevices that a storm will sometimes make in one night in mountains. Still she was resigned. She devoutly put away her beautiful dress, down to the satin shoes whose soles were yellowed with the slippery wax of the dancing floor. Her heart was like these. In its friction against wealth something had come over it that could not be effaced.
After the ennui of this disappointment her heart once more remained empty, and then the same series of days recommenced. So now they would thus follow one another, always the same, immovable, and bringing nothing. Other lives, however flat, had at least the chance of some event. One adventure sometimes brought with it infinite consequences and the scene changed. But nothing happened to her; God had willed it so! The future was a dark corridor, with its door at the end shut fast.
"I have a lover! a lover!" delighting at the idea as if a second puberty had come to her. So at last she was to know those joys of love, that fever of happiness of which she had despaired! She was entering upon marvels where all would be passion, ecstasy, delirium. An azure infinity encompassed her, the heights of sentiment sparkled under her thought, and ordinary existence appeared only afar off, down below in the shade, through the interspaces of these heights.
It seemed to her that the ground of the oscillating square went up the walls and that the floor dipped on end like a tossing boat. She was right at the edge, almost hanging, surrounded by vast space. The blue of the heavens suffused her, the air was whirling in her hollow head; she had but to yield, to let herself be taken; and the humming of the lathe never ceased, like an angry voice calling her.
...it seemed to her that Providence pursued her implacably, ...she had never felt so much esteem for herself nor so much contempt for others... She would have liked to strike all men, to spit in their faces, to crush them, and she walked rapidly straight on, pale, quivering, maddened, searching the empty horizon with tear-dimmed eyes, and as it were rejoicing in the hate that was choking her.
„Poți rezuma aceast roman ca povestea unui adulter provincial și, totuși, să dai dovadă, prin chiar acest rezumat, că n-ai priceput absolut nimic din Doamna Bovary” (Robert McCrum).
„Luă borcanul albastru, smulse capacul, vîrî mîna înăuntru și, scoțînd-o plină de praf alb, începu să-l mănînce chiar din palmă”. Detaliul e teribil, cred că arată, printre multe altele, cît de tare se urăște pe sine femeia.
„Un gust iute pe care-l simțea în gură o trezi... Luă o înghițitură de apă și se întoarse cu fața la perete. Gustul acela îngrozitor de cerneală stăruia: Cet affreux goût d'encre continuait”. Prozatorul însuși spune că a simțit aievea, cînd a scris aceste propoziții, gustul otrăvii.
“Lo que me parece hermoso, lo que quisiera hacer, es un libro sobre nada, un libro sin atadura externa, que se mantuviese por sí mismo por la fuerza interna de su estilo, como la tierra sin ser sostenida se mantiene en el aire, un libro que casi no tuviera tema o al menos en el que el tema fuera casi invisible, si puede ser.”.
“Agostando toda dicha a fuerza de quererla demasiado grande.”.
“Acostumbrada a las cosas tranquilas, se inclinaba, por contraste a las accidentadas. Le gustaba sólo el mar por las tempestades, y el verde sólo salpicado entre ruinas. Necesitaba sacar de las cosas una especie de provecho personal; y rechazaba como cosa inútil todo lo que no contribuía al consumo inmediato de su corazón, pues de temperamento más sentimental que artista, buscaba emociones y no paisajes.”.
“Piensa que tengo que entrar a cada cinco minutos en pellejos que me son antipáticos.”
“A veces la vulgaridad de mi tema me da náuseas, la necesidad todavía en perspectiva de escribir bien tantas cosas vulgares me aterra.”
“Tengo que hacer grandes esfuerzos para imaginar mis personajes y después para hacerlos hablar, pues me repugnan profundamente.”.
“Cuanto menos se siente una cosa más apto se es para expresarla exactamente”
“No hay nada peor que poner en arte sentimientos personales (..)Tu corazón, alejado en el horizonte, lo iluminará en el fondo en lugar de deslumbrarte en el primer plano.”.
“Me da vueltas la cabeza y me arde la garganta de haber buscado, bregado, cavado, contorneado, tartamudeado y gritado, de cien mil maneras diferentes, una frase que por fin acaba de terminarse. Es buena, respondo de ello, ¡pero no ha salido sin esfuerzo!”.
“La palabra humana es como una caldera rota en la que tocamos melodías para que bailen los osos, cuando quisiéramos conmover las estrellas.”.