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Madame Bovary

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Emma, a passionate dreamer raised in the French countryside, is ready for her life to take off when she marries the decent, dull Dr. Charles Bovary. Marriage, however, fails to live up to her expectations, which are fueled by sentimental novels, and she turns disastrously to love affairs. The story of Emma’s adultery scandalized France when Madame Bovary was first published. Today, the heartbreaking story of Emma’s financial ruin remains just as compelling.

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. This translation, by Francis Steegmuller, is acknowledged by common consensus as the definitive English rendition of Flaubert’s text.

330 pages, Hardcover

First published December 15, 1856

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About the author

Gustave Flaubert

1,354 books3,407 followers
Gustave Flaubert is counted among the greatest Western novelists. He was born in Rouen, Seine-Maritime, in the Haute-Normandie Region of France.

Flaubert's curious modes of composition favored and were emphasized by these peculiarities. He worked in sullen solitude, sometimes occupying a week in the completion of one page, never satisfied with what he had composed, violently tormenting his brain for the best turn of a phrase, the most absolutely final adjective. It cannot be said that his incessant labors were not rewarded. His private letters show that he was not one of those to whom easy and correct language is naturally given; he gained his extraordinary perfection with the unceasing sweat of his brow. One of the most severe of academic critics admits that in all his works, and in every page of his works, Flaubert may be considered a model of style.

That he was one of the greatest writers who ever lived in France is now commonly admitted, and his greatness principally depends upon the extraordinary vigour and exactitude of his style. Less perhaps than any other writer, not of France, but of modern Europe, Flaubert yields admission to the inexact, the abstract, the vaguely inapt expression which is the bane of ordinary methods of composition. He never allowed a cliché to pass him, never indulgently or wearily went on, leaving behind him a phrase which almost expressed his meaning. Being, as he is, a mixture in almost equal parts of the romanticist and the realist, the marvellous propriety of his style has been helpful to later writers of both schools, of every school. The absolute exactitude with which he adapts his expression to his purpose is seen in all parts of his work, but particularly in the portraits he draws of the figures in his principal romances. The degree and manner in which, since his death, the fame of Flaubert has extended, form an interesting chapter of literary history.

The publication of Madame Bovary in 1857 had been followed by more scandal than admiration; it was not understood at first that this novel was the beginning of something new, the scrupulously truthful portraiture of life. Gradually this aspect of his genius was accepted, and began to crowd out all others. At the time of his death he was famous as a realist, pure and simple. Under this aspect Flaubert exercised an extraordinary influence over Émile de Goncourt, Alphonse Daudet and Zola. But even after the decline of the realistic school Flaubert did not lose prestige; other facets of his genius caught the light. It has been perceived that he was not merely realistic, but real; that his clairvoyance was almost boundless; that he saw certain phenomena more clearly than the best of observers had done. Flaubert is a writer who must always appeal more to other authors than to the world at large, because the art of writing, the indefatigable pursuit of perfect expression, were always before him, and because he hated the lax felicities of improvisation as a disloyalty to the most sacred procedures of the literary artist.

He can be said to have made cynicism into an art-form, as evinced by this observation from 1846:

To be stupid, and selfish, and to have good health are the three requirements for happiness; though if stupidity is lacking, the others are useless.

His Oeuvres Complètes (8 vols., 1885) were printed from the original manuscripts, and included, besides the works mentioned already, the two plays, Le Candidat and Le Château des avurs. Another edition (10 vols.) appeared in 1873–1885. Flaubert's correspondence with George Sand was published in 1884 with an introduction by Guy de Maupassant.

He has been admired or written about by almost every major literary personality of the 20th century, including philosophers such as Pierre Bourdieu. Georges Perec named Sentimental Education as one of his favou

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Profile Image for Kelly.
889 reviews4,123 followers
July 5, 2011
Oh, Emma. Emma, Emma, Emma. Darling, why must you make it so easy ? No, dear, (for once) I don’t mean for the men. I mean for everyone else in the world who goes into this book just looking for an excuse to make fun of you. I would say that most people don’t know that much about France, but they do know a few things: that they like their baguettes, their socialism, Sartre, dirrrty dirrty sexy lurrrve and they despise this thing called the bourgeoisie. This book doesn’t really do a thing to disprove any of this (though I can’t say baguettes had a prominent place in the plot), and I expect that it had a great deal to do with starting the last two stereotypes. Emma, my dear, Desperate Housewives isn’t your fault, but you can see why some people might blame you, don’t you? Your constant, throbbing whining about how your (plentiful) food isn’t served on crystal platters, how your dresses(of which you have more than a typical country doctor’s wife) aren’t made of yards of spider-spun silk, and most of all how your husband dresses wrong, talks wrong, thinks wrong, WEARS THE WRONG HAT (!!), and is so offensively happy with you that he enjoys coming straight home to tell you about his day and relax in front of his fireplace every night instead of going out drinking- well, there’s a saying about the smallest violin, isn’t there?

It makes it easy for people to plausibly dismiss this story with things like this:

(If it makes you feel better, dear, you are hardly the only one.. Your other compatriots in 19th century repressed female misery receive similar treatment:

It is easy to despise you, Emma. You and your seemingly shallow priorities, the unthinking selfish harm you did to your husband AND your baby girl, the endless excuses you had for your, frankly, off the charts stupid behavior, the fact that you didn’t even try and communicate how unhappy you were to the guy who loved you who might’ve done something about it (since all the evidence shows that he is willing to COMPLETELY CHANGE HIS LIFE whenever you ask him to) and, finally (what can seem to be) the incredibly coward move you made in finding a way to not face the consequences your childish sense of the world couldn’t believe would eventually come up. What goes around comes around ,as the wise chanteur sayeth. (Perhaps the alternate cover above should substitute ‘Justin Timberlake’ for Sassy Gay Friend.)

That’s pretty much how I felt about you for about 150 pages after you made your entrance, Emma. While you started your endlessly copied, endlessly bastardized fall from Angel in the Home Grace, and while you tried to make a saint out of yourself for not having sex with a young clerk who couldn’t have supported you anyway. You were simply the grandmother of Lady Chatterley, an extended protest letter to a dead king I couldn’t care less about.

But in the end, you won, Emma. I couldn’t escape you. Seriously, y’all, this book would not leave my head alone, for days, and I thought… many different and contradictory things about it. In the end, though, I kept coming back to one thought: the most terrifying thing I can think of is getting caught in Emma Bovary’s eyes. Did everyone read that profile about Dan Savage this weekend about infidelity and marriage? I did. Emma is the literary incarnation of Savage’s argument. Her eyes are on the cover of this book, and the more I looked at them, the more disturbed I got. Those eyes are the reason that marriage is so frightening, why ‘commitment issues’ exist. This is a novel about how reality can look just the same to you from one day to the next, but to your partner, it can have turned into a hell or a heaven, even if it is the same Tuesday routine as the last one. Emma’s gaze, how each time she fixes her eyes on some scheme of happiness and how those eyes transform everything they see. She shows how unstable marriage is, how thin the foundations are- resting on nothing but the words- “I love you.” Words that just need one more word to dissolve the entire thing. That’s it, you guys. One word and someone’s will to speak it is all that stands between a solid marriage and one that is over- no matter how much paperwork you sign, how many kids you have, houses you fill with furniture. You never really know what the person across from you is thinking. How do you really know what motivates someone? Are they with you because they have made a resolution to be? Are they there with you because the stars shine in your eyes? Are they perfect to you because they are about to leave? Marriage, for better or worse, no matter what people say, adds so many complications. It is the commitment that people twist and bend over and around in so many different contortions to try to make it work- because it is a marriage, because it means something. How difficult is it to trust that people are simply what they say they are? Charles is simple and straightforward and rather sweet- and Emma hates him for it. She smiles and smiles and smiles… and then cheats on him, bankrupts him, tries to prostitute herself and kills herself rather than spend another day with him.

This is the most anxiety inducing book I have ever read about marriage. It’s the 19th century where you have to make a vow for life that you can't get out of, not really, in order to test the idea that you might want to be with someone. If you're wrong, that's it. You've failed. It’s all-or-nothing. Emma is the incarnation of the expectations of the institution at the time- all-or-nothing. Madame Bovary is destroyed because she tries to put her all into Charles, then Rodolphe and then Leon, and none of them can withstand it. Each of them are good for different things, and only for a little while, and she can't accept it. That is not the ideal. She won't accept less than the ideal. You guys, she's nothing more than exactly what she is told is available to her- granted, she's after the best of what she's told is available: the ideal. But why do we hold that against her? As long as we live in a society where we’re told to strive after the ideal, to never give up, you will have people who destroy themselves and everyone around them to get it. Savage’s discussion of what the “ideal” means in real life is enlightening and pertinent here, I think. He talks about how you have to be willing to change a lot and make a huge effort to keep the deal of monogamy alive. Of course everyone has their limits, and in many marriages, the trade offs of one person’s limits for the others (I won’t do this, and you won’t do that- I won’t do that, but I will do this) end up making the deal of monogamy work. But you have to be honest about it, you have to be able to say things that you’ve never said out loud before. You have to admit that you won’t be happy unless you live a life where you have crystal knickknacks on your fireplace, and you get off from pies being thrown in your face. But it’s not that easy- Emma was on her deathbed, writhing in agony from eating arsenic, and she still couldn’t tell Charles what she wanted from him.

I can’t blame Emma, ultimately. It actually made me think, of all things, a bit about Planet of Slums. That book talks about the millions of people who have been born outside the system, in illegal settlements to parents who are illegal themselves, and who are not, in fact, ignored by the system. They never get into the system in the first place- a system that is not built to cope with the mind-blowing poverty that arises from its excrement. The system can’t acknowledge it and justify itself. At the risk of sounding like I think relatively-well-off white lady problems bear any resemblance to the horror of someone living on the outskirts of Kinshasa in a lean-to, Emma is just trying to get in to a society that can't acknowledge her and go on. She’s trying with all her might to buy into the fairy tales she’s been told (just like the revived, and growing belief in magic in some slums), and does whatever she has to do to get her hands on it, even if only for a little while. She saw that fairy tales are real (or so she thinks) at that ball that one time- she SAW it, mommy- and can’t handle the fact that they exist on this earth and she can’t be a part of it. And in case anyone finds her head-in-the-sand refusal to face the world overly childish or impossible to relate to: The endless line of irresponsible credit she takes out from the scam artist down the street in order to feed her fantasies about the way she believes her life should look has obvious immediate relevance to America in the pre-2008 financial crisis era. In some ways, the existential crisis Flaubert is trying to outline here: between a solidly practical, profit-and-advancement outlook on life and a sensibility that at least tries to aspire to something higher, even if it is unaffordable or impossible, is the distilled essence of the push and pull of American partisan politics. Monsieur Homais would have done very well on Wall Street. Emma can be read as being more American than French, really.

Emma is a true believer. She doesn’t just want attention from men, or shiny things. I didn’t really believe that until the part where she tries to renounce the whole world for fervent religious devotion. Failing making it into her fairy tale, she wants to escape where she is- to somewhere else, anywhere else. By the end, I felt like I was suffocating right along with her. Virginia Woolf said that the “present participle is the devil” . Emma adds the present place, the present time, the present person you are with. She really is willing to try anything to escape. On her deathbed, as she pleaded to die, my heart was racing along with hers and the whole finale read like a blockbuster last action scene with explosives and severed limbs flying. I didn’t enjoy the journey I had with her, but I had made it and lived in tiny spaces with her, spaces that got ever smaller as the book wound down. Every chapter there was less and less light until she was curled up in a ball in solitary confinement with no hope of escape. In the Count of Monte Cristo, we root for the hero to get thrown over the side of a cliff in a body bag because it is his only hope of escape. How could we do less for poor Emma? She deserves her chance to make it to the place she always hoped for- even if priests and businessmen argue whether she got there over her corpse. If she can’t be buried in ‘blessed’ ground, well, at that point the priest’s God is just another man telling her she has to stay in the woods with the witch and her oven rather than try to find the path home, like she was always taught to do.

Flaubert handles his prose deftly, precisely, and with a deceptively commonplace hand. He doesn’t try for smart metaphors and delicate similes, but rather has characters say what the mean in an effectively believable way that makes Emma a character who can impact the lives of real women. Parts of this novel are spine-tinglingly sordid, others wrench out your gut, most of it can be drearily, boringly, mind-numbingly quotidian, and every so often, a gem shines through that makes you turn around and look at someone you had thought you were done being interested in. In other words, it’s like last Wednesday. And the Tuesday before that. And today. And probably next Monday. The morning when you woke up vowing that today it was all going to be different, that afternoon when you just wanted to die, the evening when you forgot it all making dinner and laughing about that thing you saw on the internet.

Flaubert can’t get it all, or say it all right, but he knows that. In fact, he’s willing to tell his readers that. But he does it in such a way that you just want to punch him in the face like you do that size 0 model who complains that she’s too fat:

“Whereas the truth is that fullness of soul can sometimes overflow in utter vapidity of language, for none of us can ever express the exact measure of his needs or his thoughts or his sorrows; and human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.”

Aw, come on, Gustave. Why do you want to make those of us with irrevocably not-size-0 rears, who can’t get from Q to R, cry? Yet, even your complaining makes me want to hug you.

I guess what I am saying is why are you so awesome, Monsieur Flaubert?
Profile Image for DeLaina.
76 reviews105 followers
April 3, 2011
This is one of the books that has had a profound effect on my life. The moral? Be happy with what you have and where you are!!! Mme. Bovary fritters away her entire life with thoughts of, "If only X would happen, THEN I could be truly happy" and yet she never is. She gets everything she thinks she wants only to find out she's still not content.

I read this while I was engaged and at the time, thought, "Well, I'll be happier when I'm married, but once I am, then life will be fabulous". After a few years I found myself playing the same role as Mme. Bovary: "Once I can get pregnant and have kids, then I'll be happy"; "Once I'm not pregnant and sick anymore, THEN I can be happy"; "Once we get out of this apartment and into our house, then I will surely be happy"; "Once the baby starts sleeping through the night, I can definitely be happy"; "Once the baby is out of diapers...etc. etc. ad nauseum...literally!

I want to be content with my circumstances, whatever they may be, and Mme. Bovary is a reminder of what happens to those who are unable to find contentment in the journey, and are continually seeking yet another unsatisfying destination.
Profile Image for emma.
1,864 reviews54.3k followers
February 26, 2023
welcome to...MADAME BOVUARY!

you know what time it is — it's a title / month pun, i'm picking up an ill-advised classic, and i'm going to be as attention seeking about it as possible. IT'S ANOTHER PROJECT LONG CLASSIC INSTALLMENT.

except this time i'm doing it at the end of one month into the start of another, the book is not that long, and i'm kind of proud of the terrible pun. because it works with both months. inasmuch as it works with anything.

let's get into it!

i primarily bought this book because i'm addicted to penguin clothbound classics, and secondarily bought it because the description is "Emma is beautiful and bored" and that's my life story.

this book is not long, but there are 35 chapters and i'm trying to be More Chill about my reading, so a chapter a day it is!

so far, so weird.

thus far it's been a lot of exposition-y chapters, which makes sense, but they are so oddly written as to be more confusing than enlightening. whatever! onto the actual story.

wedding scene!!!! this sounded fun. good chapter. i approve.

i don't have a lot to say about this book thus far, if you couldn't tell.

i do actually love the description in this. so pretty and clear.

hello and welcome to our first catch-up day. a three-chapter situation. everyone say thank you, gustave for making these chapters so short.

emma is addicted to novels...once again she is just like me fr.

in a twist that will surprise absolutely no one, i like the unlikable pretty protagonist who hates her life and charms everyone.

i do feel bad for charles, though.

she's sooooo difficult...i stan

a fun lil Get To Know The Villagers chapter.

suddenly, just as i settled into the comfort of the idea that this would be a Description Book, here we are in Dialogue City. what a change!

i really do feel like classics will cover the local politics of a small village for 75 pages, and marriage / birth / death are fully covered in a paragraph or two.

happy three chapter day to all who celebrate.

my copy of this is used (part of my How To Afford Collecting Penguin Clothbounds strategy) and there has been nary a mark inside until now. the last line of this chapter is underlined, and i agree: it rules.

accidentally got enraptured and forgot to write about individual chapters. this is the REAL problem with three chapter days.


emma has to stop reading novels??? good god...a fate worse than death....

something fun that this chapter did is make me feel the same existential boredom, but for the sweet relief of bantery dialogue, that our dear emma suffers from every day.

because it was very boring.


a recipe for disaster is unfolding before us.

emma, girl...stand up...


let's spend it reading four chapters of existential ennui. and apparently extensive descriptions of club foot.

i do love that being a hater and a trickster is making emma turn hot again. that's my entire skincare routine and life philosophy summed up.

you hate to see a man win a situation...women are so much better at deception and deviousness...it looks odd on a man.

2-14 on 2/14...pretty cute.

there is no romantic connection or eternal tie quite like the correlation between something bad happening and life-altering illness in classic books. if you had a bad day as a protagonist in 1809...welcome to a life of Consumption.

emma has a ROSTER. what an achievement.

there is a 5 chapter day in my future...and today is not that day.

i do love the drama of it all. everything emma does seems to be for maximum theatricality and that is a life's purpose i can get behind.

hi mtv and welcome to my attempt at a catch-up day.

honestly i would love to be charles bovary. no thoughts, head empty, zero suspicions, getting through life on vibes alone.

it's remarkable — this book has no tension at all. one of the most tense things in the world is happening (repeated marital affairs! will someone discover it? will they be able to love openly? none of these questions come to mind) and it's like. no stakes. crazy. this chapter appears to be attempting a cliffhanger and the crowd went silent.

these chapters are so wonderfully short. it's like they were written with me being days behind on a made-up project in mind.

"From that moment her existence was but one long tissue of lies, in which she enveloped her love as in veils to hide it. It was a want, a mania, a pleasure carried to such an extent that if she said she had the day before walked on the right side of a road, one might know she had taken the left." this duplicitous little devil...i love her.

too much math in the last chapter. debt is boring. give me something more interesting.

jinxed myself. this was even longer and even mathier.

super jarring to have a passage of dialogue here from two women just...witnessing emma emma-ing it up. you forget how Improper all this sh*t is until suddenly some lady is like "whip her in the streets."


but we have three chapters left!

who cares anymore...what's even the point...if i weren't so goddamn close to finishing this i'd take a day off and catch up later...

this is the coolest charles has ever been. low bar, but still.

you hate to see an adult mom / overly fond son duo...

well, today is the final day and i have literally no idea what i think about this book, so...pretty high stakes for this single chapter here.

generally, i think if you have the free time, the patience, and the refined taste, you can skip this completely, go for anna karenina, and pretend you read both.

but if you're pressed for time or into melodrama, this one is good too.
rating: 3.5
Profile Image for Jeanette (Ms. Feisty).
2,179 reviews1,944 followers
March 13, 2008
Oy, the tedium, the drudgery of trying to read this book! I tried to get into this story. Really, I did. It's a classic, right? And everyone else likes it. I kept making myself continue, hoping I could get into the story and figure out what's supposed to be so good about it.
I won't waste any more of my precious reading time on this. It's about a self-absorbed young wife who longs for anyone else's life except her own. When she's in the city, she dreams of the farm. When she's in the country, she dreams of the city. When she's at a social gathering she imagines that everyone else's life is so much more exciting than her own. Blah, blah, blah.
Too many wordy descriptions of what people were wearing, what the buildings looked like, etc. If you're going to take a long time to tell a story, it had better be a good story. This one is NOT!
Profile Image for Petra on hiatus, really unwell.
2,457 reviews34.4k followers
May 5, 2023
Three and a half stars, uprated to 5 stars because I can't get it out of my head. 9 April 2012.

Not sure what to make of it. The self-obsessed Emma Bovary was obviously (to me) a side of Flaubert himself. She feels that there is so much more but her limited life fences her in and instead of drawing into herself, seeing what she has to offer, how to make the best of herself, she wants happiness to come to her just as it does in the romance novels she, and Flaubert, read.

I understood that spiritual flailing around, turning this way and that, using looks to make up for depth, using sex to pass for love, and enjoying fooling those she lived with into believing what they saw was what they got. We've all been a bit shallow at times, but to have made a whole career, a whole life of it, no!

But then Emma departs from the author and becomes entirely his creation. She doesn't think forward, thinks her beauty will solve all. Thinks that those who say they love her don't mean they love having an affair, having sex, with her but that they love her deeply and for all time. Not that she is capable of loving that way herself either, so maybe she really didn't know what it meant. Her idea of love is the bodice-ripper, secret affair, always-exciting, happily-ever-after variety, except her affairs die when the men are satiated with this demanding woman. She can't even conceive of real-life nurturing of her child or being supportive, that's for fools like her husband. She always thinks someone will be there to pamper her and indulge her and that there will never be any consequences, that the piper will not call round to be paid for his pretty tune.

Such a sad story, so beautifully written and it deserves a far better review than these few lines but I felt like writing down my first reaction on finishing the book, I don't want the emotions to wear off and have to analyse it critically, it wasn't that sort of experience for me.
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books248k followers
December 18, 2019
”Before her marriage, she had believed that what she was experiencing was love; but since the happiness that should have resulted from that love had not come, she thought she must have been mistaken. And Emma tried to find out just what was meant, in life, by the words bliss, passion, and intoxication, which had seemed so beautiful to her in books.”

 photo Madame Bovary_zpsypdg9unz.jpg
Mia Wasikowska plays Madame Bovary in the 2015 movie.

Before she is Madame Bovary, Emma is keeping house for her father on a remote farm. I wonder what would have happened to her if Doctor Charles Bovary had not been summoned to set her father’s broken leg? It is inconceivable to think of her married to a farmer or a tradesman or being swept away by a travelling peddler. She is beautiful enough to be a duchess or a marquise, a pretty bobble for the dance floor, or an elegant adornment for the dinner table, and certainly, the perfect fine drapery for a night at the theatre.

Charles just expects her to be a wife. A woman to manage his household. A woman to uplift him and give him confidence to keep trying to better himself. He is successful in a dull and conservative way, and whenever he tries to raise himself up further, perhaps in an attempt to win the respect of his pretty wife, he is met with utter failure. There is nothing romantic about him. He is steady and completely devoted to her. Whenever he tries to express grand passions, somehow these attempts lack the ability to ignite the flames of desire or evoke the effervescent emotions that her novels tell her are the indications of true love.

Her frustrations, once contained in a heavy ball beneath her heart, begin to unravel like many hissing snakes, and her docile nature becomes viperous. ”She no longer hid her scorn for anything, or anyone, and she would sometimes express singular opinions, condemning what was generally approved, and commending perverse or immoral things: which made her husband stare at her wide-eyed.”

Other men desire her, even Charles’s father, who is a retired army officer and a man of the world, who will take any opportunity to pull her to him in a deserted hallway or tug her into a dark alcove for a reasonably platonic cuddle. Men can sense her dissatisfaction behind the cute dimple of her smile and the twinkling stars in her eyes. She is ripe for the plucking. Being a man well experienced with the betraying beguilement of beauty, I would like to think that I would be impervious to her charms. I would only have to clutch the slenderness of my wallet to realize that a woman of her insatiable need for material things would only lead me to disaster and ruin. Of course, there is this: ”And she was ravishing to look at, a tear trembling in her eye like water from a rainstorm in the blue chalice of a flower.”

Most men will meet many beautiful women in their lifetimes, but of course, the crux of the matter with a woman like Madame Bovary is knowing that with a little effort she can be yours...at least for a time. Two men are led into catastrophic affairs with Emma. These indiscretions prove even more disastrous for her. ”There are souls who endure endless torment? They are driven now to dream, not to take action, to experience the purest passions, then the most extreme joys, and so they hurl themselves into every sort of fantasy, every sort of folly.” Recklessness can prove too exhilarating, even intoxicating, but rarely does it lead to long term happiness.

The other problem that Madame Bovary has is a lack of funds. Her husband makes a good living, but he can not even begin to keep up with her need to possess fine things, or to conduct a lifestyle better suited to an aristocratic pocketbook. This is a theme of particular interest to Gustave Flaubert. In fact, he wrote a whole book called Dictionary of Accepted Ideas, condemning the very worst detrimental aspects of having too much money and not enough curiosity. ”What he despised, really, was a certain type of bourgeois attitude. It included traits such as intellectual and spiritual superficiality, raw ambition, shallow culture, a love of material things, greed, and above all a mindless parroting of sentiments and beliefs.”

An immoral, grubbing moneylender sinks his talons into Emma’s soft pale skin like a blood sucking leech. He takes advantage of her naivete concerning the truth worth of hard currency and plays upon her covetous nature for decadent things. She is so close, with an extended line of credit, to living a life of frivolous fun, buoyed by a series of passionate, heart fluttering affairs, that she can almost see it, almost taste it, and almost believe she can obtain the life she has only read about. As Vladimir Nabokov says, ”The ironic and the pathetic are beautifully intertwined.”

Emma’s mother-in-law believes the books she has been reading are the reason for the faults in her daughter-in-law’s character. ”Wouldn’t one have the right to alert the police if, despite this, the bookseller persisted in his business as purveyor of poison?” I have to admit I laughed out loud. As much as booksellers would like to claim to have diabolical control over readers, we have to defer to the writers. In fact, Flaubert had to defend himself in court for charges of immorality regarding the publication of Madame Bovary. Nothing drives book sales like a court of law trying to deem a book too scandalous for people to be trusted to read it. To me, this book encourages morality and fiscal responsibility. I don’t see how, given the tragic nature of the book, someone would read this book and want to emulate Madame Bovary.

However, I do understand the feeling that some women have of being trapped in a cage, even if it is a gilded one. The responsibilities of life can make one feel the itch to be reckless, unfettered, and pine for romantic assignations that will awaken youthful desires. Maybe this book is more of a how-to manual on how not to conduct oneself with torrid affairs and fiscal carelessness.

This novel is considered the first example of realistic fiction. This translation is 311 pages long. Flaubert had over 4500 pages of rough drafts that this relatively slender volume emerged from. The lyrical nature of the writing attests to the stringent diligence that Flaubert insisted upon to craft each page of this novel.

I couldn’t help, of course, but think of Anna Karenina as I read this book. I read and reviewed Tolstoy’s masterpiece earlier this year. It is easy to condemn both of these women, but who among us has not had destructive desires which we have either indulged in or at least coveted? Both women are fully drawn characters, completely exposed to our critical judging eye, and at the end of the day, deserving of our pity. Either woman would have made a wonderful heroine for a Shakespearean drama. I can hear the gasps from a 17th century audience.

If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
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1,259 reviews5,612 followers
November 17, 2022
مائة جلدة..و مائة دينار ذهبي هذا هو تقييمي.. بضمير مستريح لجوستاف فلوبير ومدام "زلطة " الشهيرة ببوفاري
الدنانير مكافاة على حذقه ومهارته في رسم لوحات ادبية لا تصدق..و الجلدات او الضربات ..لانه يصرف ذكاءه في ما لا يفيد
لو كان فلوبير يحيا بيننا اليوم لكان طبيبا نفسيا بارعا يتم الحجز عنده قبلها بستة اشهر..انظروا للاقتباس على لسان بوفاري
ا"كان الكذب ضرورة بل هواية..بل لذة يحلو المضي فيها الى درجة انها اذا قالت انها سارت على جانب الطريق الايمن فتاكد انها كانت على الجانب الايسر )

"نعم هناك بشر على هذه الشاكلة..و كيف سنتعرف على خلجات نفوس الحمقى و ذوي النفوس الدنيئة؟؟ نعاشرهم او نقرا عنهم لنشعر ان الادباء وهبوا عيونا غير عيونننا..هذه رواية ضد الروايات.. تؤكد طوال الوقت على الاثر السيء للروايات على عقول ونفوس السيدات..نعم هكذا أكد فلوبير على لسان عدة شخصيات في الرواية..وللحق اذا كانت الرواية من عينه بوفاري..فنعم والف نعم

تقييمي بالتفصيل:الاسلوب والوصف:5نجوم..اتقان شخصية البطلة 5 نجوم..باقي الشخصيات 2نجمة..الحبكة :2نجمة...القابلية للقراءة 3 نجوم
الهدف او الرسالة:صفر
النهاية:صيييييفر.. وتحت الصفر

انا ام مسلمة..في العقد الرابع وذات ثقافة اجنبية..و تقييمي خاضع لهذه المعايير شئت ام ابيت
لي اعتراضيين جوهريين على مدام بوفاري..الاول كأم..اقوى الغرائز لدى المرأة على الاطلاق هي "الامومة" هل تساءلت يوما لماذا يوجد عقاب حازم للزنا وللاب الذي يضيع من يعول.. ولكن لا يوجد احكام حازمة ضد اللام المهملة ...لان هذا منافي للطبيعة و ما جُبلت عليه الام
بوفاري كانت ام بشعة والأسوأ على مستوى الأدب العالمي ..حتى عندما رغبت في زيارة ابنتها المبعدة عند المرضعة لاول مرة..اصطحبت حبيبها
بل و في المشهد الادبي الاكثر ازعاجا لي ..نراها تلكزها بعنف عندما تقترب منها..فتقع الرضيعة ذات العام الواحد ويشق خدها!! لان المدام منزعجة من عشيقها

و هكذا فازت من الصديق حسام عادل بلقب مدام زلطةا
كم يوجد من هذه العينة في العالم؟واحدة بين كل الفين أم؟ ..اذن ما الهدف من التعمق في مشاعرها التافهة لأكثر من 400صفحة؟

سبق وقلت ا ن بوفاري مثال لمرض اضطراب ثنائي القطب و هو مرض مميز للشخصية الادمانية..تفتنك ..تسحرك..في البداية ثم تقع فري��ة لكل مساوؤها المعروفة..وهي الفريسة المفضلة للنصابين ودائما تجد ساذج يتحمل مسؤلياتها...بوفاري مدمنة للجنس ..و هو المرض الاقل تعاطفا في العالم..زوجها منحها كل ما تبغيه امراة في الوجود..و يكفي انه يحبها بجنون طوال 7 سنوات عجفاء هي عمر هذا البلاء"الزواج"و لكن وجدت كل القطط الفاطسانة فيه لتخونه مرارا
..بل و تضيع ماله و توقعه في ديون اسطورية..و عندما تقترب ابنتها منها يقول ابيها: ابتعدي انت تعلمين ان والدتك لا تحب ان نزعجها! !!ا

السؤال مرة اخرى: كم يوجد من بوفاري في العالم ؟؟.وهل يستحب عرض نموذج شديد الاستثنائية بين النساء..قد يكون موجود بنسبة 10%من الرجال.. اذن المطلوب مني كام وزوجة عندما اتعرض لكل هذا التبجح و التبطر بينما اعاني انا من مشااااكل مادية ومعنوية حقيقية وواقعية..المفروض اقول انا ملاك كدة .. و لماذا اتحمل كل هذا..؟
هناك حرق قادم للاحداث
و عندما تاتي نهايتها هزيلة ..فلا يفتضح امرها....بل تقرر الخلاص من حياتها في نفس اليوم الذي سيباع فيه اثاثها في المزاد..و هكذا تحقق الجملة الشهيرة"عاش خاين ومات كافر" بل و زوجها بعد معرفته بأنها سبب إفلاسه .بل وتشريد ابنته.. و بخيانتها بعد وفاتها بعامين يظل يحبها بل يموت حبا(او جوعا )!!هنا سئمت انا حياتي كلها حقا

وهنا ياتي اعتراضي الثاني: هناك سخرية مستترة من الإيمان عموما ...فالخطيئة الثانية تبدا في الكاتدرائية ..و الشخصيات المؤمنة يتم اقصائها وتهميشها....وشخصية الصيدلي الملحد من اخبث الشخصيات الادبية..و هو الشخصية الوحيدة التي فازت بكل شيء في انتصار كامل غير مبرر للشر

لقد احترت حقا في تقييم الرواية فهناك روايات تخرج منها باحساس بغيض يملاك ضيقا و حقدا. هل هناك رسالة خفية ؟ لم افهمها..و اعتذر عن الاسهاب الشديد
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1,065 reviews1,757 followers
January 3, 2021
کتاب سوزی

من یک وقتی توی گوگل پلاس، مجموعه پست هایی میذاشتم با تگ #کتاب_سوزی، و هر چی از نویسنده ها و فلاسفه در نفی کتابخوانی پیدا می کردم ذیل این تگ منتشر می کردم. عده ای پای پست ها علیه این نگرش اعتراض می کردن و ازم می پرسیدن: مقصودم از انتشار این پست ها چیه؟ چرا کتابخوانی رو مذمت می کنم؟
و من هر بار جواب متفاوتی می دادم. چون هر کدوم از نویسندگان و فلاسفه هم دلیل متفاوتی برای نفی کتاب داشتن. یکی می گفت: کتاب نخونید، بلکه به جاش خودتون مستقل بیندیشید. کتاب خوندن موجب میشه در اندیشیدن وابسته بار بیاید.
یکی می گفت: کتاب نخونید، بلکه به جاش زندگی کنید. در خیالات رنگارنگ داستان نویسان و استدلال های پر پیچ و خم فلاسفه گم نشید، زندگی واقعی این ها نیست، زندگی واقعی اون بیرونه.
یکی دانش بدون بینش عمیق رو نفی می کرد، یکی از کتاب بد خوندن ایراد می گرفت، و یکی به تمام وقت کتاب خوندن می تاخت.
چرا این ها رو گفتم؟
اگه بخوام مضمون رمان مادام بوواری رو در یک کلمه خلاصه کنم، "کتابسوزی" از بهترین گزینه هاست. زنی که نوجوانی ش رو با خیالات و رؤیاهای رمانتیک کتاب ها و قصه ها پر کرده، و حال با سیلی واقعیت رو به رو شده: زندگی روزمره، با شوهری که مثل تمام آدم ها کمی شریفه و کمی سخت کوش و کمی بی دست و پا، با درآمدی متوسط، بدون زرق و برق های آن چنانی، بدون عشق های آن چنانی، بدون ماجراهای آن چنانی. اما مادام بوواری نمی خواد این ها رو بپذیره، نمی خواد قبول کنه که کتاب هاش و قصرهای جادویی ش فقط سرابی از زندگی واقعی بوده ن، در نتیجه، به دنبال دست یافتن به ماه توی مرداب، پیوسته بیشتر فرو میره و فرو میره و فرو میره.

آلن دوباتن (نویسنده تسلی بخشی های فلسفه و کتب دیگر) مقاله ای حول مادام بوواری نوشته که خوندنش رو توصیه می کنم. مخصوصاً برای ما که خودمون رو عضو دایره کتابخونا می شمریم، ضروریه که از آفت های دنیای کتاب هم بی خبر نباشیم.

لینک مقاله آلن دوباتن

مادام بوواری و آنا کارنینا

مادام بوواری به سال ۱۸۵۶ نوشته شده، و آنا کارنینا به سال ۱۸۷۷. شباهت زیاد ایده ها به هم و قضاوت منفی دو نویسنده نسبت به شخصیت زن قصه هاشون، آدم رو مشکوک می کنه که نکنه تولستوی حال و هوای کلی اثرش رو از فلوبر گرفته باشه. البته این از ارزش آنا کارنینا کم نمی کنه، روانشناسی و شخصیت پردازی قدرتمند تولستوی دوست داشتنی، داستان های فرعی ش، اخلاقیات و فلسفه ای که در صفحه صفحه کتابش جا داده، باعث میشه که اگه قرار بر انتخاب بین یکی از دو رمان باشه، من بدون معطلی آنا کارنینای شکوهمند رو انتخاب کنم.
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9,564 reviews41 followers
August 6, 2021
(Book 886 from 1001 Books) - Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary is the debut novel of French writer Gustave Flaubert, published in 1856.

The story focuses on a doctor's wife, Emma Bovary, who has adulterous affairs and lives beyond her means in order to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life.

One day, Charles visits a local farm to set the owner's broken leg and meets his patient's daughter, Emma Rouault.

Emma is a beautiful, daintily dressed young woman who has received a "good education" in a convent.

She has a powerful yearning for luxury and romance inspired by reading popular novels.

Charles is immediately attracted to her, and visits his patient far more often than necessary, until Heloise's jealousy puts a stop to the visits.

When Heloise unexpectedly dies, Charles waits a decent interval before courting Emma in earnest.

Her father gives his consent, and Emma and Charles marry. The novel's focus shifts to Emma.

Charles means well but is plodding and clumsy. After he and Emma attend an elegant ball given by the Marquis d'Andervilliers, Emma finds her married life dull and becomes listless.

Charles decides his wife needs a change of scenery and moves his practice to the larger market town of Yonville (traditionally identified with the town of Ry).

There, Emma gives birth to a daughter, Berthe, but motherhood proves a disappointment to Emma.

She becomes infatuated with an intelligent young man she meets in Yonville, a young law student, Léon Dupuis, who shares her appreciation for literature and music and returns her esteem.

Concerned with maintaining her self-image as a devoted wife and mother, Emma does not acknowledge her passion for Léon and conceals her contempt for Charles, drawing comfort from the thought of her virtue.

Léon despairs of gaining Emma's affection and departs to study in Paris. ...

مادام بوواری (بواری) - گوستاو فلوبر (مجید ، نشر مرکز) ادبیات فرانسه؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه آوریل سال 1982میلادی

عنوان: مادام بواری؛ نویسنده: گوستاو فلوبر؛ مترجم: رضا عقیلی، محمد قاضی؛ تهران، انتشارات کیهان، 1341 ؛ در 386ص؛ چاپ دوم 1357؛ چاپ دیگر سوم تهران، نیل، 1362؛ در سی و هشت و 366ص؛ چاپ پنجم 1369؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، مجید، 1380؛ در 648ص؛ شابک9644530055؛ چاپ دوم 1381؛ چاپ چهارم 1386؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان فرانسه - سده 19م

مترجم: مشفق همدانی؛ تهران، چاپ چهارم امیرکبیر، 1395؛ در 392ص؛ شابک 9789640016985؛

مترجم: سوسن اردکانی؛ تهران، نگارستان کتاب، 1388؛ در 726ص؛ شابک 9786005541533؛

مترجم: مینا آذری؛ مشهد، مرندیز، 1394؛ در 444ص؛ شابک 9786001062957؛

مترجم: سمیه موحدی فرد؛ قم، نظاره، 1395؛ در 432ص؛ شابک 97860083940389؛

مترجم: سارا راکی؛ قزوین، آزرمیدخت، 1396؛ در 440ص؛ شابک 9786007241691؛

نقل قولی از «فلوبر» هست که: من خود «اما بواری» هستم. پایان نقل

نخستین اثر «گوستاو فلوبر» است؛ «فلوبر» پس از نگارش اثری با عنوان «وسوسه سن آنتوان»، از دوستان منتقد خود «ماکسیم دوکان»، و «لویی بونه»، دعوت میکند تا داستان را، برای آنها بخواند، ولی آن دو، داستان را اثر بدی برمیشمارند، و به او پیشنهاد میکنند، که داستان دیگری درباره ی «دلونه»، از آشنایان آنها، بنویسد؛ بر این اساس، «فلوبر» آغاز به نگارش داستان «مادام بوواری» میکنند، ایشان کوشش کردند تا داستان را براساس شخصیت‌های واقعی بنویسند، و با سود بردن از مشاهدات، و ذهن خویش، رخدادها را، در طول داستان، گسترش میدهند؛

شخصیت‌های داستان

اما بوواری: «اِما» شخصیت اول داستان بوده، و نام داستان از نام ایشان گرفته شده ‌است؛ او دختری شهرستانی است که انتظارات سیری ناپذیری از دنیای خود دارد، و مشتاق زیبایی، ثروت، عشق و جامعه‌ ای سطح بالاست؛ بخش عظیمی از داستان حول اختلافات میان ایده ‌آل‌های خیالبافانه و جاه طلبانه «اِما» و واقعیت‌های زندگی روستایی او می‌چرخد، به ویژه که این قضایا او را به سوی دو عشق زناکارانه سوق داده و بدهی‌های قابل توجهی برایش به همراه می‌آورند، که سرانجام باعث می‌شود «اِما» اقدام به خودکشی کند؛

شارل بوواری: «شارل بوواری»، همسر «اِما»، مردی بسیار ساده و معمولی بوده، و با توقعات خیالبافانه همسرش، فاصله بسیاری دارد؛ او پزشک روستای «یونویل» است، ولی در این زمینه، توانایی ویژه ای از خود نشان نداده، و در واقع صلاحیت لازم، برای پزشک بودن را ندارد؛ با وجود اینکه همه ی اهالی روستا از شهوترانی‌های «اِما» باخبر هستند، «شارل» چیزی از این موضوع نمی‌داند، و کنترلی روی همسرش ندارد، زیرا در واقع همیشه درگیر سر و سامان دادن به خرابکاری‌های خودش است؛ او همسرش را می‌پرستد، و او را زنی بی عیب و نقص می‌داند

رودولف بولانگه: «رودولف بولانگه» روستایی ثروتمندی است، که «اِما» را، هم به زنجیره ی بالا بلند معشوقه‌ های خویش افزوده است؛ او به «اِما» علاقه ای در خود نمی‌بیند؛ در حالیکه «اما» بیشتر و بیشتر وابسته ی او می‌شود، احساس دلزدگی، و نگرانی از بی احتیاطی‌های «اِما»، در «رودولف» افزونتر می‌شود؛ پس از اینکه آن دو تصمیم به فرار با یکدیگر می‌گیرند، «رودولف» درمی‌یابد که توانایی آن کار در او نیست، به ویژه به این خاطر که «اِما»، به تازگی صاحب دختری، به نام «برت» شده ‌است؛ به همین دلیل «رودولف»، در روز تعیین شده برای فرار، به تنهایی از روستا می‌گریزد، و «اِما» را دچار شکست روحی شدید می‌کند

لئون دوپوا: «لئون دوپوا» منشی جوانی، از اهالی «یونویل» است؛ او پس از «رودولف بولانگه» دومین فردی است که با «اِما بوواری» رابطه ای عاشقانه برقرار می‌کند

آقای اومه: «اومه» داروساز روستا است؛ او عقاید ضد دینی و آتئیستی دارد

آقای لورو: «لورو» تاجری حقه باز است، که پی در پی «اما» را، به خرید جنس‌های خویش وامیدارد؛ و از او می‌خواهد که پول آن‌ها را بعداً بپردازد؛ «لورو» با سودهای کلانی، که روی وام‌های «اما» می‌کشد، مبلغ بدهی‌های او را بسیار بالا می‌برد، و همین موضوع نقش مهمی در تصمیم «اِما» به خودکشی دارد

چکیده داستان: داستان «مادام بواری» با فرستادن پسری توسط مادرش، برای تحصیل درس پزشکی آغاز می‌شود؛ فرایند این داستان با پزشک شدن این پسر، «شارل بوواری» پی گرفته می‌شود؛ این جوان کم بضاعت، که پزشک تازه‌ کاری نیز به شمار می‌رود، طی ماجراهای ویژه ای با دختر ثروتمندی، برای بار دوم ازدواج می‌کند؛ شهرستانی بودن، و نداشتن اعتماد به نفس شارل، زندگی را برای او دستخوش تغییرات فراوان و پر هزینه‌ ای می‌کند.

مادام بواری زیبا، جلوه ‌ی عشق را در مردان بسیاری می‌بیند؛ «اِما» درست در زمانیکه باید به عشق تکیه کند، آن‌ها را توخالی، و پوچ می‌یابد؛ هر کدام از آن مردان، به نوبه ‌ی خود ضربه ی مهلکی، به روح این زن جوان، وارد می‌کنند، و جالب اینکه، «شارل بواری» از داستانها خبر ندارد؛ آگاه شدن «شارل بواری» از رویدادها زمانی ممکن می‌شود که شالوده ی خانواده «بواری» از هم گسسته است

اصلی‌ترین محوریت اصلی داستان، تأکید بر مسائل غیر معمول در ازدواج و مخالفت با فضای سنتی فرانسه آن دوران، می‌باشد؛ در واقع داستان با یک حادثه ی پیش پا افتاده آغاز می‌گردد، و در ادامه زنی را به نمایش می‌گذارد، که برای آزادی، و برآوردن خواسته‌های گوناگون خود به هر سوی روی می‌آورد

زمان اوج داستان، در شرایطی پدیدار می‌شود، که شخصیت اصلی داستان، برای دست یافتن به خواسته‌های خود، به هر کاری، تن می‌دهد؛ به همین دلیل احساس سرخوردگی، و گاه رضایتمندی، در سرتاسر داستان، به جذابیت آن می‌افزاید، در چکیده ی «مادام بواری»، عشق و نفرت را کنار هم، و در فاصله ‌ای بسیار کم، می‌توان مشاهده نمود؛ باید توجه داشت، که عامل بروز همگی رویدادهای این داستان، یک رخداد عجیب و خارق العاده نبوده؛ بلکه تنها نارضایتی یک زن جوان، و خواسته‌های کمال‌گرایانه ی او توانسته او را به ورطه بکشاند

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 21/06/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 14/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Adina .
888 reviews3,520 followers
October 23, 2020
Although it took me a while to finish and I read it in two languages and the same number of formats I can award it no less than 5 stars. When I was a teenager I avoided anything classic and this book was specifically on my black list. I thought that one book about an adulteress who does not end well is enough. I was wrong about running away from classics and also wrong about this being another Anna Karenina. While in this one Emma Bovary takes not one but two lovers, the drama is more around wanting too much from life, more than your condition or abilities and not being able to be content. It is also an excellent cautionary tale of execrable management of money. Oh, and against building an imaginary life from books.

By reading this novel in Romanian and listening to it in English I realized how important a good translation that resonates with the reader can be. I thought the Romanian translation to be rough and peasanty (not a word, I know) while the English one a bit more elevated and flowing. I very much preferred the latter and I am sure that my rating would have been lower had I continued to read it in Romanian. So, in case anyone doubted, TRANSLATORS ARE IMPORTANT and they can make or break the reading experience. Praised are the good ones. I also decided to read as much as possible in the original languages even if I am not an expert in that idiom.
Profile Image for Issa Deerbany.
374 reviews430 followers
September 20, 2017
الرواية تنتمي الى المدرسةً الواقعية والتي بدأت في الظهور في بداية القرن التاسع عشر.

مدام بوفاري التي اصابت نفسها وعائلتها بالخراب بسبب نفسها الشهوانية والتي ام تستطع السيطرة على نفسها والحفاظ على شرف زوجها رغم الحب الذي يكنه لها ومركزه المرموق في المجتمع الريفي كطبيب رغم عدم تقدمه في هذه المهنة بسبب تعليمه المتقطع والذي فرضته عليه أمه.

دعوة الى حفلة من المجتمع الراقي (الأرستقراطي) يقلب كيانها بعد حفلة راقصة شاهدت فيها الشباب والرجال يرقصون ويمرحون. عادت ولَم يعد شيئا يعجبها لا بيتها ولا حياتها ولا زوجها.

سقطت في بئر الخيانة والتستر على هذه الأفعال مستغلة طيبة زوجها الذي احبها وحاول بكل استطاعته انزيرضيها حيث ترك مدينته وزبائنه الكثر لينتقل الى الريف.

لكن هذه الخيانة كانت تسير بما تشتهي حتى وقعت في الدين وذلك من اجل تغطية رحلاتها ومبيتها في الفنادق.

كان بامكانها ان تنهي المأساة باعتذار لزوجها ولكن ابت لنفسها هذه المذلة وتنهي الرواية بطريقة مأساوية وأثرت على حياة روجها وطفلتها التي كانت الخاسر الأكبر في النهاية.

أحب ان أقول ان الرواية رغم ما فيها من خيانة فلن تجد فيها كلمة واحدة تخدش الحياء العام.

والمؤلف توسع في وصف المباني والحدائق والأجواء والبساتين حتى تصل الى مرحلة الملل بعض الشيء رغم ان احداث الرواية بطيئة جدا.

في نهاية الرواية محاضر للمحاكمة التي أقيمت المؤلف والناشر كون الرواية في ذلك العصر كانت مخالفة للأسلوب والمنهج السائد.
Profile Image for Luís.
1,939 reviews603 followers
January 26, 2023
Wouldn't this novel by Flaubert be out of date today, where adultery no longer exists as such and is never called that? Nevertheless, human passions and impulses have hardly changed; they are born and appear much faster in the era of everything connected. Thus, Emma could nowadays find all kinds of lovers on the web but would undoubtedly not end up better than in the work of Flaubert. The novel's richness seems to be in the slow but sure, inevitable progression of the characters' becoming. Emma believes in finding love or emerging from boredom in Rodolphe's arms, in vain.
It looks like she can't stand herself anymore, making her go step by step toward her destiny. Flaubert's style maintains this slow rhythm with know-how, descriptions, images, and analyses of feelings. But moreover, he does not forget to bring the context of the time to the surface: the petty bourgeoisie, religion, and abortive discretion. He thus succeeds simultaneously in a romance of love and society perfectly conceived, balanced, and developed with great care.
Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,630 followers
December 19, 2020
My 3rd reading of this masterpiece written with irony and finesse. The eternal story of Emma Bovary and her broken dreams is heartbreaking every time.

The narration is actually quite modern in that the perspective changes quite often from a mysterious first person in the beginning (a schoolmate of Charles Bovary?) to the interior monologues of Charles, Emma, Léon, and Rodolphe. The descriptions of the various locations in the book are always surprising with tiny references to the principle characters. It may surprise you to know that this book, which is essentially a tragedy, also is full of humor and sarcasm. For example, when Léon and Emma have a rendez-vous in the Cathedral of Rouen, the Swiss guard who tries to give them a tour of the church while Léon is freaking out and wants to get out of there while Emma pretends to be interested because she is not quite sold on the seduction is pure genius. In a similar, if more romantic vein, the whispered conversation of Rodolphe and Emma in the lodge as the vice-Prefect gives the world's most boring speech (his boss couldn't be bothered to come) was extraordinary. Every word in Flaubert is measured and perfectly weighted to each situation, the original French is absolutely splendid - whether he is describing the pretentious conversation of M. Homais or the various season and their impact on the moods of the characters and tone of the novel. The only criticism that I can bring is that the denouement is a bit long - that being said, there is another fantastic ironic payoff in the last sentence.

This book from 1856 is of course a product of the Romantic period in culture but it surpasses most of its contemporaries by its precise psychology - both of men and women, its irony, its subtle criticism of the "petit bourgeois" and French society, and the meticulous observation of detail. Even 161 years later, it remains a monument of literature and a summit of free expression (Flaubert was pursued in court and beat the censors.)
Profile Image for Lizzy.
305 reviews166 followers
November 27, 2018
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.

You might be surprised to learn that I was mesmerized by Emma’s life story. I was mesmerized and suffered along with her as she capsized further and further into the ambushes life presented her. Yes, I felt like I was in a trance and could not escape. Oh, Emma, dear Emma, why do people hate you so? Why did you make them feel that way? I am sorry for being so blunt. You, and your seemingly shallow priorities, gave your critics plenty of ammunition. You did the unthinkable. What excuse did you have for such a selfish, impulsive and futile behavior? Did you by any chance hear Virginia Woolf say 'You cannot find peace by avoiding life.'? What did you have to dive head first before she even professed this truth? But you might have overdid it, don’t you agree with me?

The horror of being a woman with no choices…

As I read on, I kept coming back to one thought: the most terrifying thing I can think of is getting caught in Emma Bovary’s life. She was not alone in her infidelity, did you know that? Not in her time, not today. What about the reason for marriage? She married to escape, I know. And she hoped for a better life. I don’t believe she loved Charles, not even in the beginning. Maybe she romanced him, what woman would not do it in her place?
…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.

And I remembered Jane Austen, who opened the door for woman to search for happiness in their marriage. Why did women marry in those times? Women married only to increase their social standing or for money, but with Austen they start to have a chance at happiness. Flaubert does something similar with Madame Bovary, I believe. He accuses the status quo, the position of women, in a circumvented way, by showing us Emma’s deep unhappiness and how her actions condemned her and society. Poor Emma. I pitied her for each time she fixed her gaze on some scheme of happiness and how her eyes led her astray.
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.

The only pastime she could enjoy without guilt was reading. From that she built fantasies, it is true. But did she not have the right at least of her own fantasies? It seems not, as we overhear Charles and her mother in law talking:
"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.

As if she had the choice of earning a living, being a female. What hypocrisy! The only choice they see to avoid her turning badly is to forbid her reading her novels. One of the few pleasures she was allowed.

In a time that judged everyone by their wealth; that breathed a suffocating morality deceptively reinforced mainly by women themselves, society would be horrified by women’s pursuit of anything more than their obligations. On top of all that isn’t it understandable that Emma would pray for a son when she got pregnant?
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.

She was so right, men at least were much more free than women. I not only comprehend her reasons, but commiserate with her. So, why look at a baby girl she knew had been born with the wrong gender! It all went against her most heartfelt dreams. Emma might have towards the end had a touch of evil brought by desperation. But who wouldn't?

Ambushes and pitfalls...

Oh, she tried to renounce all her dreams through moments of fervent religious devotion. At mass on Sundays, when she looked up, she saw the gentle face of the Virgin amid the blue smoke of the rising incense. Then she was moved… Intrigue, however, had already tempted her and kept coming her way. Why would she be invited and attend a ball in a house so out of her reality? Was it not a trap? After that, you could not help yourself but wish you had access to that fairy like life. What an ambush, when she was attempting to behave:
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.

Such a fortuitous event served only to stress the undesirability of her life.
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.

Another bait would present herself in the person of Monsieur Lheureux. He began cajoling Emma quite innocently for the first time when offering her to buy some scarves, 'I wanted to tell you, he went on good-naturedly, 'that it isn’t the money I should trouble about. Why, I could give you some, if need be.' Thus, another temptation felt into her lap like a dream come through. The endless line of irresponsible credit was not more than an option offered her that she could not have imagine existed if were not for this trickster.

Later we witness how she tries to reform, to be more tolerant and wishing to endure her life as it was, taking responsibility for her daughter and taking interest in the housework. Just then up comes Monsieur Rodolphe Boulanger, who after first meeting Madame Bovary '[s]he is very pretty', he said to himself, 'she is very pretty, this doctor’s wife.' And he goes on, 'I think he is very stupid. She is tired of him, no doubt. She is gaping after love like a carp after water on a kitchen-table. Yes, but how to get rid of her afterwards?' He decides so easily to seduce her. Oh, yes, she went along with it and of her free will. But it was too much temptation, for someone so thirsty. I imagined that if it was not Rodolphe it would be another. And later on came Leon.

After the affair with Rodolphe begins, Emma marvels at how much she had lacked living before:
"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.

Thus, Flaubert puts all these temptations in her way. It is as if Emma when walking down a meadow starts to stumble on beautiful, ripe apples that lie on the ground and cannot resist but pick some and take a few bites. Could she have resisted them all?

But could Emma have escape her destiny?

Could she have simply accepted life as it was offered to her?, with all its constraints and no reward... I believe all that she lived was utterly inevitable. Could she have run away from her own behavior and avoided her ultimate destiny? Emma was on the same boat as Oedipus found himself in. I felt after reading Oedipus Rex that there was not really anything that Oedipus could have done to get himself out of his destiny. Could Emma have done it differently? It seemed to me that the more Oedipus attempted to get out of it, the deeper he was immersed in its inevitability. It is simply that there was no way for him to avoid doing it all and facing his fate. Was Emma’s destiny any less inevitable? I do not believe so. There was no chorus to declare that to us, but Flaubert himself serves the role, even if it is not so explicit and you have to read between the lines:
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.

And so it all ends…

But as in the beginning in the end, you beguiled me Emma. I was with you from the start and you could not escape me even in death. Seriously, I tell all your critics, your tragic story would not leave me alone. It still doesn’t. You had no choice like Oedipus could not escape killing his father or marrying his mother. So, why people do not stop condemning you when they pity him?

You were clever and wanted to exercise your intellect. Imagine the frustration of nothing to do? Perhaps your mother in law was right, you were fated to end badly. What a tragedy of never finding someone that could begin to understand you. Flaubert with his impressive prose evokes her thoughts and feelings throughout the novel, and I had no choice but be enticed by his heroine.
...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.

Finally, I think I was able to grasp the reasons that make Madame Bovary a classic, a modern tragedy where a soul is doomed because she appreciates and battles against all that comes her way. Despite her limitations in life and as a product of her time, Emma has an unbridled passion and ends pursuing her fantasies. That ends condemning her. Nevertheless, Emma Bovary is brave in her irresponsible choices because it brings her closer to the happiness she wants, even if doing so she is able to attain only a glimpse of her dreams. Even if for that she had to die. And she died so that other women could strive for a more compassionate fate.
Profile Image for Leonard Gaya.
Author 1 book933 followers
January 31, 2023
Madame Bovary, c’est qui ? Bovary, c’est d’abord le nom de Charles, le personnage qui ouvre et clôt le roman, si bien qu’on pourrait presque affirmer que c’est lui le héros, petit médecin de campagne, gentil mais sans talent, mari cocu mais pas jaloux. Un Bovary un peu bovin, en somme. Et Madame Bovary, c’est plusieurs personnages à la fois : Madame Bovary mère, la marâtre qui ne supporte pas que son fils appartienne à une autre ; Héloïse Dubuc, la première femme de Charles, dont les pieds au fond du lit sont froids comme des glaçons ; c’est potentiellement aussi la petite Berthe, la fille de Charles, qui finira orpheline dans une filature de coton. Mais c’est surtout Emma.

Emma est jolie comme un cœur et fait tourner la tête des hommes autour d’elle. Elle, cependant, s’ennuie ferme avec son petit mari médecin au fin fond de son trou normand avec toujours les mêmes insupportables voisins : Homais (Emma inversé), le pharmacien prétentieux, scientiste et anticlérical ; l’abbé Bournisien, « médecin des âmes », d’une sottise à faire pleurer la sainte vierge ; le maire Tuvache (un autre bovin) et bien d’autres encore. Bref, dans tout ce tas d’imbéciles, il n’y en a pas un pour rattraper les autres. Alors Emma, don Quichotte normande, lit des romans pour échapper à la mesquinerie ambiante et à la déprime – on la comprend ! Elle lit Walter Scott et Lamartine, des livres d’aventure et des romans pieux ou à l’eau de rose, Jane Austen, peut-être – en poussant un peu le bouchon, elle lit les équivalents de Barbara Cartland au XXème siècle ou de Colleen Hoover en ce premier quart du XXIème. (Elle lit tellement qu’elle mourra en vomissant de l’encre.)

Alors quand vient à passer quelque « beau gosse » rêveur (Léon) ou un « bad boy » ombrageux (Rodolphe), évidemment, Emma succombe à la volupté – bon, on peut encore la comprendre... Et quand vient à passer quelque vendeur de fringues de marques et autres bagatelles, elle succombe encore et dépense généreusement les économies de son petit mari le médecin – on la comprend, mais, il faut bien l’avouer, de moins en moins. Bref, toutes ces histoires d’adultère petit-bourgeois et de dettes impossibles à payer semblent assez triviales et par moment franchement dégoutantes, « cette couleur de moisissure d’existence de cloporte », comme aurait dit l’auteur lui-même.

Si ce n’est que, en matière d’auteur, nous sommes entre les mains de Gustave Flaubert, le père du roman moderne, et cela change tout. D’abord parce que chaque page du livre ou presque est une prouesse stylistique : ironie mordante, descriptions pénétrantes et sonores, jeu étourdissant et souvent hilarant sur les perspectives, entremêlement des voix narratives, cut up et montage alterné. Ainsi, certaines scènes sont d’inoubliables morceaux de bravoure : les comices agricoles (II,8), la lettre de Rodolphe (II,13), la promenade a cheval qui finit en galanterie (II,9), la promenade en fiacre qui finit pareillement (III,1), l’opération du pied bot qui finit différemment (II,11), l’agonie d’Emma qui finit encore bien pire (III,8).

En définitive, le monde n’est décidemment pas à la hauteur de l’absolu auquel Emma aspire. Madame Bovary, c’est l’héroïne romantique qui a soif de glamour, de lyrisme, de sublime, et qui retombe toujours dans la boue du prosaïque et du sordide. C’est l’albatros, l’ange qui tourne à la pute, la vierge à la triste figure, l’idéal qui rechute dans le spleen. En ce sens, oui sans doute, Madame Bovary, c’est Gustave Flaubert.

Add: Il existe plusieurs adaptations cinématographiques du roman de Flaubert. L’une des plus remarquables est sans doute celle de Claude Chabrol. Le ton sec du cinéaste, maître de l’ellipse et du sous-entendu correspond à la pudeur du récit flaubertien, mais ne parvient toutefois pas à rendre les voltiges stylistiques de l��écrivain. En revanche, Isabelle Huppert est magnifique, tour à tour lumineuse et torturée.
Profile Image for Jim Fonseca.
1,100 reviews7,187 followers
March 21, 2023
[Revised 3/21/23]

Ah, Madame Bovary. Isn't that the one where she has an affair and kills herself by jumping in front of a train? No, that's one by Tolstoy. But I'm thinking of adding a new Goodreads shelf: 'Old classics I thought surely I had read years ago, but hadn't.'

There are thousands of reviews so I'll keep this short.


Our two main characters are remarkably unlikable. Emma marries a divorced small-town doctor who's a widower. Isn't there a French expression: "How can a woman love a man who adores her?” Charles acts like a country bumpkin. He adores her and he’s such a cuckold that he is an enabler. If he found her in bed with another man, Emma would say “I was just showing Armande how comfortable our mattress is, and we took our clothes off because it was so hot.” And he would believe her.

The introduction tells us that Flaubert wrote in a letter “Women are taught to lie shamelessly. An apprenticeship that lasts all their lives.” So he created Emma to prove his point. Emma’s picture could appear in an illustrated dictionary under ‘self-centeredness.’ (We’ll put her husband, Charles’ picture, in under ‘cuckold.’)

The biggest red flag for me about Emma is her lack of interest in, dislike of, and even disgust with her baby daughter. She's forever pushing her away and sending her off to her nurse. Her extravagance creates financial problems that she seems not only unconcerned with but unaware of. That extravagance drives the novel to its tragic end.

If you are thinking of reading it, here are a couple of passages that I liked and that illustrate the style of writing. This one is about an old roadside inn: “…a good old house, with worm-eaten balconies that creak in the wind on winter nights, always full of people, noise, and feeding, whose black tables are sticky with coffee and brandy, the thick windows made yellow by the flies, the damp napkins stained with cheap wine, and that always smells of the village, like plowboys dressed in Sunday clothes, has a cafe on the street, and toward the countryside a kitchen-garden.”


Here's a passage when Madame B and a future lover are beginning to feel attracted to each other: “Had they nothing else to say to one another? Yet their eyes were full of more serious speech, and while they forced themselves to find trivial phrases, they felt the same languor stealing over them both. It was the whisper of the soul, deep, continuous, dominating that of their voices. Surprised with wonder at this strange sweetness, they did not think of speaking of the sensation or of seeking its cause. Coming joys, like tropical shores, thrown over the immensity before them their inborn softness, an odorous wind, and we are lulled by this intoxication without a thought of the horizon that we do not even know.”

It's a good story and excellent writing, although my paperback edition by Harper Collins has problems. It doesn't name the translator, so it must be an old translation where the copyright expired. I know that Flaubert was a writer known for finding le mot juste. The translator, I think, tried to match that exactness of word usage in English with some fairly obscure English words: diligence (in the sense of a carriage), colza (rapeseed), bistoury (scalpel), faubourg (suburb). The back of the book gives us a glossary that has none of the obscure words I had to look up, but instead defines for us words like ruffian, trivet, penury and gruel! This is what happens when you turn over the glossary task to your graduate student intern and no one else looks over the finished product.

BTW, when is GR going to get around to letting reviewers use italics without having to insert formatting marks?


A great novel and good writing. Indeed a classic. The sex, tame by modern standards, pushed the envelope when published in 1856, and the author was charged with obscenity. It’s a fascinating blend of romance and realism. Flaubert (1821-1880) was a pioneer in French literary realism.

Top photo of Emma from a 2014 20th Century Fox movie at befrois.com
French inn from messynessychic.com
The author on a French stamp from postbeeld.com
Profile Image for Lisa.
991 reviews3,321 followers
June 7, 2019
Since I read Quicksand by Nella Larsen this week, Emma Bovary started haunting my mind yet again!

We are old friends, Emma and I.

I spent hours and hours over a dictionary at age seventeen in high school, trying to read about her agonies in original French, with only the Isabelle Huppert film as a guidance. In fact, I actually think I owe it to Emma Bovary that I finally made it over the threshold to understand written French. That ultimately led me to university studies in French literature, and a lifelong love for French writers. In a way, I could argue that Emma introduced me to Diderot and Voltaire, I guess.

But she did so much more for me, as well.

She awakened in me a sense that the world holds different options for women and men, and that women's dreams are dangerous, detrimental and slightly sentimental and ridiculous. She made me socially, politically angry for the first time.

I know there are thousands of erudite studies showing all the weaknesses of Emma Bovary, but from the start, I could not - would not - see her that way. I was with her when she danced in the ballroom, and I wished the party would never end. I hated the conventional goodness of Charles, and understood Emma's frustration with him better than his frustration with her. After all, she had ideas, dreams, longings, and he had: routine, reputation and boredom.

I rejoiced that she dared to do what men have always, always allowed themselves to do: enjoy a sexual life of her own choice. She knew she would pay a much higher price than any man ever would for that freedom. I loved the fact that she embraced life in its passion and pain, and I suffered through the horrifying pages of her brutal final agony with the feeling that I would not have wanted her to say no to one single piece of experience in exchange for a better end - living according to her husband's standards would have been death over and over, without end.

I am fully aware that this is not a moral reading or interpretation of the novel, and I don't encourage or follow her choices in real life, but I loved Emma Bovary's daring rebellion without limits when I was young, and it has never actually changed. Whenever I remember my encounter with Emma, the first thought invariably is: "Go girl! Do what you want!"

To close the circle: reading Larsen's Quicksand made me think of Emma because the character Helga Crane, not fully belonging anywhere, and drifting from one place to the next, never really lives her dreams fully. She always pulls out, runs away, hides from too strong emotions, and in the end, she resigns herself to rural life with a preacher she hates, and multiple pregnancies to bind her to the hopeless boredom and tedium.

Reading about Helga, I found myself thinking again with fondness of Madame Bovary: "Go girl! Do what you want!"
November 12, 2019
GUSTAVE FLAUBERT : «Η Μαντάμ Μποβαρύ είμαι εγώ»...

Υπάρχει κάτι το γοητευτικά παράξενο
και αξιοσημείωτο σε αυτό το βιβλίο.
Θεωρώ πως η Έμμα Μποβαρύ,η ηρωίδα με τα μοιραία πάθη και τους πόνους απο τα λάθη,
είναι ένας χαρακτήρας λογοτεχνικά αξέχαστος,
διαχρονικά μισητός και θλιβερά αγαπητός.
Σκανδαλιστικός και μαγικός.

Μια προσωπικότητα την οποία ο καθένας αντιλαμβάνεται και κρίνει τελείως διαφορετικά,σύμφωνα με την ηλικία,το φύλο και οπωσδήποτε τις εμπειρίες του.

Εκεί κρύβεται το μαγικό του χαρακτήρα της μοιραίας πρωταγωνίστριας. Ο συγγραφέας βασανιστικά αργά χτίζει τη μαντάμ Μποβαρύ και μας καλεί όλοι μας να δούμε τον εαυτό μας σε αυτήν. Μέσα απο αυτήν.

Εύκολα και ίσως επιφανειακά κρίνουμε αρνητικά την ηρωίδα και την καίμε στην πυρά με έφλεκτα υλικά τον λυρισμό και την χυδαιότητα. Υλικά που μας προμηθεύει ο συγγραφέας σε μεγάλες ποσότητες.

Αργά και βασανιστικά ο Φλομπέρ παρουσιάζει τον «κακό» χαρακτήρα της ηρωίδας σε πλήρη αντίθεση με τον «καλό» χαρακτήρα του συζύγου της.

Αφενός,η πλοκή σκανδαλιστικά μας φέρνει αντιμέτωπους με μια παθιασμένη και ακόλαστη γυναίκα.

Μια σκιά έντονης προσωπικότητας που παραπαίει ανάμεσα στην κομψότητα,τον ρομαντισμό,την ονειροπόληση-για πολυτέλεια,ηδονές,ανομολόγητους πόθους-και την παράλογη απαιτητικότητα.
Μια γυναίκα ζηλιάρα,επιφανειακή,ματαιόδοξη,αδίστακτη,εμμονική και εγωπαθή. Ψυχρή,οργισμένη,κυκλοθυμική και ανισόρροπη.

Ελπίζει και εκστασιάζεται πριν το γάμο της. Απογοητεύεται και αλλάζει ερωτικές αγκαλιές μετά.
Ο ερχομός του παιδιού της δεν καταφέρνει να την ανταμείψει με το μεγαλείο της μητρότητας.

Η αγάπη του ήπιου,αγαθού και ταπεινού συζύγου της είναι μάλλον πατρική για εκείνη.
Μέσα της παλεύει η θρησκευτική ψευτοηθική της εποχής και η ματαίωση των προσδοκιών της.
Πολύ γρήγορα νικούν οι προσδοκίες και παραδίνεται σε ερωτικούς πειρασμούς.

Αφετέρου,η ίδια αυτή πλοκή μας φέρνει δίπλα και πολύ κοντά σε ένα δυστυχισμένο πλάσμα που αξίζει τη συμπόνοια μας.
Η Έμμα είναι μια ενήλικη που στερείται σχεδόν τα πάντα απο παιδί. Μεγαλώνει και ζει ταπεινά κοντά στον πατέρα της έχοντας περάσει πολλά χρόνια εσώκλειστη σε μοναστήρι. Η θρησκευτική αγωγή της στέρησης δεν ταιριάζει στην ψυχή της.
Δεν πήρε αγάπη ποτέ. Δεν αγαπήθηκε βαθιά και ανιδιοτελώς απο κάποιον,επομένως είναι ανίκανη να αγαπήσει. Η συναισθηματική της νοημοσύνη αρχίζει και τελειώνει σε έναν κόσμο προβολής,εξιδανίκευσης και ατομικών απολαύσεων.

Ζώντας απομονωμένη σε έναν στενόμυαλα ανδρικό κόσμο συμβιβάζεται αρχικά και παντρεύεται για να αποδράσει και να αγαπηθεί.
Απογοητεύεται απο τη νέα κατάσταση και αρχίζουν οι τάσεις φυγής.

Θλίβεται έντονα,αντιδρά,επαναστατεί,πιστεύει πως αξίζει μια ασυμβίβαστη και πολυτελή ζωή.
Αρχίζει να μάχεται για ικανοποίηση παντός είδους και ανεξαρτησία.
Είναι τρυφερή και γενναιόδωρη με τους εραστές της επειδή παλεύει να αγαπηθεί,για να αισθανθεί ασφάλεια καταντάει εμμονική,άρρωστη,κουραστική.
Πνίγεται,ρισκάρει,βασανίζεται,προδίδεται και καταρρέει.
Είναι αφελής και ευάλωτη. Θεωρεί το κύρος και την υψηλή κοινωνία λύτρωση. Διαψεύδεται.
Ενδίδει με περισσή ανωριμότητα σε πειρασμούς για να οδηγηθεί στην ευτυχία.
Η αποτυχία της είναι μεγαλειώδης και επισύρει αισθήματα οίκτου και οργής.

Καταστρέφει τη ζωή της και την οικογένεια της.

«GUSTAVE FLAUBERT» : «Η Μαντάμ Μποβαρί είμαι εγώ»...

Χυδαία μαντάμ Μποβαρύ ή Έμμα σε αέναη αναζήτηση αγάπης;

Καλή ανάγνωση!
Πολλούς ασπασμούς!!
Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16.3k followers
February 8, 2011
Henry James once said, "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."

That's right. Defies judgment.

Henry James
I don't know... he looks kind of judgy to me...

Unfortunately, I had to read a translation as my French is nowhere near good enough to read the original. Though I am assured that the prose in the original French are amazing and inspiring.

I can certainly appreciate the characterization and story-telling ability but I personally struggled with the story as I reconciled what Flaubert seemed to be saying about society, women, women who had affairs, men and romance.

Now, I would like to take a moment to quote Manny's Review, since he is the one who convinced me to read this book in the first place.

"Flaubert makes no obvious attempt to judge Emma..."

No, Flaubert doesn't break up his beautiful prose at any point with, "So whilst that is a very nice tree, I would like to intrude and mention that Emma is, like, a total ho! So, now back to the tree..."

I feel he doesn't do this because that would be superfluous. In fact, it seems to me that he doesn't stop judging through this entire book.

[image error]
The judgement is like looking at vacation photos of a ninja family. You can't see it but you know it's there.

Why else would Flaubert so meticulously describe and relish in Emma's fall from grace? Every little detail is mentioned with the same eagerness as a kid dobbing in their little brother. He puts together a file of evidence for her complicity, a smoking gun as you'd say, and leaves it up to us to point the finger.

-She immediately decides after her wedding night that she doesn't love Charles.
-She then sets about creating her own misery by obsessing and romanticizing this unhappiness until it consumes her.
-She goes from a productive and proficient housewife to a morose, unrelenting mess.
-She quickly begins despising Charles and blaming him for everything while he dotes on her and grows increasingly content.
-Her home quickly falls into a state of shabbiness.
-Her daughter goes neglected.
-Her first romance uses her unforgivably but is eventually driven away by her incessant neediness and demands.
-Her second romance, whilst more earnest in his affections, is also driven away by her incessant neediness, deteriorating mental health and demands.
-She drives her husband into bankruptcy.
-Commits suicide to escape it all.
-Her husband falls into despair, neglects their child and quickly dies.
-The child ends up working in a cotton factory.

What would a child do working in a cotton factory, you ask?

Oh, just a little mill-scavenging. Their job was to crawl under the huge, spinning WHEELS OF DEATH to pick up the spare bits of cotton. They were not allowed to sit, rest, or take a break while the mill ran - which was always except for Sunday when they cleaned the huge, spinning WHEELS OF DEATH that caused these children to live in a constant state of grief and terror

Well, doesn't that just cheer you up!

The entire story arc and every unnecessary tidbit condemns Emma like one more nail in the coffin. Society is condemned, men are condemned, romantic idealism is condemned. Really, this novel thinks everyone is to blame. What is this novel's answer to it? It seems to be saying, "Well, that silly woman had so much and she threw it all away and look at her now, kids. She's dead! And poor, which is really much worse."

The novel seems to step back and tsk at Emma, saying that she had so much. A safe and comfortable home, a good husband who doted on her and she just couldn't be happy with that.

Then it looks at society and says, "Well, you created this and now you've helped destroy her too, you assholes!"

It shakes its head at Charles and says, "You weren't strong enough to keep her in line and then you pined over this worthless woman to the ruinment of your only child."

But I wonder what this book would have been if Emma hadn't been a victim to everyone and every circumstance except for Charles. I wonder what this book would have been like if it displayed a far more realistic approach to a woman having an affair and her reasons. Because, let's face it, this book's depiction of a woman and why she has extra-marital relations is very obtuse. Emma's life and situation is hardly the common for women who seek more out of life. This book makes her quest for more seem silly, unneccessary and ungrateful.

Most of all, I wonder what this novel would have been like if it had dealt with Emma as a real character. One who didn't need to be mostly insane to justify having an affair. One who wasn't both stupid and entitled and didn't lose all her money through a lack of self-control and ability to take five seconds to do the math. One who was capable of growing and learning from life.

Unfortunately all that is lost. Even in the end, Emma learnt nothing. All sound and fury. Signifying nothing.

Much like this novel.

My final criticism about this book...

This was a book about people gettin' it on...


[image error]
Curse you, Flaubert! Curse you!
Profile Image for Valeriu Gherghel.
Author 6 books1,442 followers
February 15, 2022
„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).

În locul unei recenzii zadarnice, aș menționa rapid două lucruri. Mi se par mai utile decît recenzia. Primul e că doamna Bovary suferă de așa-zisa eroare quijotică. Cînd citește, Emma confundă ficțiunea cu realitatea. Ar dori să modifice realitatea în sensul ficțiunii, ar dori să-și trăiască viața ca într-o ficțiune. Aș lega această observație de un amănunt mai puțin observat de cititori. Nici eu nu l-am remarcat odinioară.

Iată! După ultima întîlnire cu Rodolphe, Emma e disperată, a făcut datorii imense și nu găsește înțelegere la nici un creditor. Rodolphe o respinge. Rătăcește pe drumuri și, într-un tîrziu, iată Fatalitatea!, ajunge la prăvălia farmacistului Homais, intră pe coridorul unde se află ușa laboratorului cu medicamente și droguri și îi cere tînărului slujitor Justin (care o iubește în taină) să descuie ușa. Cheia are o etichetă pe care stă scris cuvîntul „Capharnaum” (poftim amănunt!). Merge la rafturile sprijinite de perete și întinde mîna după arsenic:
„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.

Dar nu-i numai atît. Amănuntul și mai grozav abia urmează. Emma se întoarce acasă, se așază la birou, scrie în grabă un bilet, îl pune într-un plic, adaugă „data, ziua și ora”, apoi se întinde pe pat și începe să se observe:
„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.

Faptul că, înaintea sfîrșitului, eroina simte în gură un gust „iute, îngrozitor de cerneală” (ne-am fi așteptat la un gust amar, la orice altceva) pare menit să atragă atenția asupra principalei sale greșeli. Nu-i bine să citești ca Don Quijote...

P. S. În Capharnaum / Capernaum (așezare din Galilea), Iisus Christos a vindecat mai mulți bolnavi: slujitorul unui centurion roman, un paralitic...

P. P. S. Se pare că arsenicul nu are nici un gust. Doar un ușor miros de usturoi.
Profile Image for Fernando.
684 reviews1,128 followers
January 19, 2023
"Los libros que el mundo llama inmorales, son aquellos que muestran al mundo su propia vergüenza." Oscar Wilde

Cuando uno termina de leer "Madame Bovary" sabe que puede encarar la reseña que escriba desde distintos ángulos. La novela, transgresora y vanguardista en sí, el proceso constructivo que Gustave Flaubert aplicó para ella, lo que la novela generó en Francia en 1857, el tema del adulterio tratado a favor y en contra aún hoy, la personalidad de Emma Bovary e incluso el juicio al que Flaubert tuvo que someterse ese mismo año y del que salió airoso.Trataré brevemente de tocar estos puntos.
Cuando una novela rompe todos los esquemas, automáticamente se generan dos bandos: los que la aplauden de pie y los detractores que quieren destruirla junto con su autor. Casos en la literatura hay varios. El "Ulises" de James Joyce, "El guardián entre el centeno" de J. D. Salinger, "Crimen y castigo" de Fiódor Dostoievski, "El retrato de Dorian Gray" de Oscar Wilde y hasta "Don Quijote de la Mancha" de Cervantes molestaron e incomodaron a muchos por sus temáticas.
Cuando la sociedad no logra asimilar una obra (de arte) el rechazo es fuerte y hasta lleva décadas digerirlas. Considero que también sucede lo mismo en la pintura.
Lo cierto es que en el Segundo Imperio francés, donde Napoleón II ejercía junto a la Iglesia un férreo control sobre los que se publicaba, esta novela cayó mal y fue juzgada.
Era la primera vez que se establecía una diferencia muy puntual, la de diferenciar al autor del narrador. Era el estilo literario lo que rompía esta regla sustentándose en el estilo indirecto libre y la escritura impersonal.
Gustave Flaubert es llevado a juicio acusado de "ofensa a la moral pública y religiosa" francesas y muy poco tiempo después Charles Baudelaire será enjuiciado por los mismo cargos siendo culpable mientras que Flaubert no.
Los motivos de la fiscalía para enjuiciar eran según sus principios más que sobrados: el tema que dominaba a esta novela era el adulterio de Emma Bovary con ¡dos! amantes. Muy arriesgado para su época, Flaubert se jugó todo narrando una historia fuerte, como nunca antes el público había leído.
Para crear el personaje de Emma Bovary, Flaubert se nutrió de dos casos reales sucedidos unos años atrás en Francia que puntualmente hablaban de dos mujeres que engañaron a sus maridos, uno de ellos fue un pintor conocido en esos años. Ambas terminaron en suidicio.
Estas mujeres se llamaban Delphine Delamare y Louise Pradier. De esta forma, Flaubert amalgamó ambas historias y las fusionó en la figura de Emma Bovary.
Venía de un traspié literario, "La tentación de San Antonio", que reescribiría después, ya que el proyecto de esta novela le requirió la utilización de todos sus sentidos. El resultado es brillante e inolvidable.
Se ha escrito mucho acerca de Madame Bovary. Los verdaderos expertos y críticos coincidirán en la excelencia de la novela y especialmente en la estructuración del personaje de Emma Bovary, uno de los mejores logrados de la literatura.
Algunos llegaron a definir a Emma Bovary como "el Quijote con faldas". La comparación con el Caballero de la triste figura es interesante. Quijotismo y Bovarismo se asemejan. Don Quijote se afana por las conquistas de batalla en cada una de sus aventuras, la normanda busca lograr conquistas amorosas. Ambos buscan evadirse de su realidad cotidiana. Don Alonso Quijano ve gigantes en los molinos de viento, la esposa de Charles Bovary cree visualizar en sus amantes a los héroes que leyó en sus novelas.
Y es precisamente que Emma es una mujer extremadamente romántica encarcelada en una novela realista. Nuevamente citamos al Quijote. A uno la lectura de tantas novelas lo hizo tomar la lanza y buscar aventuras asido a su locura. A Emma, la lectura la lleva utilizar la ficción para conquistar a sus amantes en la vida real.
Pero todo es realismo en esta novela. Ese detalladísimo realismo flaubertiano con sus descripciones interminables del paisaje o del ambiente en el que viven los personajes ponen al lector en su sitio.
Diferenciándose del realismo de Balzac orientado a la burguesía parisina que junto con esas novelas de Stendhal se basan en el ascenso social, el de Flaubert recala en la anodina vida de los habitantes de provincia, casualmente allí donde Emma parece no encajar.
El tedio, aburrimiento e inconformismo de Emma se percibe ya desde las primeras páginas. Es una eterna soñadora. Emma y Charles son el día y la noche. Rápidamente se da cuenta del error al casarse con este medicucho intrascendente y sus autobombardeos psicológicos irán arrinconándola al vicio del engaño, a querer arrojarse en los brazos de otros hombres.
En un maravilloso artículo escrito por Charles Baudelaire en el diario L'Artiste en 1857, este define con perfección a Flaubert y a Emma Bovary: "Al autor, para culminar completamente su hazaña, no le quedaba más que despojarse (en lo posible de su sexo) y hacerse mujer. El resultado ha sido una maravilla, ya que no ha podido evitar infundir sangre viril en las venas de su criatura, y que Madame Bovary, en lo que ella tiene de más enérgico, ambicioso y soñador, no ha dejado de ser hombre."
Emma está dotada de un carácter forjado en hierro, pero recubierto de sensibilidad y pasión amorosa incontrolable. Dista mucho de ser una Eugenie Grandet. Es todo lo contrario. Fogosa, impulsiva y apasionada desde sus primeros momentos en Tostes hasta el descontrol de sus andanzas en Yonville, dónde todo transcurre.
Es más, da a luz una hija, Berthe, pero esta aparece muy poco en la novela. Recién sobre el final toma cierto protagonismo, pero no reviste gran relevancia. Aquí el protagonista principal es el corazón de Emma, secundado por su mente febril e imparable.
Los restantes personajes de la novela son muy importantes, en especial el boticario Homais quien deja en protagonismo un poco atrás al marido de Emma, Charles Bovary para imponer su personalidad avasallante.
Luego están sus amantes, el joven pasante Léon y el gentilhombre que la apasiona con sus encantos, Rodolphe Boulanger. Entre estos dos hombres, Emma dividirá su corazón y será objeto de sus más eróticos deseos y pasiones.
Emma pasa de ser apasionada a obsesiva. Comienza a tener problemas económicos suscitados por tantas escapadas clandestinas. Sufre desengaños, colapsa y por último cae sobre ella el martirio y un peor final.
Ya en la tercera parte de la novela, corre nuevamente hacia a los brazos de Léon, luego vuelve a Rodolphe. Está arruinada psíquica y económicamente. Sufre desvaríos, descontrol y delirio. Acorralada por las deudas, defraudada por sus amantes y hastiada por su desastrosa vida, cae en picada.
El final es inminente. El mismo autor lo anticipa: "El porvenir era un pasillo negro, en cuyo fondo solo e veía una puerta cerrada."
Flaubert escribe en la última página un final irónico y paradójico. Como si cerrara la historia en una horrible mueca del destino, el personaje principal ya no está, pero termina destacándose otro más impensado. Las últimas líneas de esta novela me remiten directamente a las de "La metamorfosis", de Franz Kafka.
Si tienen un minuto para leerlas, creo que encontrarán esas similitudes.
Comencé esta reseña con una frase de Oscar Wilde, porque considero que fue a partir de libros como este la forma en que la literatura supo imponer su predominio en las sociedades. La crítica por la crítica misma se cae ante la falta de argumentos.
Emma "se ocupa de leer novelas, libros inmorales, contrarias a la religión y en las que hace burla de los curas, con citas sacadas de Voltaire" condena la madre de Charles de la misma forma que un pacato fiscal que se llamó Ernest Pinard y que en 1857 quiso crucificar a Flaubert.
Lejos están, tanto en la ficción como en la realidad de lograr sus fines.
Estos libros son necesarios para darnos cuenta de lo importantes que somos los seres humanos y de que no hay ley ni crítica que pueda doblegar nuestros espíritus en busca de la verdad y la libertad.
Profile Image for Guille.
782 reviews1,736 followers
September 13, 2018
Cada vez estoy más convencido de que la forma, el estilo, es lo que marca la diferencia en un relato, mientras que lo contado no deja de ser una condición necesaria pero insuficiente y pudiera ser que ni siquiera fuera necesaria. Comprendo perfectamente a Flaubert cuando desea…

“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.”.

Pues bien, ese estilo, esa forma que tanto le costó al autor conseguir en su novela, es lo que no he sabido disfrutar como seguramente debiera. Parafraseando al autor, hay perlas, magníficas, brillantes, pero el collar no acaba de sentarme bien.

Todo lo demás funciona. La trama está perfectamente estructurada, desarrollada y bien contada, a veces espléndidamente bien contada. Los argumentos, interesantes, desde la crítica social (aunque ahora algunos de los personajes nos puedan parecer clichés) hasta ese tema, el principal, tan bien resumido en la frase siguiente:

“Agostando toda dicha a fuerza de quererla demasiado grande.”.

Y Emma, el gran personaje que no puede dejar indiferente a nadie, lleno de matices y ante quien nuestra postura nos calificará sin remedio.

“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.”.

Habrá quien alabe su rebeldía ante todo aquello que no cumple sus elevados requisitos, quizás quiméricos; habrá quien critique su egoísmo; habrá quien guste de su rabiosa búsqueda del goce, de la aventura excitante, ese gusto tan wildesiano por lo superfluo; habrá quien le reproche su personalidad caprichosa e irresponsable; habrá quien guste de su ingenuidad, su frescura, su inconsciencia; habrá quien rechace su cursilería, su romanticismo folletinesco… y habrá a quien todo ello le parezca la composición magnífica de un ser humano.

Mi edición de la novela (traducción de Consuelo Bergés) viene rematada con la correspondencia del autor en la que se alude a la novela, y en la que encontré algunas cosas sorprendentes.

Lo primero es que la personalidad del autor no ayuda mucho a encariñarse con su obra, cosa de prejuicios a los que soy especialmente sensible. En este sentido, estoy absolutamente de acuerdo con Flaubert cuando dice aquello de que “los ídolos no hay que tocarlos: se queda el dorado en las manos.”

En segundo lugar, me llamó mucho la atención la posición del autor frente a sus personajes y frente al tema de la novela:

“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.”

Lo cual, según su propio argumentario, suponía un punto a su favor.

“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.”

Y, por último, me sorprende el sufrimiento con el que escribió la obra, el hercúleo esfuerzo que le suponía cada página, cada frase, casi cada palabra. (aunque no descarto el, como dirían mis hijos, simple postureo).

“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!”.

Un tipo de comentario que se repite hasta la saciedad en las muchas cartas que escribió durante los cuatro años que tardó en concluir la novela, pero, cómo el propio narrador llega a decir:

“La palabra humana es como una caldera rota en la que tocamos melodías para que bailen los osos, cuando quisiéramos conmover las estrellas.”.

Profile Image for Henry Avila.
468 reviews3,254 followers
October 15, 2019
Emma is a rather silly, very passionate ( too much so) bored, uneducated to the reality of the real world young woman, who believes in the romantic novels she reads, moonlight walks, eerie, forbidding castles, dangerous flights into unknown, and strange lands always trying to escape their frightening captors... brave, handsome men, that are faithful to their beautiful virtuous women, fighting the evil, monstrous, corrupt but attractive libertines and the hero rescuing them in the nick of time...Emma lives on a farm in mid nineteenth century France, the widower, a remote still gentle father, Monsieur Rouault anxious to get rid of his useless daughter, and though he enjoys the work, is not very good at it, ( farming) but a considerably better businessman; being an only child, she wants excitement. Hating the monotonous country, dreaming about the titillating city, Paris and the fabulous people and things there. Yet meeting and marrying the dull, common , hardworking good doctor, Charles Bovary who fixed her father's broken leg, he adores his pretty wife, life has to be better elsewhere she thinks, so agrees to the marriage proposal. Moving to the small, tedious village of Tostes , Emma regrets soon her hasty marriage. Even the birth of a daughter, Berthe who she neglects, not a loving mother the maid raises , has no effect on her gloomy moods. She craves romance, her husband is not like the men in her books, ordinary looking, not fearless or intelligent, words do not inspire coming out of his mouth, he lacks the intense feelings she wants. After moving to another quiet village, Yonville (Ry) clueless Bovary thinks the change of scenery, will lift his listless wife out of her funk. The local wealthy landowner Rodolphe Boulanger, sees the pretty Emma, senses her unhappiness and seduces , a veteran at this sort of thing, he has had many mistresses in the past. At first the secret, quite perilous, thrilling rendezvous behind the back of Emma's house, clandestine notes, reckless walks in the predawn mornings to his Chateau, reminds Emma of her novels... but everything becomes routine, no better than married life. Rodolphe gets annoyed, unexcited, he also doesn't feel like the beginning, sends a letter breaking off the affair. The emotional Emma becomes very ill, her husband fears that she may die, puzzled at the sudden sickness. A slow recover ensues, Emma still has the same husband, starts another affair with a clerk, shy Leon Dupuis, younger than she more grateful too not like the previous lover, the erratic Madame Bovary is in control. In the nearby town of Rouen in Normandy they meet every week, until this also becomes uninteresting, the spendthrift woman behind her trusting, loving, naive , husband's back drives them to ruin through her unreasonable buying sprees . Emma Bovary learns much too late, that the only person who loves her, is the unremarkable man she married. What can I say, love or hate this , it remains a controversial classic , the crowds flock to.
Profile Image for Kevin Ansbro.
Author 5 books1,467 followers
June 9, 2019
"Like a sailor in distress, she would gaze out over the solitude of her life with desperate eyes, seeking some white sail in the mists of the far off horizon."

It's always difficult to properly appraise a book when one hasn't read it in the language in which it was written. My edition was translated by Geoffrey Wall, who preserved Flaubert's distinctive habits of punctuation, italicisation and paragraphing. Though the overuse of exclamation marks is discouraged by modern-day publishers, Flaubert scatters them like seed. I’m all for it, as it added to the vibrancy of his writing.
I read this classic at a leisurely pace, one chapter at a time, in between newfangled reads. I carefully jotted down notes and some well-chosen passages, intending to reproduce them here. Sadly, I unintentionally left my humidity-corrugated notepad by a pool in Thailand! : (
Emma (Madame Bovary), along with Lady Chatterley and Anna Karenina, is in the running for literature’s most famous adulteress. And in that respect, she doesn't disappoint.
Defying convention, Flaubert deliberately chose to make his eponymous femme fatale unlikeable, which I see as a good thing: it makes her character believable; it makes her seem modern, and it shows how unfettered by tradition the author was.
Emma "Drama Queen" Bovary, whose untamed heart rules her head, is trapped in a boring, frigid marriage and, without a care in the world, looks for love and lust elsewhere. In many ways, she behaves like a sex-hungry man who can’t keep it in his pants, except she’s living in patriarchal France in the 1800s!

Of course, when a literary character plays with fire, you just know they’re gonna get burnt!

Yes, Emma is shallow and selfish and wants what she can't have but, because she is a flawed human being, wholly driven by sentimentality, I sympathised with her.
Translations notwithstanding, I really enjoyed Flaubert’s anomalous writing style and luxuriant prose but, for me, this isn't the page-turner that Anna Karenina is.
Profile Image for İntellecta.
199 reviews1,558 followers
March 31, 2022
Madame Bovary is Gustav Flaubert's most famous novel and realistically tells the story and the sinking of a young woman. The subtle language, the characteristic detailed descriptions let you dive into a completely different world. And even if the story comes from a completely different time, there are so many parallels to ours. There are many possibilities for interpretation and also the psychological aspect is not neglected. Madame Bovary's story, especially when you consider the time the novel was written. He was a scandal then. There was even a trial. Despite its age, the book is timeless and therefore always up-to-date. If you are interested in French culture, you should have a look at this exciting book. Gustave Flaubert is one of the most brilliant authors of his time, whose genius and complexity is also reflected in this book. If, however, one takes a deeper look at the novel, one discovers the many parallels and understands the skill of the author, who tries to portray the image of society at that time. Absolutely worth reading.
Profile Image for مريم عادل.
174 reviews15 followers
May 11, 2019
الرواية التي احدثت ضجة وقت صدورها، ويعتبرها البعض بداية عصر جديد من الأدب الروائي الواقعي، وتم اقتباس الحبكة في العديد من الأعمال السينمائية، آخرها فيلم يسنمائي فرنسي شاهدته من عامان
الرواية تصور رحلة سقوط امرأة في بئر الرذيلة ويفضح ممارسات المجتمع في ذلك الوقت، الحبكة لم تكن بالمبهرة لكنها من ذلك النوع الذي يعرض لشخصية ويغوص في دواخلها فلا تملك سوى الاندماج معها بكل وجدانك، وتظل تتحيز لها أو ضدها حتى آخر سطر في العمل
April 13, 2022
Madame Bovary was a real treat. I'm glad that I chose to read it at this point in my life, and not any younger, as I'm not entirely sure that I would have been appreciative of the story, and the richness of the characters. I now know, why Madame Bovary is such a popular novel.

The story centres on Emma, a woman that believes in dreaming, passionate love and adventure, and when she marries Charles Bovary, it is evident to her, that she is not going to get that with him. So, she seeks her needs elsewhere, with two other men. She delves into two affairs, and while her needs are sufficed, she ends up in large amounts of debt, which inevitably, leads to destruction and despair.

Flaubert was a wordsmith, and his beautiful, life-like descriptions of everyday life scenes, that were so in depth, such as the club-foot operation, had me racing through this book. I felt like I was in the room, observing that operation, and I could almost smell the sweat. As for the tragedy itself, I thought it was rather drawn out, and I think in this case, it needed to be. It was shocking, unthinkable and I felt my heart banging in my chest. It takes something extraordinary to be able to do that, and this book has succeeded.
Profile Image for Agir(آگِر).
437 reviews525 followers
January 2, 2016
گوستاو فلوبر نزديك چهار سال براي نوشتن اين داستان وقت صرف كرد.وي سبكي كاملا جديد پديد آورد؛ اينكه راوي داستان فقط ناظري باشد دقيق براي نمايش زندگي و نظر شخصي اش در داستان دیده نشود
به قول خودش: هنرمند باید شبیه پروردگارِ خالق باشد، نادیده و برهمه چیز توانا؛ ذاتی که در همه جا حس شود اما به چشم نیاید

:در مورد کتاب
يك زندگي نزدیک به واقعيت، كه خبري از انسان هاي كاملا خوب يا بد نيست، و انسان ها در كنار خوبي،بدي هم دارند و همه شان مردمي معمولي هستند كه دچار روزمرگي شده اند، به غير از اِما و پدرِ شارل كه براي قلب خود ارزش قائلند ولي راه اشتباهي را انتخاب مي كنند

جامعه و اخلاقیات در اروپای آن زمان هنوز نمی توانست چنین انسان هایی را درک کنند

شخصيت داستان زني شبيه مادر ترزا يا ژاندارك نيست،دختري معمولي است كه وقتي در صومعه داستان هاي مبتذل عاشقانه را دزدكي و به دور از ديد راهبه ها مي خواند ،آرزوي اين دنياي خيالي شب و روزش را مي ربايد

اِما در تمام عمرش در پي اين خوشبختي مي گردد ولي نه در برِ معشوق و نه در خانه اي با اسباب گران قيمت و نه در جاي ديگري، هيچوقت آنرا پيدا نمي كند

اين قسمت دقيقا نفرت نويسنده از سبك رمانتيسم افراطي را نشان مي دهد و اينكه اين داستان ها چه تاثير بدي بر ذهن خام دختري نوجوان مي گذارد

ازدواج اِما با شارل اقدامي عجولانه بود و دختري كه در رويا ها سير مي كرد،مجبور بود كمي از اين رويا ها فرود بيايد تا شايد طعم خوشبختي را بچشد.ولي هركاري كرد نچشيد چون او مزه اي مي خواست كه در زمين خاكي و قابل لمس وجود نداشت

اِما خيلي زود از شوهرش نااميد شد،چون شوهرش شبيه قهرمان داستان هايي كه خوانده، نبود.تلاش كرد شوهرش را تبديل به چنين مردي كند ولي نه شارل چنين ظرفيتي داشت و نه اين قهرمانان واقعي بودند

ولي اِما بجاي واقعيت بيني همه چيز را تقصير شوهرش ديد و شروع كرد به سقوط
شايد اگر قبل از ازدواج عشق را آنطور كه هست مي شناخت و یا عاشق می شد و حتي در آن شكست مي خورد،زندگيش در آينده عوض مي شد

كارل گوستاو يونگ هر انساني را داري شخصيت مرادنه و زنانه مي داند.شخصيت مردانه اِما قابل توجه است، در چند جاي داستان از زن بودنش متنفر بود و همچو يك مرد بر شوهرش حكومت مي کرد و دوس داشت فرزندش پسر باشد

Profile Image for Orsodimondo.
2,190 reviews1,812 followers
March 4, 2018

Meravigliosa come sempre, semplicemente perfetta, Isabelle Huppert nell’adattamento del 1991 firmato da Claude Chabrol.

Letto un paio di volte e sempre amato. Uno dei massimi capolavori della letteratura, secondo me.
Flaubert è uno dei sommi: me lo immagino di notte, solo nella sua casa di Rouen, che sono ovviamente stato a visitare, al lume di candela, che 'recita' le parole scritte, ancora e ancora, urlandole, cancellando, limando, riscrivendo, fino a trovare la formula giusta, quella perfetta. Le mot juste.
Perché, lui è con la perfezione che si misurava.
E alla perfezione si è avvicinato, e, secondo me, la perfezione ha raggiunto.


Realistico, il romanzo certamente lo è: non contiene nulla che non sia esistito nella vita reale (e facilissimo da riscontrare attraverso sopralluoghi e testimonianze); e anche se sbuffa ogni tanto "nulla in questa storia è tratto dalla vita, è totalmente inventata", non c'è dubbio che questo autore ha seguito con scrupolo il precetto dello 'scrivere solo di ciò che si conosce'.


Però dopo aver scritto la scena di seduzione nel bosco, nella Corrispondenza si trova: Che delizia scrivere! Non essere più se stessi, ma spaziare per l'universo che si descrive! Oggi, per esempio, mi sentivo uomo e donna, amante e amata, cavalcavo per una foresta in un pomeriggio d'autunno sotto le foglie gialle, e io ero i cavalli, le foglie, il vento, le parole dette da lui e da lei, e il sole scarlatto sopra le loro palpebre semichiuse, gonfie per la passione....
Alberto Arbasino: Certi romanzi, pp 131-132

Profile Image for Martine.
145 reviews692 followers
March 27, 2008
Like every European teenager who takes French at secondary school, I was supposed to read Madame Bovary when I was seventeen or so. I chose not to, and boy, am I glad I did. I couldn't possibly have done justice to the richness of Flaubert's writing as a seventeen-year-old. Moreover, I probably would have hated the characters so much that I never would have given the book another chance. Which would have been a shame, as it's really quite deserving of the tremendous reputation it has.

Madame Bovary is the story of Emma Rouault, a mid-nineteenth-century peasant woman who has read too many sentimental novels for her own good. When the hopeless romantic marries Charles Bovary, a country doctor, she thinks she is going to lead a life full of passion and grandeur, but instead she gets stuck in a provincial town where nothing ever happens. Hell-bent on some escapism and yearning for someone who understands her romantic needs, Emma embarks on two adulterous affairs, plunges herself into debt and ends up very badly indeed, leaving behind a husband who might not have been the dashing hero of her dreams but who most certainly did care about her.

Madame Bovary is most famous for its portrayal of an unfulfilled woman, and indeed it's Emma's ennui and desperate need for romance that the reader will remember. They are described so convincingly that it's hard to believe the author was a man rather than a woman. However, Madame Bovary isn't all about one woman going through life dreaming and breaking down every time reality catches up with her. Like other great classics of realism, it's about society – about the social mores and conditions which instil certain kinds of behaviour in people and then punish them for it. Flaubert's depiction of Emma's provincial village (a haven of all that is base and mediocre) is painstakingly detailed and realistic. It's a wonderfully vivid and well-observed account of life in mid-nineteenth-century rural France, where people go about doing their jobs, conducting illicit affairs, gossiping behind each other's backs, ruining each other financially and generally leading lives which are far from exalted. Flaubert's portrayal of his characters is unabashedly vicious and misanthropic, but such is the quality of his writing that you forgive him for taking such a dim view of humanity. There are descriptions in the book (the seduction at the market, the club-foot operation, the endlessly prolonged death from arsenic poisoning) which rank among the best things nineteenth-century realism has to offer – gloriously life-like scenes which make you feel as if you're right there in the thick of things, watching things happen in front of your horrified eyes. And if the whole thing has a tragic and deterministic slant to it, well, so be it. That's realism for you. At least Flaubert has the decency to grant his heroine a few sighs of rapture before her inexorable demise. For it may be a realist novel, but it has some genuinely romantic moments of passion and drama (cab ride through Rouen, anyone?), and is all the better for it.

Ultimately, how you respond to Madame Bovary depends on your own susceptibility to romantic notions. If, like Emma Bovary, you're prone to dreams of passion, beauty and perfection, and yearn to feel and experience rather than being stuck in a dreary life in a village where nothing ever happens, chances are you'll be able to relate to Emma and thus see the genius of Flaubert's depiction of her. If, on the other hand, you think that such romantic escapism is a lot of sentimental, self-indulgent claptrap (which it is – that's the tragedy of it!), you probably won't be able to relate to Emma at all, and therefore won't much appreciate her as a tragic heroine. As for myself, I'm definitely in the former camp. If I'd been Emma, I probably would have walked into the same traps that she does. I would have fallen in love with the one neighbour who seems to understand my need for intensity, I would have gone through the same mad cycle of repentance, dissatisfaction and making the same mistakes again, and I probably would have spent a bit too much money in my quest for soul-affirming experiences, as well. My ruin wouldn't have been as complete as Emma's, but it would have been fed by the same dreams and desires. Oh, yes. So don't let anyone tell you Madame Bovary is an old-fashioned creature whose dilemmas are no longer relevant to modern readers. There are plenty of people in modern society who are as much in love with romance itself as she is, and not just women, either. And as for discontent, how many people today aren't dissatisfied with their lives because they don't match the glamorous/exciting lives they see on TV? And how many people today don't rack up huge debts because the magazines they read have led them to believe that they're entitled to more than is within their means? Replace 'sentimental novels' by 'TV', 'movies' and 'magazines', and all of a sudden Emma's cravings won't seem so outdated any more. Quite the contrary; they're as timeless and universal as they ever were. That's the hallmark of a classic – it speaks to us from across a century and a half and shows us ourselves. We may not much like the picture of ourselves, but it's pretty powerful all the same.

I'd give the book four and a half stars if I could, but alas. In the absence of half stars, four stars will have to do, with the assurance that it's well worth another half.
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