Madame Bovary (Vintage Classics)

August 6, 2018

Gustave FlaubertImage of Madame Bovary

For daring to peer into the heart of an adulteress and enumerate its contents with profound dispassion, the author of Madame Bovary was tried for “offenses against morality and religion.” What shocks us today about Flaubert’s devastatingly realized tale of a young woman destroyed by the reckless pursuit of her romantic dreams is its pure artistry: the poise of its narrative structure, the opulence of its prose (marvelously captured in the English translation of Francis Steegmuller), and its creation of a world whose minor figures are as vital as its doomed heroine. In reading Madame Bovary, one experiences a work that remains genuinely revolutionary almost a century and a half after its creation.

1991

One Comment

  • Art

    Madame Bovary, Flaubert’s debut novel, is a masterpiece for a number of reasons. First, it is a stunning and unique exploration of the French Revolution, with each character representing a different idea prevalent at that time – very clever. Perhaps we may lack appreciation of that today, as it’s no longer new, but in Flaubert’s day, this was extraordinary. However, that’s far from the only unique feature of the story.

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