Proper little Madame

20 10 2011

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

 

 

Emma Bovary is beautiful and bored, trapped in her marriage to a mediocre doctor and stifled by the banality of provincial life. An ardent reader of sentimental novels, she longs for passion and seeks escape in fantasies of high romance, in voracious spending and, eventually, in adultery. But even her affairs bring her disappointment and the consequences are devastating. Flaubert’s erotically charged and psychologically acute portrayal of Emma Bovary caused a moral outcry on its publication in 1857. It was deemed so lifelike that many women claimed they were the model for his heroine; but Flaubert insisted: ‘Madame Bovary, c’est moi’.

The consequences are indeed devastating. Bovary is a fascinating character and it really is a tremendous novel and quite compelling. Slightly embarrassed that I started and gave up on this many years ago and have only now come back to. Highly recommended (especially if, like me, you failed to read it years ago).

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