Sunday, January 1, 2006

Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary published 150 years ago this year

First posted 7/3/2020; last updated 7/5/2020.

Madame Bovary

Gustave Flaubert

First Publication: 1856

Category: novel with themes of sex and idealized fulfillment

Sales: 1 million

Accolades (click on badges to see full lists):

About the Book:

“Along with Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Flaubert’s tragic novel stands as a brilliant portrayal of infidelity, an incisive psychological portrait of a woman torn between duty and desire.” BN While it was “acclaimed as a masterpiece upon its publication,” AZ it also “incited a backlash of immorality charges” BN because “its vivid depictions of sex and adultery.” BN

Madame Bovary searingly depicts the human mind in search of transcendence.” AZ Written with acute attention to telling detail, …[it] exposes the emptiness of one woman’s bourgeois existence and failure to fill that void with fantasies, sex, and material objects.” BN

“Unhappily married to a devoted, clumsy provincial doctor,” AZ Emma is “bored and unfulfilled by marriage and motherhood” BN so she “comforts herself with shopping and affairs. It doesn't end well.” TG She “is unable to achieve the splendid life for which she yearns.” BN “Her sensuous and sentimental desires lead her only to suffering corruption and downfall.” AZ Still, her “thirst for life mirrors the universal human impulse for idealized fulfillment.” BN

Resources and Related Links: