View Full Version : Gustave Flaubert

05-05-2005, 04:18 PM
The great man seems to be a little overlooked on this site! There aren't any of his books there! It's surprising considering how influential his works have been. It would be nice to have Madame Bovary or Sentimental Education online for the appreciation of the site's readerhood. If anyone else agrees, that would be....nice.

05-06-2005, 02:09 AM
Hmm, good suggestion. I had hardly noticed that such a brilliant author had never gained admission to the site.
Regardless, I found the etext of Madame Bovary (translated by Eleanor Marx-Aveling) elsewhere:

06-02-2005, 09:43 PM
Oooooooooooh, I LOVE Madame Bovary! The peak of realism, and a great read.

06-08-2005, 11:59 AM

06-11-2005, 09:34 AM
Hey! Great job! Thanks a bunch, Mr. admin.

06-11-2005, 02:49 PM
I love Madame Bovary, however, Flaubert ever the Frenchman seems to see Madame Bovary as the downfall of man in the manner of Marie Antoinette...strikingly misogynistic.

06-16-2005, 08:48 AM
Or you could look at it from the other direction, that man - represented by the dullness of Charles, the selfish recklessness of Rodolphe and by Homais, who is just casually irritating - is the cause of the downfall of Emma Bovary. For all of her faults, her bad decisions, she is the most admirable character in the novel because she's willing to take risks to improve her life. I also think that he intended Emma to be an everyman too, hence the famous "Emma Bovary, c'est moi" quip. That's just how I view it, anyway....

06-16-2005, 07:08 PM
I MUST disagree.

The character of Emma Bovary is generally read as the stereotype of middle-class women with romantic upbringing, who has a lot of silly dreams which fade bleakly away all the time, here lies Flaubert's genius, he predicted the unhappy evolution of the middle classes, 90 years earlier. You should also notice the style, someone before me has said that this is the "peak of realism", it is incorrect, since our learning the real story is affected by the protagonist's psychology (do you remember Joyce and Svevo and Proust?).

Hence: "Je meurs comme un chien et cette putain de Bovary vivra toujours"
Because it is a reliable picture of modern society, he was not wrong.

06-17-2005, 08:56 AM
The character of Emma Bovary is generally read as the stereotype of middle-class women with romantic upbringing, who has a lot of silly dreams which fade bleakly away all the time.

Yes, this is partly true. However, I think the detail of Emma's character elevates her beyond any "stereotype". I would prefer to say that she is representative of the type. Also, I still believe that Emma is designed as an everyman. She is not only representative of middle class women, but of everyone. The desire to escape the drudgery of mundane life is universal, and not exclusive to the 19th Century Female Novel Reading population. You don't require a Romantic Upbringing to realise you are leading a soulless life. Flaubert employs this stereotype to expose the hollowness of the bourjois class, but because of his skill as an artist she becomes much more: a well observed, psychologically acute character with whom we can - or we should - sympathise.

The claim that someone made earlier that Madame Bovary is the peak of realism is also, I believe, quite accurate. I think he/she meant to say that it is the peak of the 19th Century Realist phase. Realism, as I see it, can be judged in a number of ways: as absolute fidelity to psychological truth, narratorial objectivity, and as the explosion of Romanticism that was dominant in the early years of the 19th Century. On all of these cases, Madame Bovary scores nearly maximum marks.

Maxos, you also mentioned Joyce and Proust as examples of more or less realistic novels (I'm not very familiar with Italo Svevo's work, but if you could recommend something that would be great!). It is true that the narrative, although it takes many steps to be entirely objective (i.e. omniscient narrator, moral ambiguity), is affected by the character's psychology. But I do not understand how this makes it less of a Realist novel.

06-17-2005, 05:10 PM
You don't understand?????

I mean if the narrator actually shares the protagonist's "psichology", just like in this case, then reality is not expressed indifferently (I don't know if it's the right word) by this, it is judged through those ideals and opinions and thus distorted.
As far as Svevo is concerned, I suggest (everyone would suggest) "La coscienza di Zeno" I.E. "Zeno's Conscience", this narrator will surely show you my point.

I'm sorry but

The desire to escape the drudgery of mundane life is universal, and not exclusive to the 19th Century Female Novel Reading population.
is simply false.

Take for example any author or man before the XVIII century.

As Marx teaches, nothing is universal, everything is culture.

The middle classes believe they are eternal, in the past and in the future, but history demonstrates that it is not true.

06-08-2007, 09:43 AM
Just finished reading Sentimental Education, stunned by the writing. Reading and rereading M. Bovary for years, always thinking there could be nothing better, yet here is something almost beyond genius...would be glad to discuss feelings and thoughts on this...

06-08-2007, 09:51 AM
Have to say I'm new and this is my first forum, so...hello everybody. Is there a protocol to follow or do we just dive right into the middle of conversations like I just did?
PS Sentimental Education, sublime.

06-08-2007, 09:56 AM
Welcome to LitNet genevie :) You can jump right on in anywhere!

There is also an Introduction area if you wish to post there too:


07-05-2007, 05:56 AM
Hey, looks like I'm 2 years late for this discussion, a great pity for me. Is there anyone anywhere who wants to discuss Gustave Flaubert? It was great to see Flaubert quoted in the first sentence of Michael Onfray's Atheist's Manifesto, wahoo, that made me glad. So, does anyone else still want to talk about Monsieur F?

07-16-2007, 03:20 PM
I love Gustave's work, particularly Sentimental Education, even in translation, every sentence is ridiculously beautiful. Every word is embroidered gold spun across the page.

10-16-2007, 04:52 PM
Hello everyone,

I have been also amazed by the writing. Where comes this force and the style of Flaubert ? Madame Bovary (1857) is also a great pleasure of style. What do you think ? Thank you for your posting and time.