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Madame Bovary



Translated from the French by Eleanor Marx-Aveling


To Marie-Antoine-Jules Senard, Member of the Paris Bar, Ex-President of the National Assembly, and Former Minister of the Interior

Dear and Illustrious Friend, Permit me to inscribe your name at the head of this book, and above its dedication; for it is to you, before all, that I owe its publication. Reading over your magnificent defence, my work has acquired for myself, as it were, an unexpected authority. Accept, then, here, the homage of my gratitude, which, how great soever it is, will never attain the height of your eloquence and your devotion.

Gustave Flaubert, Paris, 12 April 1857.


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Recent Forum Posts on Madame Bovary


Just finished chapter 6 in part 3. Lheureux, the draper and money lender, presents Madame Bovary a massive bill. Maybe I will find out soon, but I wonder why he lent her all that money when he knows she cannot pay him back. I suppose he expects her husband will be forced to pay, but then Lheruex threatens her with showing him a receipt for something she sold behind his back. There was a time in England when a husband was legally responsible for any debts his wife ran up, but I don't know if it was the same in France in the mid C19th. If Charles Bovary is legally responsible for his wife's debts, then why didn't Lheureux send the court order to him?

Madame Bovary

I was reading an article about this book recently and found this. "It has been pointed out by some critics that Flaubert's book shows an exaggerated cynicism and an unwarranted degree of hatred for the bourgeoisie."........."Should she not have met with at least one or two people who understood her?" Do you agree with this criticism?

Best Translation?

I think every forum of every major work from every author needs one of these threads... I think the title speaks for itself; any reviews on any translation is appreciated.

Madame Bovary, The Disillusioned Love

The novel Madame Bovary was an amazing novel no getting around that but one idea that presented itself that somewhat troubled me was, the vague notion of true love being inaccessible. Through out the entire story we see Emma's constant longing for that pristine conception of love but her hopes always seem to completely back fire. Now I will admit that Emma Bovary was no beacon of morality and that her view on life wasn't the greatest but that doesn't imply that the message about love isn't there. In my opinion in the whole novel every character worked in there own self interest and could care less about any other person. Some would probably argue that Charles Bovary was a good person but if you examine his character you can notice that he never has a will of his own throughout the whole book he is only doing what people tell him to do, ultimately not knowing anything about himself or never having a real personality. The realization for me was that the book implies there is no such thing as true love between people because the only thing that someone loves is themselves. It is a rough concept to agree with but it does make some sense, even if it is really subtle love is very selfish. You might love someone and not think twice about it, but deep inside you enjoy the fact that the person you love loves you back, treats you well, provides you with comforts or is simply spends time with you. Regardless of what it is the reason most people love is because you are getting something out of it. Which is what Gustave Flaubert demonstrates to us with each character looking to fulfill one of their needs when it comes to how they love. However the dilemma of this concept is that is there such thing as true love?

Madame Bovary and Jane Austen

I am doing the IB program, and I'm currently working on my English Extended Essay. My supervisor suggest that I do something on Madame Bovary.... I'm thinking maybe even Madame Bovary/Jane Austen(Pride and Prejudice?)? (because I absolutely love Austen) I haven't read Madame Bovary yet though so I was wondering if anyone could give me a few suggestions as to how the two novels connect?? Or even just ideas about what to focus on when I read the novel? I was thinking about looking at dance in both novels... but I'm told there is only one scene in Madame Bovary... however, I have also been told that it's very significant?? so would just one scene suffice?

Madame Bovary took me by surprise!

Wow, it took a little while to get started, but now about 60 pgs into it, the book is starting to shine. At first it seemed as though Flaubert was making up for a mediocre story with great use of language, but now I'm starting to see this is like one giant poem, with the words chosen just as carefully. Its more exciting reading the sentence structure and seeing how creative he can get than the story itself for the most part, but now I see he is not using the story as a mere excuse to show his amazing writing ability, but as a medium that works well with his writing style. Anybody else share my feelings or see it in a different light? I know some people couldn't stand Madame Bovary. I'm glad I waited until 22 years of age before undertaking it, as perhaps its my limited reading experience in the classics is why I must have a dictionary nearby as I read :lol:.

looking for the right word...

Man I'm really raking my brain on this one, this lack of sleep is killing me :sick:. Anyway I'm writing a paper on Flaubert's Madame Bovary, and I'm looking for the right way to describe Emma Bovary. Specifically, I'm looking for a literary allusion. Madame Bovary is a character who has an insatiable desire for the romantic, which, without trying to spoil the novel for anyone, ruins her. I'm looking for another famous character in literature I can allude to, who's want for something destroys them. To be even more specific I'm trying to fill this blank "... finds only passing emotions and no true, sustainable happiness in a _______ dream world." It's still an early rough draft and by the end I'll probably change it completely, but for now trying to explain Emma in that sentence is really bugging me. Any help?

Madame Bovary

I was recently given the list of novels we could choose to write our senior research paper on in my English Literature class. Of the four choices, I went with Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. Everyone else was going with 1984, but since I've already read Orwell's novel, I wanted to do something different. Besides, that's some serious competition if everyone is choosing the same book. I'd rather pick something different that will hopefully be a breath of fresh air for my teacher. I think it's pretty funny that on the list of books to write about in the final, biggest, most important paper we'll ever receive in my English Literature class, the teacher listed a book written by a Frenchman. I hope it was a smart decision to go with Madame Bovary, and I was just wondering if anybody here on litnet has read the book before, and what do you think of it? I'm looking forward to pick it up tomorrow and start reading.

Madame Bovary

It seems a little odd that one of the most influential novels in history is nowhere represented here, or that the posters on this forum don't seem to like it. Funny how present tastes are so dominant.

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