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'Oh why dear God did I marry him?'Emma Bovary is beautiful and bored trapped in her marriage to a mediocre doctor and stifled by the banality of provincial life An ardent devourer 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 when real life continues to fail to live up to her romantic expectations the conseuences 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'This modern translation by Flaubert's biographer Geoffrey Wall retains all the delicacy and precision of the French original The edition also contains a preface by the novelist Michèle Roberts


10 thoughts on “Madame Bovary

  1. says:

    This is one of the books that has had a profound effect on my life The moral? Be happy with what you have and where you are Mme Bovary fritters away her entire life with thoughts of If only X would happen THEN I could be truly happy and yet she never is She gets everything she thinks she wants only to find out she's still not contentI read this while I was engaged and at the time thought Well I'll be happier when I'm married but once I am then life will be fabulous After a few years I found myself playing the same role as Mme Bovary Once I can get pregnant and have kids then I'll be happy; Once I'm not pregnant and sick any THEN I can be happy; Once we get out of this apartment and into our house then I will surely be happy; Once the baby starts sleeping through the night I can definitely be happy; Once the baby is out of diapersetc etc ad nauseumliterallyI want to be content with my circumstances whatever they may be and Mme Bovary is a reminder of what happens to those who are unable to find contentment in the journey and are continually seeking yet another unsatisfying destination


  2. says:

    Oy the tedium the drudgery of trying to read this book I tried to get into this story Really I did It's a classic right? And everyone else likes it I kept making myself continue hoping I could get into the story and figure out what's supposed to be so good about itI won't waste any of my precious reading time on this It's about a self absorbed young wife who longs for anyone else's life except her own When she's in the city she dreams of the farm When she's in the country she dreams of the city When she's at a social gathering she imagines that everyone else's life is so much exciting than her own Blah blah blah Too many wordy descriptions of what people were wearing what the buildings looked like etc If you're going to take a long time to tell a story it had better be a good story This one is NOT


  3. says:

    ”Before her marriage she had believed that what she was experiencing was love; but since the happiness that should have resulted from that love had not come she thought she must have been mistaken And Emma tried to find out just what was meant in life by the words bliss passion and intoxication which had seemed so beautiful to her in books” Mia Wasikowska plays Madame Bovary in the 2015 movieBefore she is Madame Bovary Emma is keeping house for her father on a remote farm I wonder what would have happened to her if Doctor Charles Bovary had not been summoned to set her father’s broken leg? It is inconceivable to think of her married to a farmer or a tradesman or being swept away by a travelling peddler She is beautiful enough to be a duchess or a maruise a pretty bobble for the dance floor or an elegant adornment for the dinner table and certainly the perfect fine drapery for a night at the theatre Charles just expects her to be a wife A woman to manage his household A woman to uplift him and give him confidence to keep trying to better himself He is successful in a dull and conservative way and whenever he tries to raise himself up further perhaps in an attempt to win the respect of his pretty wife he is met with utter failure There is nothing romantic about him He is steady and completely devoted to her Whenever he tries to express grand passions somehow these attempts lack the ability to ignite the flames of desire or evoke the effervescent emotions that her novels tell her are the indications of true love Her frustrations once contained in a heavy ball beneath her heart begin to unravel like many hissing snakes and her docile nature becomes viperous ”She no longer hid her scorn for anything or anyone and she would sometimes express singular opinions condemning what was generally approved and commending perverse or immoral things which made her husband stare at her wide eyed” Other men desire her even Charles’s father who is a retired army officer and a man of the world who will take any opportunity to pull her to him in a deserted hallway or tug her into a dark alcove for a reasonably platonic cuddle Men can sense her dissatisfaction behind the cute dimple of her smile and the twinkling stars in her eyes She is ripe for the plucking Being a man well experienced with the betraying beguilement of beauty I would like to think that I would be impervious to her charms I would only have to clutch the slenderness of my wallet to realize that a woman of her insatiable need for material things would only lead me to disaster and ruin Of course there is this ”And she was ravishing to look at a tear trembling in her eye like water from a rainstorm in the blue chalice of a flower” Most men will meet many beautiful women in their lifetimes but of course the crux of the matter with a woman like Madame Bovary is knowing that with a little effort she can be yoursat least for a time Two men are led into catastrophic affairs with Emma These indiscretions prove even disastrous for her ”There are souls who endure endless torment? They are driven now to dream not to take action to experience the purest passions then the most extreme joys and so they hurl themselves into every sort of fantasy every sort of folly” Recklessness can prove too exhilarating even intoxicating but rarely does it lead to long term happiness The other problem that Madame Bovary has is a lack of funds Her husband makes a good living but he can not even begin to keep up with her need to possess fine things or to conduct a lifestyle better suited to an aristocratic pocketbook This is a theme of particular interest to Gustave Flaubert In fact he wrote a whole book called Dictionary of Accepted Ideas condemning the very worst detrimental aspects of having too much money and not enough curiosity ”What he despised really was a certain type of bourgeois attitude It included traits such as intellectual and spiritual superficiality raw ambition shallow culture a love of material things greed and above all a mindless parroting of sentiments and beliefs” An immoral grubbing moneylender sinks his talons into Emma’s soft pale skin like a blood sucking leech He takes advantage of her naivete concerning the truth worth of hard currency and plays upon her covetous nature for decadent things She is so close with an extended line of credit to living a life of frivolous fun buoyed by a series of passionate heart fluttering affairs that she can almost see it almost taste it and almost believe she can obtain the life she has only read about As Vladimir Nabokov says ”The ironic and the pathetic are beautifully intertwined” Emma’s mother in law believes the books she has been reading are the reason for the faults in her daughter in law’s character ”Wouldn’t one have the right to alert the police if despite this the bookseller persisted in his business as purveyor of poison?” I have to admit I laughed out loud As much as booksellers would like to claim to have diabolical control over readers we have to defer to the writers In fact Flaubert had to defend himself in court for charges of immorality regarding the publication of Madame Bovary Nothing drives book sales like a court of law trying to deem a book too scandalous for people to be trusted to read it To me this book encourages morality and fiscal responsibility I don’t see how given the tragic nature of the book someone would read this book and want to emulate Madame Bovary However I do understand the feeling that some women have of being trapped in a cage even if it is a gilded one The responsibilities of life can make one feel the itch to be reckless unfettered and pine for romantic assignations that will awaken youthful desires Maybe this book is of a how to manual on how not to conduct oneself with torrid affairs and fiscal carelessness This novel is considered the first example of realistic fiction This translation is 311 pages long Flaubert had over 4500 pages of rough drafts that this relatively slender volume emerged from The lyrical nature of the writing attests to the stringent diligence that Flaubert insisted upon to craft each page of this novel I couldn’t help of course but think of Anna Karenina as I read this book I read and reviewed Tolstoy’s masterpiece earlier this year It is easy to condemn both of these women but who among us has not had destructive desires which we have either indulged in or at least coveted? Both women are fully drawn characters completely exposed to our critical judging eye and at the end of the day deserving of our pity Either woman would have made a wonderful heroine for a Shakespearean drama I can hear the gasps from a 17th century audience If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at


  4. says:

    886 Madame Bovary Gustave FlaubertMadame Bovary is the debut novel of French writer Gustave Flaubert published in 1856 The story focuses on a doctor's wife Emma Bovary who has adulterous affairs and lives beyond her means in order to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life One day Charles visits a local farm to set the owner's broken leg and meets his patient's daughter Emma Rouault Emma is a beautiful daintily dressed young woman who has received a good education in a convent She has a powerful yearning for luxury and romance inspired by reading popular novels Charles is immediately attracted to her and visits his patient far often than necessary until Heloise's jealousy puts a stop to the visits When Heloise unexpectedly dies Charles waits a decent interval before courting Emma in earnest Her father gives his consent and Emma and Charles marry The novel's focus shifts to Emma Charles means well but is plodding and clumsy After he and Emma attend an elegant ball given by the Maruis d'Andervilliers Emma finds her married life dull and becomes listless Charles decides his wife needs a change of scenery and moves his practice to the larger market town of Yonville traditionally identified with the town of Ry There Emma gives birth to a daughter Berthe but motherhood proves a disappointment to Emma She becomes infatuated with an intelligent young man she meets in Yonville a young law student Léon Dupuis who shares her appreciation for literature and music and returns her esteem Concerned with maintaining her self image as a devoted wife and mother Emma does not acknowledge her passion for Léon and conceals her contempt for Charles drawing comfort from the thought of her virtue Léon despairs of gaining Emma's affection and departs to study in Paris مادام بوواری بواری گوستاو فلوبر مجید ، نشر مرکز ادبیات فرانسه؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش ماه آوریل سال 1982میلادیعنوان مادام بواری؛ نویسنده گوستاو فلوبر؛ مترجم رضا عقیلی، محمد قاضی؛ تهران، انتشارات کیهان، 1341 ؛ در 386ص؛ چاپ دوم 1357؛ چاپ دیگر سوم تهران، نیل، 1362؛ در سی و هشت و 366ص؛ چاپ پنجم 1369؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، مجید، 1380؛ در 648ص؛ شابک 9644530055؛ چاپ دوم 1381؛ چاپ چهارم 1386؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان فرانسوی سده 19ممترجم مشفق همدانی؛ تهران، چاپ چهارم امیرکبیر، 1395؛ در 392ص؛ شابک 9789640016985؛ مترجم سوسن اردکانی؛ تهران، نگارستان کتاب، 1388؛ در 726ص؛ شابک 9786005541533؛ مترجم مینا آذری؛ مشهد، مرندیز، 1394؛ در 444ص؛ شابک 9786001062957؛ مترجم سمیه موحدی فرد؛ قم، نظاره، 1395؛ در 432ص؛ شابک 97860083940389؛ مترجم سارا راکی؛ قزوین، آزرمیدخت، 1396؛ در 440ص؛ شابک 9786007241691؛ نقل قولی از «فلوبر» هست که من خود «اما بواری» هستم پایان نقلنخستین اثر «گوستاو فلوبر» است؛ «فلوبر» پس از نگارش اثری با عنوان «وسوسه سن آنتوان»، از دوستان منتقد خود «ماکسیم دوکان»، و «لویی بونه»، دعوت میکند تا داستان را، برای آنها بخواند، ولی آن دو، داستان را اثر بدی برمیشمارند، و به او پیشنهاد میکنند، که داستان دیگری درباره ی «دلونه»، از آشنایان آنها، بنویسد؛ بر این اساس، «فلوبر» آغاز به نگارش داستان «مادام بوواری» میکنند، ایشان کوشش کردند تا داستان را براساس شخصیت‌های واقعی بنویسند، و با سود بردن از مشاهدات، و ذهن خویش، رخدادها را، در طول داستان، گسترش میدهند؛ شخصیت‌های داستاناما بوواری «اِما» شخصیت اول داستان بوده و نام داستان از نام او گرفته شده ‌است؛ او دختری شهرستانی است که انتظارات سیری ناپذیری از دنیای خود دارد، و مشتاق زیبایی، ثروت، عشق و جامعه‌ ای سطح بالاست؛ بخش عظیمی از داستان حول اختلافات میان ایده ‌آل‌های خیالبافانه و جاه طلبانه «اِما» و واقعیت‌های زندگی روستایی او می‌چرخد، به ویژه که این قضایا او را به سوی دو عشق زناکارانه سوق داده و بدهی‌های قابل توجهی برایش به همراه می‌آورند، که سرانجام باعث می‌شود «اِما» اقدام به خودکشی بکند؛شارل بوواری «شارل بوواری»، همسر «اِما»، مردی بسیار ساده و معمولی بوده، و با توقعات خیالبافانه همسرش، فاصله بسیاری دارد؛ او پزشک روستای «یونویل» است، ولی در این زمینه، توانایی ویژه ای از خود نشان نداده، و در واقع صلاحیت لازم، برای پزشک بودن را ندارد؛ با وجود اینکه همه ی اهالی روستا از شهوترانی‌های «اِما» باخبر هستند، «شارل» چیزی از این موضوع نمی‌داند، و کنترلی روی همسرش ندارد، زیرا در واقع همیشه درگیر سر و سامان دادن به خرابکاری‌های خودش است؛ او همسرش را می‌پرستد، و او را زنی بی عیب و نقص می‌داندرودولف بولانگه «رودولف بولانگه» روستایی ثروتمندی است، که «اما» را، هم به زنجیره ی بالبلند معشوقه‌ های خویش افزوده است؛ او به «اما» علاقه ای در خود نمی‌بیند؛ در حالیکه «اما» بیشتر و بیشتر وابسته ی او می‌شود، احساس دلزدگی، و نگرانی از بی احتیاطی‌های «اما»، در «رودولف» افزونتر می‌شود؛ پس از اینکه آن دو تصمیم به فرار با یکدیگر می‌گیرند، «رودولف» درمی‌یابد که توانایی آن کار در او نیست، به ویژه به این خاطر که «اما»، به تازگی صاحب دختری، به نام «برت» شده ‌است؛ به همین دلیل «رودولف»، در روز تعیین شده برای فرار، به تنهایی از روستا می‌گریزد، و «اما» را دچار شکست روحی شدید می‌کندلئون دوپوا «لئون دوپوا» منشی جوانی، از اهالی «یونویل» است؛ او پس از «رودولف بولانگه» دومین فردی است که با «اما بوواری» رابطه ای عاشقانه برقرار می‌کندآقای اومه «اومه» داروساز روستا است؛ او عقاید ضد دینی و آتئیستی داردآقای لورو «لورو» تاجری حقه باز است، که پی در پی «اما» را، به خرید جنس‌های خویش وامیدارد؛ و از او می‌خواهد که پول آن‌ها را بعداً بپردازد؛ «لورو» با سودهای کلانی، که روی وام‌های «اما» می‌کشد، مبلغ بدهی‌های او را بسیار بالا می‌برد، و همین موضوع نقش مهمی در تصمیم «اما» به خودکشی داردچکیده ئاستان داستان «مادام بواری» با فرستادن پسری توسط مادرش، برای تحصیل درس پزشکی آغاز می‌شود؛ فرایند این داستان با پزشک شدن این پسر، «شارل بوواری» پی گرفته می‌شود؛ این جوان کم بضاعت، که پزشک تازه‌ کاری نیز به شمار می‌رود، طی ماجراهای ویژه ای با دختر ثروتمندی، برای بار دوم ازدواج می‌کند؛ شهرستانی بودن، و نداشتن اعتماد به نفس شارل، زندگی را برای او دستخوش تغییرات فراوان و پر هزینه‌ ای می‌کندمادام بواری زیبا، جلوه ‌ی عشق را در مردان بسیاری می‌بیند؛ اما درست در زمانیکه باید به عشق تکیه کند، آن‌ها را توخالی، و پوچ می‌یابد؛ هر کدام از آن مردان، به نوبه ‌ی خود ضربه ی مهلکی، به روح این زن جوان، وارد می‌کنند، و جالب اینکه، «شارل بواری» از داستانها خبر ندارد؛ آگاه شدن «شارل بواری» از رویدادها زمانی ممکن می‌شود که شالوده ی خانواده «بواری» از هم گسسته استاصلی‌ترین محوریت اصلی داستان، تأکید بر مسائل غیر معمول در ازدواج و مخالفت با فضای سنتی فرانسه آن دوران، می‌باشد؛ در واقع داستان با یک حادثه ی پیش پا افتاده آغاز می‌گردد، و در ادامه زنی را به نمایش می‌گذارد، که برای آزادی، و برآوردن خواسته‌های گوناگون خود به هر سوی روی می‌آوردزمان اوج داستان، در شرایطی پدیدار می‌شود، که شخصیت اصلی داستان، برای دست یافتن به خواسته‌های خود، به هر کاری، تن می‌دهد؛ به همین دلیل احساس سرخوردگی، و گاه رضایتمندی، در سرتاسر داستان، به جذابیت آن می‌افزاید، در چکیده ی «مادام بواری»، عشق و نفرت را کنار هم، و در فاصله ‌ای بسیار کم، می‌توان مشاهده نمود؛ باید توجه داشت، که عامل بروز همگی رویدادهای این داستان، یک رخداد عجیب و خارق العاده نبوده؛ بلکه تنها نارضایتی یک زن جوان، و خواسته‌های کمال‌گرایانه ی او توانسته او را به ورطه بکشاندتاریخ بهنگام رسانی 21061399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا شربیانی


  5. says:

    Three and a half stars uprated to 5 stars because I can't get it out of my head 9 April 2012Not sure what to make of it The self obsessed Emma Bovary was obviously to me a side of Flaubert himself She feels that there is so much but her limited life fences her in and instead of drawing into herself seeing what she has to offer how to make the best of herself she wants happiness to come to her just as it does in the romance novels she and Flaubert readI understood that spiritual flailing around turning this way and that using looks to make up for depth using sex to pass for love and enjoying fooling those she lived with into believing what they saw was what they got We've all been a bit shallow at times but to have made a whole career a whole life of it no But then Emma departs from the author and becomes entirely his creation She doesn't think forward thinks her beauty will solve all Thinks that those who say they love her don't mean they love having an affair having sex with her but that they love her deeply and for all time Not that she is capable of loving that way herself either so maybe she really didn't know what it meant Her idea of love is the bodice ripper secret affair always exciting happily ever after variety except her affairs die when the men are satiated with this demanding woman She can't even conceive of real life nurturing of her child or being supportive that's for fools like her husband She always thinks someone will be there to pamper her and indulge her and that there will never be any conseuences that the piper will not call round to be paid for his pretty tune Such a sad story so beautifully written and it deserves a far better review than these few lines but I felt like writing down my first reaction on finishing the book I don't want the emotions to wear off and have to analyse it critically it wasn't that sort of experience for me


  6. says:

    My 3rd reading of this masterpiece written with irony and finesse The eternal story of Emma Bovary and her broken dreams is heartbreaking every timeThe narration is actually uite modern in that the perspective changes uite often from a mysterious first person in the beginning a schoolmate of Charles Bovary? to the interior monologues of Charles Emma Léon and Rodolphe The descriptions of the various locations in the book are always surprising with tiny references to the principle characters It may surprise you to know that this book which is essentially a tragedy also is full of humor and sarcasm For example when Léon and Emma have a rendez vous in the Cathedral of Rouen the Swiss guard who tries to give them a tour of the church while Léon is freaking out and wants to get out of there while Emma pretends to be interested because she is not uite sold on the seduction is pure genius In a similar if romantic vein the whispered conversation of Rodolphe and Emma in the lodge as the vice Prefect gives the world's most boring speech his boss couldn't be bothered to come was extraordinary Every word in Flaubert is measured and perfectly weighted to each situation the original French is absolutely splendid whether he is describing the pretentious conversation of M Homais or the various season and their impact on the moods of the characters and tone of the novel The only criticism that I can bring is that the denouement is a bit long that being said there is another fantastic ironic payoff in the last sentenceThis book from 1856 is of course a product of the Romantic period in culture but it surpasses most of its contemporaries by its precise psychology both of men and women its irony its subtle criticism of the petit bourgeois and French society and the meticulous observation of detail Even 161 years later it remains a monument of literature and a summit of free expression Flaubert was pursued in court and beat the censors


  7. says:

    Before marriage she thought herself in love; but the happiness that should have followed this love not having come she must she thought have been mistaken And Emma tried to find out what one meant exactly in life by the words felicity passion rapture that had seemed to her so beautiful in books You might be surprised to learn that I was mesmerized by Emma’s life story I was mesmerized and suffered along with her as she capsized further and further into the ambushes life presented her Yes I felt like I was in a trance and could not escape Oh Emma dear Emma why do people hate you so? Why did you make them feel that way? I am sorry for being so blunt You and your seemingly shallow priorities gave your critics plenty of ammunition You did the unthinkable What excuse did you have for such a selfish impulsive and futile behavior? Did you by any chance hear Virginia Woolf say 'You cannot find peace by avoiding life'? What did you have to dive head first before she even professed this truth? But you might have overdid it don’t you agree with me? The horror of being a woman with no choices As I read on I kept coming back to one thought the most terrifying thing I can think of is getting caught in Emma Bovary’s life She was not alone in her infidelity did you know that? Not in her time not today What about the reason for marriage? She married to escape I know And she hoped for a better life I don’t believe she loved Charles not even in the beginning Maybe she romanced him what woman would not do it in her place? sitting on the grass that she dug up with little prods of her sunshade Emma repeated to herself Good heavens Why did I marry?She asked herself if by some other chance combination it would have not been possible to meet another man; and she tried to imagine what would have been these unrealised events this different life this unknown husband All surely could not be like this one He might have been handsome witty distinguished attractive such as no doubt her old companions of the convent had married But she—her life was cold as a garret whose dormer window looks on the north and ennui the silent spider was weaving its web in the darkness in every corner of her heart And I remembered Jane Austen who opened the door for woman to search for happiness in their marriage Why did women marry in those times? Women married only to increase their social standing or for money but with Austen they start to have a chance at happiness Flaubert does something similar with Madame Bovary I believe He accuses the status uo the position of women in a circumvented way by showing us Emma’s deep unhappiness and how her actions condemned her and society Poor Emma I pitied her for each time she fixed her gaze on some scheme of happiness and how her eyes led her astray Then the lusts of the flesh the longing for money and the melancholy of passion all blended themselves into one suffering and instead of turning her thoughts from it she clave to it the urging herself to pain and seeking everywhere occasion for it She was irritated by an ill served dish or by a half open door; bewailed the velvets she had not the happiness she had missed her too exalted dreams her narrow home The only pastime she could enjoy without guilt was reading From that she built fantasies it is true But did she not have the right at least of her own fantasies? It seems not as we overhear Charles and her mother in law talking Do you know what your wife wants? replied Madame Bovary senior She wants to be forced to occupy herself with some manual work If she were obliged like so many others to earn a living she wouldn't have these vapours that come to her from a lot of ideas she stuffs into her head and from idleness in which she livesYet she is always busy said CharlesAh always busy at what? Reading novels bad books works against religion and in which they mock at priests in speeches taken from Voltaire But all that leads you far astray my poor child Anyone who has no religion always ends up turning badlySo it was decided to stop Emma reading novels As if she had the choice of earning a living being a female What hypocrisy The only choice they see to avoid her turning badly is to forbid her reading her novels One of the few pleasures she was allowedIn a time that judged everyone by their wealth; that breathed a suffocating morality deceptively reinforced mainly by women themselves society would be horrified by women’s pursuit of anything than their obligations On top of all that isn’t it understandable that Emma would pray for a son when she got pregnant? She hoped for a son; he would be strong and dark; she would call him George; and this idea of having a male child was like an expected revenge for all her impotence in the past A man at least is free; he may travel over passions and over countries overcome obstacles taste of the most far away pleasures But a woman is always hampered She was so right men at least were much free than women I not only comprehend her reasons but commiserate with her So why look at a baby girl she knew had been born with the wrong gender It all went against her most heartfelt dreams Emma might have towards the end had a touch of evil brought by desperation But who wouldn't? Ambushes and pitfalls Oh she tried to renounce all her dreams through moments of fervent religious devotion At mass on Sundays when she looked up she saw the gentle face of the Virgin amid the blue smoke of the rising incense Then she was moved Intrigue however had already tempted her and kept coming her way Why would she be invited and attend a ball in a house so out of her reality? Was it not a trap? After that you could not help yourself but wish you had access to that fairy like life What an ambush when she was attempting to behave Her journey to Vaubyessard had made a hole in her life like one of those great crevices that a storm will sometimes make in one night in mountains Still she was resigned She devoutly put away her beautiful dress down to the satin shoes whose soles were yellowed with the slippery wax of the dancing floor Her heart was like these In its friction against wealth something had come over it that could not be effaced Such a fortuitous event served only to stress the undesirability of her life After the ennui of this disappointment her heart once remained empty and then the same series of days recommenced So now they would thus follow one another always the same immovable and bringing nothing Other lives however flat had at least the chance of some event One adventure sometimes brought with it infinite conseuences and the scene changed But nothing happened to her; God had willed it so The future was a dark corridor with its door at the end shut fast Another bait would present herself in the person of Monsieur Lheureux He began cajoling Emma uite innocently for the first time when offering her to buy some scarves 'I wanted to tell you he went on good naturedly 'that it isn’t the money I should trouble about Why I could give you some if need be' Thus another temptation felt into her lap like a dream come through The endless line of irresponsible credit was not than an option offered her that she could not have imagine existed if were not for this tricksterLater we witness how she tries to reform to be tolerant and wishing to endure her life as it was taking responsibility for her daughter and taking interest in the housework Just then up comes Monsieur Rodolphe Boulanger who after first meeting Madame Bovary 'she is very pretty' he said to himself 'she is very pretty this doctor’s wife' And he goes on 'I think he is very stupid She is tired of him no doubt She is gaping after love like a carp after water on a kitchen table Yes but how to get rid of her afterwards?' He decides so easily to seduce her Oh yes she went along with it and of her free will But it was too much temptation for someone so thirsty I imagined that if it was not Rodolphe it would be another And later on came Leon After the affair with Rodolphe begins Emma marvels at how much she had lacked living before I have a lover a lover delighting at the idea as if a second puberty had come to her So at last she was to know those joys of love that fever of happiness of which she had despaired She was entering upon marvels where all would be passion ecstasy delirium An azure infinity encompassed her the heights of sentiment sparkled under her thought and ordinary existence appeared only afar off down below in the shade through the interspaces of these heights Thus Flaubert puts all these temptations in her way It is as if Emma when walking down a meadow starts to stumble on beautiful ripe apples that lie on the ground and cannot resist but pick some and take a few bites Could she have resisted them all? But could Emma have escape her destiny? Could she have simply accepted life as it was offered to her? with all its constraints and no reward I believe all that she lived was utterly inevitable Could she have run away from her own behavior and avoided her ultimate destiny? Emma was on the same boat as Oedipus found himself in I felt after reading Oedipus Rex that there was not really anything that Oedipus could have done to get himself out of his destiny Could Emma have done it differently? It seemed to me that the Oedipus attempted to get out of it the deeper he was immersed in its inevitability It is simply that there was no way for him to avoid doing it all and facing his fate Was Emma’s destiny any less inevitable? I do not believe so There was no chorus to declare that to us but Flaubert himself serves the role even if it is not so explicit and you have to read between the lines It seemed to her that the ground of the oscillating suare went up the walls and that the floor dipped on end like a tossing boat She was right at the edge almost hanging surrounded by vast space The blue of the heavens suffused her the air was whirling in her hollow head; she had but to yield to let herself be taken; and the humming of the lathe never ceased like an angry voice calling her And so it all ends But as in the beginning in the end you beguiled me Emma I was with you from the start and you could not escape me even in death Seriously I tell all your critics your tragic story would not leave me alone It still doesn’t You had no choice like Oedipus could not escape killing his father or marrying his mother So why people do not stop condemning you when they pity him?You were clever and wanted to exercise your intellect Imagine the frustration of nothing to do? Perhaps your mother in law was right you were fated to end badly What a tragedy of never finding someone that could begin to understand you Flaubert with his impressive prose evokes her thoughts and feelings throughout the novel and I had no choice but be enticed by his heroine it seemed to her that Providence pursued her implacably she had never felt so much esteem for herself nor so much contempt for others She would have liked to strike all men to spit in their faces to crush them and she walked rapidly straight on pale uivering maddened searching the empty horizon with tear dimmed eyes and as it were rejoicing in the hate that was choking her Finally I think I was able to grasp the reasons that make Madame Bovary a classic a modern tragedy where a soul is doomed because she appreciates and battles against all that comes her way Despite her limitations in life and as a product of her time Emma has an unbridled passion and ends pursuing her fantasies That ends condemning her Nevertheless Emma Bovary is brave in her irresponsible choices because it brings her closer to the happiness she wants even if doing so she is able to attain only a glimpse of her dreams Even if for that she had to die And she died so that other women could strive for a compassionate fate


  8. says:

    Since I read uicksand by Nella Larsen this week Emma Bovary started haunting my mind yet again We are old friends Emma and II spent hours and hours over a dictionary at age seventeen in high school trying to read about her agonies in original French with only the Isabelle Huppert film as a guidance In fact I actually think I owe it to Emma Bovary that I finally made it over the threshold to understand written French That ultimately led me to university studies in French literature and a lifelong love for French writers In a way I could argue that Emma introduced me to Diderot and Voltaire I guessBut she did so much for me as well She awakened in me a sense that the world holds different options for women and men and that women's dreams are dangerous detrimental and slightly sentimental and ridiculous She made me socially politically angry for the first time I know there are thousands of erudite studies showing all the weaknesses of Emma Bovary but from the start I could not would not see her that way I was with her when she danced in the ballroom and I wished the party would never end I hated the conventional goodness of Charles and understood Emma's frustration with him better than his frustration with her After all she had ideas dreams longings and he had routine reputation and boredomI rejoiced that she dared to do what men have always always allowed themselves to do enjoy a sexual life of her own choice She knew she would pay a much higher price than any man ever would for that freedom I loved the fact that she embraced life in its passion and pain and I suffered through the horrifying pages of her brutal final agony with the feeling that I would not have wanted her to say no to one single piece of experience in exchange for a better end living according to her husband's standards would have been death over and over without endI am fully aware that this is not a moral reading or interpretation of the novel and I don't encourage or follow her choices in real life but I loved Emma Bovary's daring rebellion without limits when I was young and it has never actually changed Whenever I remember my encounter with Emma the first thought invariably is Go girl Do what you wantTo close the circle reading Larsen's uicksand made me think of Emma because the character Helga Crane not fully belonging anywhere and drifting from one place to the next never really lives her dreams fully She always pulls out runs away hides from too strong emotions and in the end she resigns herself to rural life with a preacher she hates and multiple pregnancies to bind her to the hopeless boredom and tedium Reading about Helga I found myself thinking again with fondness of Madame Bovary Go girl Do what you want


  9. says:

    Henry James once said Madame Bovary has a perfection that not only stamps it but that makes it stand almost alone; it holds itself with such a supreme unapproachable assurance as both excites and defies judgmentThat's right Defies judgment I don't know he looks kind of judgy to meUnfortunately I had to read a translation as my French is nowhere near good enough to read the original Though I am assured that the prose in the original French are amazing and inspiringI can certainly appreciate the characterization and story telling ability but I personally struggled with the story as I reconciled what Flaubert seemed to be saying about society women women who had affairs men and romanceNow I would like to take a moment to uote Manny's Review since he is the one who convinced me to read this book in the first placeFlaubert makes no obvious attempt to judge EmmaNo Flaubert doesn't break up his beautiful prose at any point with So whilst that is a very nice tree I would like to intrude and mention that Emma is like a total ho So now back to the treeI feel he doesn't do this because that would be superfluous In fact it seems to me that he doesn't stop judging through this entire book image error


  10. says:

    Emma is a rather silly very passionate too much so bored uneducated to the reality of the real world young woman who believes in the romantic novels she reads moonlight walks eerie forbidding castles dangerous flights into unknown and strange lands always trying to escape their frightening captors brave handsome men that are faithful to their beautiful virtuous women fighting the evil monstrous corrupt but attractive libertines and the hero rescuing them in the nick of timeEmma lives on a farm in mid nineteenth century France the widower a remote still gentle father Monsieur Rouault anxious to get rid of his useless daughter and though he enjoys the work is not very good at it farming but a considerably better businessman; being an only child she wants excitement Hating the monotonous country dreaming about the titillating city Paris and the fabulous people and things there Yet meeting and marrying the dull common hardworking good doctor Charles Bovary who fixed her father's broken leg he adores his pretty wife life has to be better elsewhere she thinks so agrees to the marriage proposal Moving to the small tedious village of Tostes Emma regrets soon her hasty marriage Even the birth of a daughter Berthe who she neglects not a loving mother the maid raises has no effect on her gloomy moods She craves romance her husband is not like the men in her books ordinary looking not fearless or intelligent words do not inspire coming out of his mouth he lacks the intense feelings she wants After moving to another uiet village Yonville Ry clueless Bovary thinks the change of scenery will lift his listless wife out of her funk The local wealthy landowner Rodolphe Boulanger sees the pretty Emma senses her unhappiness and seduces a veteran at this sort of thing he has had many mistresses in the past At first the secret uite perilous thrilling rendezvous behind the back of Emma's house clandestine notes reckless walks in the predawn mornings to his Chateau reminds Emma of her novels but everything becomes routine no better than married life Rodolphe gets annoyed unexcited he also doesn't feel like the beginning sends a letter breaking off the affair The emotional Emma becomes very ill her husband fears that she may die puzzled at the sudden sickness A slow recover ensues Emma still has the same husband starts another affair with a clerk shy Leon Dupuis younger than she grateful too not like the previous lover the erratic Madame Bovary is in control In the nearby town of Rouen in Normandy they meet every week until this also becomes uninteresting the spendthrift woman behind her trusting loving naive husband's back drives them to ruin through her unreasonable buying sprees Emma Bovary learns much too late that the only person who loves her is the unremarkable man she married What can I say love or hate this it remains a controversial classic the crowds flock to