Madame Bovary

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Madame Bovary

Jan. 16, 2008, 7:55am

Someone please explain to me the appeal of this book.
To me, Emma is a spoiled brat who cheats on her husband, spends all his money and then kills herself.

Jan. 16, 2008, 8:11am

Agreed. Couldn't find one redeeming thing about her and didn't enjoy the style of the was fishing all the time for sympathy and trying far too hard to make me like an unlikeable person. It just made me exasperated.

Jan. 16, 2008, 8:14am

I don't think Flaubert actually wanted readers to 'like' Madame Bovary; more to portray her life as warning to others of the dangers of romanticism.

Jan. 16, 2008, 8:48am

Maybe I'm just morbid, but I kinda liked watching/reading M. Bovary crash and burn. I think a big clue to the fact that Flaubert didn't want her to be 'rooted for' is in her name - she's a 'cow' plodding through life ignorant of the way things really work, lost in her romantic delusions. Plus, Flaubert has such a great style - I think it's beautifully written.

Jan. 16, 2008, 9:35am

Maybe I was expecting something else. A love story or a character I could root for.

Jan. 16, 2008, 11:43am

There is a great book called Madame Bovary's Ovaries that takes an evolutionary (not social) perspective on her lifestyle.

Personally, I think it was written as a response to Une Vie By Maupassant where his female protagonist is too afraid to do much of anything besides stay married to that oafish wife beater.

And I agree with scaifea, I think it's great prose.

Feb. 26, 2008, 11:48am

I agree that it's beautifully written, but it's one that I'll never go back to. Depending on the character, I either found them unbelievable or entirely unlikable, and for me, there just wasn't enough in the book to redeem it beyond those characteristics--at least not enough for me to have any desire to revisit it.

Feb. 26, 2008, 12:02pm

Bovary - the bovine reference is to Charles. Emma, if she is a cow - bolts from the pasture, breaks a leg on the stile and has to be put out of her misery.

Flaubert is a craftsman - not one word too many, each carefully chosen. His description of provincial life and the attempts to transcend or escape it through - sex, of all things, is both sympathetic and contemptuous.

Sly humor, candid description - more of a dissection than a morality tale, in my opinion.

Jun. 30, 2021, 12:34am

This is a masterpiece. But if you don’t get it try to watch Gemma Bovary. It’s a movie take-off. Hysterical

Jun. 30, 2021, 4:06am

>9 kjuliff: I might just do that. I loved the book. I see the main character is played by the same person who played Tamara Drew. I enjoyed Tamara Drew the first time I watched it. I watched it subsequently and did not laugh as much.

Thank you for the tip.

By the way, I picked up another Flaubert, Sentimental Education, which appears to be telling the story of Madame Bovery from the viewpoint of the young officer she kept on a string. I have not read it yet.

Bearbeitet: Jun. 30, 2021, 4:35am

>6 prophetandmistress: I think it was written as a response to Une Vie By Maupassant...

I can understand your thinking but Une Vie was first published in 1883 when Madame Bovary was first published in 1856. Perhaps Maupassant's work was in response to Madame Bovary. By the way, Flaubert was Maupassant's mentor. Apparently Flaubert was a good friend of Maupassant's mother and she asked him to look after her son. Flaubert had quite the influence on Maupassant.

The piece of information about Maupassant's mother being a friend of Flaubert and asking him to look after the young Guy is contained in the introduction to Selected Stories by Guy de Maupassant, translated by J. Lewis May. The introduction was written by Holbrook Jackson. Jackson went to great lengths to stress that there was no romantic connection between Madame Maupassant and Monsieur Flaubert and that insinuations that Flaubert was Maupassant's natural father are totally false.