Book Cover of Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary

by Gustave Flaubert

The strands woven together in Gustave Flaubert's famous, path breaking 1856 novel Madame Bovary include a provincial town in Normandy, France, a shy young doctor with an indifferent career and a lovely young woman who lives in a fantasy world based on the innumerable romantic novels she reads. Of course there is also the story of a dull marriage punctuated by passionate, adulterous love affairs. First published in serial form in a Parisian magazine and deemed to be the “perfect” novel, Flaubert's debut was received by both readers and critics with acclaim and admiration. However, its bold theme, path breaking ideas of women's rights and the condemnation of middleclass morality led to its being legally attacked by the Church and the government. This was in spite of the fact that the magazine's editors had already done their own censoring of “offending passages.” Flaubert himself was shocked and the resulting very public trial in 1857 added to the book's notoriety. The charges were dismissed and the book was seen by the judges as promoting morality and strengthening of family values instead. However, it remained controversial and was banned time and again by various upholders of “morality” till as recently as 1954. Madame Bovary marks a watershed in the development of the novel form. Flaubert's revolutionary techniques like the use of “style indirect libre” where the environment itself responds to a person's emotions, his use of realism and objectivity were all radically new literary devices.

Book Details

Language

English

Original Language

French

Published In

1856

Author

Gustave Flaubert image

Gustave Flaubert was a French novelist. Highly influential, he has been considered the leading exponent of literary realism in his country. According to the literary theorist Kornelije Kvas, "in Flaub...

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