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On numerous occasions, I found myself wishing I could give both of them a good swift kick. Then again perhaps the point of the novel is to show us how banal life is when one cannot find anything meaningful beyond oneself. Instead of being tragic, I found the both of their deaths as pointless as their lives.

The fact that neither is any worse than the miserable people that surround them is the best thing left to say.. In that sense, the novel serves a useful purpose in that it reveals that a full life involves more than satisfying one's own appetites as Emma attempts to do and the folly of basing one's happiness on an unworthy object of adoration as he does. I recommend reading it as forerunner of so much of today's entertainment built on unsympathetic characters facing the consequences of their vapid choices.

The art of the novel lies in Flaubert's ability to convey that message without appearing to preach.


Over years after its initial publication, there's little I can say about Madame Bovary that hasn't been said a thousand times over--and a thousand times better. However, there are two factors you should consider before buying this book: its relevance to modern readers and the quality of the translation.

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As far as relevance goes, Madame Bovary is a solid winner. The plot is modern and most of the characters are relatable--not the cardboard cut-outs and talking heads that populate so many other works from the period.

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From Emma on down the line, each character has strong and weak points, saving graces and idiosyncrasies, and Flaubert feels free to poke fun at them all. FWIW, he's probably at his best when ridiculing the cure and the pharmacist.

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Emma's romantic yearnings will also resonate with today's readers. Her passion for a beautiful, luxe life full of exquisite experiences reminded me of bridezillas and groomzillas who want everything to be perfect on their wedding day--or of inveterate Instagrammers, always in search of that perfect, FOMO-inspiring selfie. Those tendencies are just as annoying today as they were in the s.

Madame Bovary. Moeurs de Province | GUSTAVE FLAUBERT | First edition

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Lord Byron, British Romantic poet and satirist whose poetry and personality captured the imagination…. Voltaire, one of the greatest of all French writers. Although only a few of his works are still read,…. View More. Article Media. The narrator disappears from the usual places where one would expect him to comment on the action. Historians have made much of the world depicted by the novel; cineastes regarded it as an invitation to film.

The release, a theatrical homage to his father, the painter Auguste Renoir, is a better-known if not more successful refashioning of the novel. What can the historian make of this film? Emma refers to her servant Henriette, a. Similar discrepancies between novel and film are easy to identify.

Madame Bovary

In the film Emma bears no child, though towards the end, as her life falls apart, she smiles regretfully at a mother nursing her infant. The opera scene in Rouen is replaced by a chamber concert. Charles is a less stolid, unthinking character than his counterpart in the novel. A silver medal! Twenty-five francs! Some of the greatest French painters came from Normandy — the light is extraordinary.

Every frame is carefully, deliberately composed as if it were a painting whose color, line, form, and depth, and are intended more for an exhibition than for a movie whose other elements — the plot, the characters, the dialogue, the soundtrack are generally of principal interest. If Emma is the chief protagonist in the film, it is in large measure her pictorial qualities — her clothes, her furnishings, her gestures, her face and body — that captivate the viewer.

Her intelligence and complexity just [come] to the surface, so you could just simply watch her reading the yellow pages and it would be interesting! I think she is fearless at embracing complicated, controversial, morally condemnable characters. Bored and offended by the limitations, pettiness, and banalities of bourgeois life, this Emma grabs what distinction she can in her possessions — on her body, in her home, with her lovers.