The most unsalacious adultery novel ever to scandalize vindictive bureaucrats.
( Collapse )Verdict: Madame Bovary
Set amid the stifling atmosphere of 19th-century bourgeois France, Madame Bovary is at once an unsparing depiction of a woman’s gradual corruption and a savagely ironic study of human shallowness and stupidity. Neither Emma, nor her lovers, nor Homais, the man of science, escapes the author’s searing castigation, and it is the book’s final profound irony that only Charles, Emma’s oxlike, eternally deceived husband, emerges with a measure of human grace through his stubborn and selfless love.
With its rare formal perfection, Madame Bovary represents, as Frank O’Connor has declared, “possibly the most beautifully written book ever composed; undoubtedly the most beautifully written novel…a book that invites superlatives…the most important novel of the century.”
is an early work of realism, and a tightly-constructed novel about how even a "good" marriage can be miserable. It's also a withering attack on middle class values. Very well-written, but so realistic it's practically desiccating. Unless you just love this kind of book (or can read it in the original French, as I understand Flaubert is an impressive stylist), it's not a classic I can really say pulses with drama and interest for a modern reader.
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