Madame Bovary

By Gustave Flaubert


With Madame Bovary (1857) Flaubert established the realistic novel in France.

Yet he always refused to ally himself with any literary movement, devoting himself in splendid isolation to his art, with that intense concern for stylistic perfection which has made him a legendary figure among novelists.

The central character of Madame Bovary is the bored wife of a provincial doctor, whose desires and illusions are inevitably shattered when reality catches up with her. Flaubert vents his profound contempt for the bourgeois mentality, but betrays a certain sympathy for the human frailty of Emma Bovary. She remains one of the great creations of modern literature.

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