Emma, a passionate dreamer raised in the French countryside, is ready for her life to take off when she marries the decent, dull Dr. Charles Bovary. Marriage, however, fails to live up to her expectations, which are fueled by sentimental novels, and she turns disastrously to love affairs. The story of Emma’s adultery scandalized France when Madame Bovary was first published. Today, the heartbreaking story of Emma’s financial ruin remains just as compelling.
In Madame Bovary, his story of a shallow, deluded, unfaithful, but consistently compelling woman living in the provinces of nineteenth-century France, Gustave Flaubert invented not only the modern novel but also a modern attitude toward human character and human experience that remains with us to this day.
One of the rare works of art that it would be fair to call perfect, Madame Bovary has had an incalculable influence on the literary culture that followed it. This translation, by Francis Steegmuller, is acknowledged by common consensus as the definitive English rendition of Flaubert’s text.
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
About the Author
Known for his scrupulous devotion to his art and perfectionist style, French writer Gustave Flaubert is counted among the greatest Western novelists, and influenced such writers as Franz Kafka and J. M. Coetzee. Flaubert is best known for Madame Bovary, for which he was prosecuted (and acquitted) for offending public morals. His other works of note include Memoirs of a Madman, November, Salammb?, Sentimental Education, and The Temptation of Saint Anthony. His work has been widely adapted for the stage and screen. Flaubert died in 1880.
Francis Steegmuller is the author of more than twenty books and a recipient of numerous awards and honors. His translation of Madame Bovary is an acknowledged classic. In 1982 the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters awarded him its Gold Medal for Biography.
Victor Brombert is the Henry Putnam University Professor Emeritus of Romance and Comparative Literatures at Princeton University. He is the author of many books, including "In Praise of Antiheroes: Figures and Themes in Modern European Literature, 1830-l980", also published by the University of Chicago Press, and the wartime memoir "Trains of Thought".
“[Madame Bovary is] a surprisingly romantic and deeply moving text, as well as a work of pioneering modernity. . . Flaubert’s anti-heroic heroine in fact acquires a haunting nobility through her relentless quest for the absolute of experience.” –from the Introduction by Victor Brombert