Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary

Provincial Ways

Book - 2010 | Penguin Classics deluxe edition
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Offers a new translation of Flaubert's classic tale, in which the title character turns to spending and a series of affairs to combat the boredom of married life and, heartbroken and crippled by debts, takes drastic action that results in tragedy.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, ©2010
Edition: Penguin Classics deluxe edition
ISBN: 9780143106494
Branch Call Number: FLAUBER
Characteristics: xxxi, 342 pages ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Davis, Lydia 1947-
Alternative Title: Madame Bovary


From Library Staff

The wife of a provincial doctor seeks to escape her boredom by indulging in romantic fantasies and adulterous affairs in nineteenth-century France.

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Mar 02, 2019

I love this book (the Lydia Davis translated version), not for it's boring plot or detailed descriptions of people, places, clothes and characters. Rather, I love this book for the highly original, beautiful metaphors and lyrical prose writing sprinkled through almost every page (the first 30 pages of the book do not have this style of writing, for some reason - perhaps because it is the set-up). I also love this book for the depth and breadth of psychological revelation. Your ability to read other people and predict their values, beliefs, attitudes, and likely outcomes in the real world is enhanced, enriched, invigorated by this book. Also, the improvement in your language skills and poetic mind will be noticeable by others, and yourself. If you are not past the age of 30, this book may not feel worthy of your time, but give it some patience, and remember that this book has been ranked as one of the top classic novels for a very long time - and for good reason. You might want to first start with reading many short-story classics, and read commentaries online about what the meaning is of their symbolism, motifs, themes, contrasts, and so on, and so forth - before you tackle longer classic novels. Madame Bovary is a book that should be read slowly, thoughtfully, meditatively. It should take you about a month to read - ten pages a day should do it.

JCLMattC Jul 23, 2018

An enthralling, nearly life-changing book. I listened to the Kate Reading audiobook of the excellent Lydia Davis translation. Lively characters experience dramatic events in surprisingly relatable ways. It's weird how much of myself I am able to see in this book.

May 20, 2017

Madame Emma is vain, pretentious, impatient and callous, and I adore her. Her author, Gustave Flaubert, once said "I am Emma Bovary!" -- he knows her joys, her sorrows, and her frustrated bourgeoise aspirations from the inside. Emma is often compared to Anna Karenina (see essay above), and it is interesting to see the contrast between an author who is in love with his heroine (Tolstoy), and makes all the excuses for her he decently can, and an author who wants to ruthlessly expose her (Flaubert), but is madly in love with her anyway. Emma Bovary is a miserable creature, but she attains a kind of greatness in her misery. This story is a reminder of how short, painful, and limited most human lives are, and women's lives perhaps most of all.

May 07, 2015

May 1, 2015, I am bored with this, but plugging along anyway. I guess I am just not much of a 'classic' reader. As I read it, I am listening to the audio book recording, which was recorded from a different translation, and this makes it challenging! I get different perspectives from both however, and will continue on. Emma sure had some mental health issues! May 7,....on disc 7 of 10.......May 14 2015, I have finally finished this, and I must say the most interesting part was the 'trial' of the book. It was interesting to note that the defense (which was successful!) was based on the fact that poor ole Emma Bovary was educated beyond her position in life, and this was the cause of her unhappiness which caused her to stray! Well.....!......funny that my 25 year old son and his girlfriend come to visit last week, and what are they reading......Madame Bovary! Just too weird!

Dec 03, 2012

This is the most boring classic I have ever read.

Jun 21, 2012

This is my third reading of Madame Bovary, and each time it has been a different experience. The importance and beauty of this book eluded me until I read this new translation by Lydia Davis, however. If you've tried to read MB before and failed, give Ms. Davis's translation a chance.

Larry245 Mar 20, 2012

Why is the library system and catalog becoming more difficult to use. When I tried to place a hold, I got the message, "there is a problem with your library card -- see a librarian." I am away, but would like to place a hold, so that the book is available when I return to NYC on April 1 as I need it for a book club to which I belong. I saw that my library card may expire soon -- no date of expiration was given. When did this start, and how can I get a new card if I need one before I return to NYC?
Larue (Larry) Lincoln
1 646 530-4022

kayafraser Feb 11, 2012

Finally, I got around to reading this. It is a fascinating book--a portrait of a woman who simply succumbs to an utterly brutal fate. Is it a result of her own vanity and romantic vapidity? Is she a victim of a culture that had created scripts for female desire that could only end in emptiness? Is she just a person, morally neutral, who ends up in a mess? Flaubert refuses to make a judgment, and although it's horrifying to watch the inevitable, almost Greek-tragedy-like fall of Emma's fortunes, it's also completely mesmerizing. Details are rendered with almost neurotic precision. The writing (translated excellently by Lydia Davis) is eloquent but ruthlessly frank. This is, in the end, a cold book, portraying a cold world. Be ready for it if you read it.

NGarcias Sep 01, 2011

I absolutely LOVE this book. I haven't read it in years, but it is one of the very few books that I would re-read over and over again. CLASSIC!!!

snowbird922 Aug 18, 2011

Emma Bovary was completely self absorbed in what the fantasy of love should be while letting her family life deteriorate slowly for her own pleasures. Charles was a very weak man he let everyone control him especially his wife. What I didn’t like is the writer spent lots of time on the characters and places which is all well but I think a little more description of the relationship between Emma and Charles would have been much better. By the end of the book I was tired of hearing any thing that character Homais had to say he was a pompous and arrogant know it all. I have heard a lot about the translation making this a hard read that wasn’t the case for me it was the lengthy moments he spent on situations that did not have any impact on the main characters Emma & Charles. The book ended disastrously for the daughter which made me feel even more contempt for Emma’s character as well as Charles at least he could have tried to live for his daughter she was the real victim in this story.

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