Madame Bovary

Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert - click to see full size image

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Madame Bovary by French author Gustave Flaubert was originally published in 1857. It was Flaubert's first novel and before it was published in book form, it was serialised in Revue de Paris where it was prosecuted for obscenity. After the trial and acquittal of the author, Madame Bovary became a bestseller. It tells the story of Charles Bovary, who has an arranged marriage with a rich widow, but who falls for Emma Roualt. After his wife dies unexpectedly, Charles marries Emma. In contrast to Charles, Emma is very high maintenance and though her husband does his best to keep her from feeling bored with marriage and motherhood, it doesn't work, and she has two affairs. The first with Rodolphe Boulanger, a wealthy local man who seduces Emma but grows bored of her. The second is Léon Dupuis, a clerk who introduces Emma to poetry and who falls in love with her. But this affair too, ends. All the while, Emma, with her love for luxury goods, has been getting her and her husband into more and more debt, using credit from the manipulative Monsieur Lheureux. The story ends tragically when the debts are called in. Madame Bovary is considered one of the greatest novels ever written - author Henry James said that the book 'has a perfection that not only stamps it, but that makes it stand almost alone: it holds itself with such a supreme unapproachable assurance as both excites and defies judgment'.

№ 10 in 20 Classic Books You Must Read Before You Die.

№ 22 in The Guardian's 100 Greatest Novels Of All Time.

Part of Anne Haight's List of Banned Books.

This book has 115,823 words, 214 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1857. This is a translation by Eleanor Marx-Aveling.

Production notes: This ebook of Madame Bovary was published by Global Grey in 2021, and updated on the 15th December 2023. The artwork used for the cover is 'Henriette Sontag' by Paul Delaroche.

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