Madame Bovary

 

Celebrating Gustave Flaubert's Famous Work

Madame Bovary is one of the most important French novels of the 19th century.  It is vastly regarded as Flaubert's most important work, and is also considered socially relevant because it inadvertently served to inspire, if not signal the dawn of feminism.  Flaubert's adulterous heroine, the author's alter-ego of sorts, was happy in her transgressions, her actions seemingly justified by her dull and lifeless marriage.

On this website, you will learn about Gustave Flaubert's life leading up to the publication of his novel, see from where he drew his inspiration, and which events in his life led to, or were the result of the publication of his book.

But getting back to our main "raison d'Ítre", let us whet your appetite as to the novel we have chosen to feature on our website:

Madame Bovary is the story of Emma Bovary, an unhappily married woman who seeks escape through forbidden relationships with other men.  The book could be viewed as an expose of the situation of women in the 19th century; women who had not yet been emancipated and were expected to obey their husbands, to stay in their homes while the men went to work, or left for months on end to fight in wars.  Emma Bovary also serves as a voice for Flaubert, who patterned the character's personality after his own.  Emma Bovary's "rebellious" attitude against the accepted ideas of the day, reflects Flaubert's views of the bourgeoisie.  Ultimately, Madame Bovary's indiscretions and her obsession with Romance lead to her downfall, which not only appeases the guardians of morality, but shows us Flaubert's view of the world wasn't one of naive optimism.

This website is a labor of love, an homage of sorts to Gustave Flaubert, whose work continues to resonate over 150 years after its publication.  We hope our biographical notes and comments will make you want to read the book, whether you do so on our site or in the comfort of your favorite chair.


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Last modified: February 26, 2003