|Author: Gustave Flubert|
Both embodiment and victim of the self-satisfied nineteenth-century French bourgeoisie, Emma Bovary lives in pursuit of something more, like the world depicted in the romance novels that have come to define her. Emma is oblivious to the realities of life, and her romantic delusions and search for transcendence through sex, money, and social position serve only to drive the increasingly troubled woman into an irreversible moral, emotional, and spiritual decline.
Madame Bovary (1856) is the French writer Gustave Flaubert's debut novel. The story focuses on a doctor's wife, Emma Bovary, who has adulterous affairs and lives beyond her means in order to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life.
When the novel was first serialized in La Revue de Paris between 1 October 1856 and 15 December 1856, public prosecutors attacked the novel for obscenity. The resulting trial in January 1857 made the story notorious. After Flaubert's acquittal on 7 February 1857, Madame Bovary became a bestseller in April 1857 when it was published as a single volume. The novel is now considered Flaubert's masterpiece, as well as a seminal work of literary realism and one of the most influential novels. The British critic James Wood writes: "Flaubert established, for good or ill, what most readers think of as modern realist narration, and his influence is almost too familiar to be visible."