Madame Bovary


By Gustave Flaubert

cover image of Madame Bovary

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Madame Bovary (1856) is the French novelist Gustave Flaubert's much-celebrated masterpiece that has been translated into more than forty languages in the world. It belongs to the realistic movement of fiction and has often been considered by critics as one of its most important foundational works. The book recounts the life story of Charles Bovary, a young man from northern France who has been brought up by his mother to become rather a simpleton. Charles is trained to be a medical doctor and then starts practicing his job. He first marries an elder woman that his mother chooses for him. While being married, he has an acquaintance with a beautiful young woman named Emma with whom he falls in love. He is given the opportunity to get closer to Emma and marry her after the death of his first wife. The story then becomes entirely focused on the character of Emma who soon gets bored of her marital status and starts to look for extramarital relations. She indulges in sexual adventures with two different partners while her husband never suspects anything. She even unsuccessfully attempts to elope with one of her lovers once. Madame Bovary commits suicide by the end of the narrative after having drowned herself in irredeemable debt. Charles, who cherishes her memory, discovers about her cheating only later and still tries to find her excuses before he dies himself.

Madame Bovary