Acclaimed British actress Glenda Jackson narrates what has been called the most important novel of its era. The character of Emma Bovary, a beautiful young woman longing to escape from her dull husband and the constrictions of bourgeois life in France is one of the most compelling figures in all literature. The story of her adulteries and financial ruin was so shocking to mid-19th-century readers that Flaubert was charged with "offenses against public morals and religion". Only Emma's doggedly faithful husband, who is seemingly oblivious to his wife's foolishness and infidelity, survives this saga of betrayal with humble dignity intact. His selflessness becomes a beacon of grace in an otherwise shameful landscape.
Flaubert's style, with its elegant, sculpted sentences, and passionately observed detail, is rendered here in the classic translation by Francis Steegmuller, who has written widely on Flaubert and is the editor and translator of his letters.