For daring to peer into the heart of an adulteress and enumerate its contents with profound dispassion, the author of Madame Bovary was tried for "offenses against morality and religion." What shocks us today about Flaubert's devastatingly realized tale of a young woman destroyed by the reckless pursuit of her romantic dreams is its pure artistry: the poise of its narrative structure, the opulence of its prose (marvelously captured in the English translation of Francis Steegmuller), and its creation of a world whose minor figures are as vital as its doomed heroine. In reading Madame Bovary, one experiences a work that remains genuinely revolutionary almost a century and a half after its creation.
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A Brilliantly Beautiful Book
A must-read, and this is my favorite translation.
With little doubt, this is one of the greatest novels ever written. Beautiful and tender, yet cruel and unforgiving, it is difficult not to fall in love with Emma. Only second to Anna Karenina, this timeless classic must be in your top 10 to read before you die.