Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary
Revue de Paris - 1856


Synopsis
Considered by many as «the greatest romance of all», Flaubert tells us the story of Emma Bovary – the first realism female antihero –, that finds in adultery her escape to the numbness of routine. Madame Bovary is an ode to the excitement of falling in love, but also to the despair of perpetual discontent. This masterpiece exposes rawness, violence and erotism like a modern romance.


Biography
Author of many other genial works that French literature bequeathed, in the 19th century, to Europe, such as Sentimental Education and Salambô, Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) was best known for his novel Madame Bovary, whose first edition, in 1857, was marked by the scandal, which took the author to court due to accusation of violating morals and religion. Flaubert was acquitted when confessing: "Emma Bovary is me!"


FunFacts
MADAME BOVARY'S HISTORY SHOCKED FRANCE, DUE TO ITS DESCRIPTIONS OF ADULTERY
In Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert tells the story of Emma, a peasant who marries Doctor Charles Bovary to escape rural life. However, her husband and his provincial ways soon disappoint her, prompting her to seek passion and luxury in extramarital relationships.

“MADAME BOVARY C’EST MOI”
The descriptions of Emma Bovary’s adulterous conduct were considered scandalous at the time, which lead Flaubert and the editors of the Revue de Paris to be brought to trial on February 7, 1857, for insulting moral conduct and decency. During this trial, Flaubert uttered one of his most iconic phrases: "Madame Bovary c'est moi."

FLAUBERT’S LOVE LETTERS REVEAL HIS CREATIVE PROCESS OF WRITING MADAME BOVARY
Even before the publication of Madame Bovary, Flaubert ended a long relationship with the poet Louise Colet, also married, whom he met in the studio of the sculptor James Pradier (1790–1852).
Many of the letters exchanged between the two lovers reveal clues about Madame Bovary's creative process. Flaubert’s last letter to Louise Colet, written in 1855, reads “I’ve been told that you came to my apartment three times to try to talk to me. I wasn’t in, and I shall never be in for you again”.

MADAME BOVARY'S PLOT WAS INSPIRED BY A REAL HISTORY
Madame Bovary’s plot was partly inspired by a sensational news story featuring a French woman named Delphine Delamare (1822–1848). At the age of 17, Delamare left her rural home to marry a health officer who, like Charles Bovary, was also a widower. Delamare cheated on her spouse, spent his money on frivolities, and ultimately incurred so much debt that she killed herself with poison at the age of 27.

MADAME BOVARY IS STILL A REFERENCE IN OUR CURRENT CULTURE
Madame Bovary emerges as one of the books read by Rory Gilmore from the Gilmore Girls series and Carmela Soprano from The Sopranos.

BOVARISM
Gustave Flaubert’s work coined the term “bovarism”, which describes the tendency to change the meaning of reality and retreat to a fantasy world.

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