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Madame Bovary (Classics) Paperback – 28 May 1970

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New impression edition (28 May 1970)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140440151
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140440157
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,590,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Présenté par Félicien Marceau, Le livre de poche nr.713/714, Band wat verkleurd / Discolouration, Gevouwen rug / Folded back / / French pockets / Frans / French / Français / Französisch / Pocket / Poche / Taschenbuch / 11 x 17 cm / 503 .pp /

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By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 Sept. 2004
Format: Paperback
Depending on your perspective, this book is hopelessly dated and has little relevance to today, is an important step forward in the French novel, or is a classic depiction of tragedy in the Greek tradition. You should decide which perspective is most meaningful to you in determining whether you should read the book or not.
The story of the younger Madame Bovary (her mother-in-law is the other) is presented in the context of people whose illusions exceed their reality. Eventually, reality catches up with them. In the case of Emma Bovary, these illusions are mostly tied up in the notion that romantic relationships will make life wonderful and that love conquers all. She meets a young doctor of limited potential and marries with little thought. Soon, she finds him unbearable. The only time she is happy is when the two attend a ball at a chateaux put on by some of the nobility (the beautiful people of that time). She has a crisis of spirit and becomes depressed. To help, he moves to another town where life may be better for her. She has a daughter, but takes no interest in her. Other men attract her, and she falls for each one who pays attention to her in a romantic style. Clearly, she is in love with romance. Adultery is not rewarded, and she has a breakdown when one lover leaves her. Recovering, she takes on a younger lover she can dominate. This, too, works badly and she becomes reckless in her pursuit of pleasure. In the process, she takes to being reckless in other ways and brings financial ruin to herself and her family. The book ends in tragedy.
Here is the case for this being dated and irrelevant for today. A modern woman would usually not be trapped in such a way. She would separate from or divorce the husband she grew to detest, and make a new life.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x95c46768) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95af96f0) out of 5 stars "Flawless, from start to finish." 16 April 2011
By R. Russell Bittner - Published on
Format: Paperback
Flaubert's care with language is legendary. Few people -- even native English speakers -- who pay serious attention to World Literature haven't heard the stories of how Flaubert would work painstakingly at every sentence to make sure even the SOUND of it was as close to perfection as he could possibly get. While this characteristic is a given among most poets (a "given," but not necessarily a "gotten" among many contemporary poets), it's relatively rare among novelists. But then, even someone of François Mauriac's authority once said that "every great novelist is first of all a great poet."

Consequently, to translate Flaubert is a daunting task for any native English-speaker. While I had neither the benefit of the original nor other translations to compare with Alan Russell's, his translation, in my estimation, does the job both `adequately and sufficiently.' (`Adequate and sufficient,' by the way, is no small praise coming from a former philosophy student!)

MADAME BOVARY is a classic not only of French literature, but also of World Literature -- and rightfully so. The story itself is not particularly extraordinary. It is rather Flaubert's telling of it that makes it a classic.

Just as Anna is the eminently memorable focal point of Tolstoy's ANNA KARENINA, Emma is what remains behind in stark detail in the reader's mind after feasting on Gustave Flaubert's MADAME BOVARY.

Your library will never be complete with a copy of MADAME BOVARY. And your reading pleasure will never be consummated without reading the book, start to finish.

Brooklyn, NY, USA
Trompe-l'oeil (or, The In and Out. Of Love.)
HASH(0x95af95e8) out of 5 stars Which Translation Is Best? 7 Feb. 2015
By reading man - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
MADAME BOVARY, which Nabokov called the "pearl" of French literature, requires a perfect command of French to be read properly. In fact, some have argued that only a native speaker of the language can understand its stylistic nuances.

With my imperfect command of French, I agree with his opinion. Stendhal, yes, he can be read, even Balzac with a dictionary at hand, but the former deliberately wrote vernacular prose (although he still created a distinctive style, much like Hemingway) and the latter's verbal flamboyance is more striking than stylish.

So the question for an English-speaking reader is: which translation should I read? There are more than a dozen, I believe.

Alan Russell translated BOVARY for Penguin and that's the version reprinted here. Like most of the early Penguin translations from French, Russell's reads very well, though you have the impression that like Margaret Shaw, who translated Stendhal, and Leonard Tannock, who specialized in Zola, Russell aimed for readability more than complete accuracy and faithful tone.

Steegmuller was the American equivalent of Russell, and his translation is more nuanced, but it's been argued that he aims at smoothing out Flaubert's rough patches.

Lydia Davis's new translation contains a forward in which she sums up her judgments of most of the previous translators of BOVARY. If you believe her, Gerald Hopkins adds unnecessary verbiage to the text, but I think that's wrong; Hopkins version is one of the best.

The late Malcolm Bowie, a professor of French literature and a superb critic (his PROUST AMONG THE STARS is one of the best critical books ever on the captive of the cork-lined room), argues that Margaret Mauldon's translation for Oxford Classics is top-of-the-line, but you do wonder if his being hired to write the introduction to her translation might have influenced his judgment.

Whatever, reading Russell's version is recommended by me, and then following up with Hopkins, Steegmuller, Mauldon, and Davis if you become an aficianado would be a good way to go.
HASH(0x95af98dc) out of 5 stars Ultimately not an enjoyable read 11 Sept. 2014
By Dan Gilles - Published on
Format: Paperback
Flaubert is such a good writer that his characters are appealing despite his intentions, which I think were to demonstrate the ultimate meaninglessness of their lives. (Not to mention his beautiful depictions of pastoral and small-town life.) But those intentions poison the plot, so that it becomes more of a chore than a joy to read about the heroine's ongoing degradation.
By Stargeezer in Utah - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i dont' remember ordering this book that tells you enough of the story.. penguin is a good publisher . dont' know what happened to this book
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95af9654) out of 5 stars The one good thing about a small hate it. 19 May 2000
By courtney J angermeier - Published on
Format: Paperback
My best friend Robert and I have determinied that this is the quintessential book about life in Lawrence, Kansas (despite the fact that it takes place, for the most part, in France). This is, very basically, the story of a beautiful intelligent woman trapped in a small boring life in a small boring town who in making up ways to keep herself interested and entertained destroys her life. Like so many people we know. The End.
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