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Madame Bovary (Penguin Classics)
 
 

Madame Bovary (Penguin Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Gustave Flaubert , Geoffrey Wall , Michele Roberts
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Flaubert's "Madame Bovary" scandalised French bourgeois society of the time with its shocking depiction of an adulteress, Emma Bovary, and her lascivious liaisons. The 19th-century press denounced both the book and its author as corrupting influences. History has exonerated Flaubert and exposed the hypocrisy of a society that would deny the existence of such women.

Emma Bovary, a young woman, newly married to a provincial doctor, is dazzled when she attends her first ball, attended by high aristocracy. With the culmination of her romantic ideals realised, her head is so filled with fanciful notions that she never re-enters reality, until the damning end:

Before her wedding day, she had thought she was in love; but since she lacked the happiness that should have come from that love, she must have been mistaken, she fancied. And Emma sought to find out exactly what was meant in real life by the words felicity, passion and rapture, which had seemed so fine on the pages of the books.
Frustrated and bored by her marriage, Emma embarks on a brief, rather touching affair with one young man but soon, vulnerable and exposed, she is fitting carrion for Monsieor Rodolphe, a serial womaniser. Soon, Emma has not only ruined her own reputation but destroyed that of her husband in her ruthless bid for wealth and recognition. The cast of characters, from passers-by to the shopkeepers who take her money, act like the chorus in a Greek tragedy. Seen through their eyes and their reactions to her, Emma's downfall is recounted but also society's intolerance.

On the surface, Flaubert provides a melodramatic morality tale. Slyly, underneath it all, he is laughing. Through his voyeuristic tale, with each salacious detail recounted, he is wilfully subversive as he points the finger not only at the guilty but at those who would dare to judge. --Nicola Perry

Product Description

Emma Bovary is beautiful and bored, trapped in her marriage to a mediocre doctor and stifled by the banality of provincial life. An ardent reader of sentimental novels, she longs for passion and seeks escape in fantasies of high romance, in voracious spending and, eventually, in adultery. But even her affairs bring her disappointment and the consequences are devastating. Flaubert's erotically charged and psychologically acute portrayal of Emma Bovary caused a moral outcry on its publication in 1857. It was deemed so lifelike that many women claimed they were the model for his heroine; but Flaubert insisted: 'Madame Bovary, c'est moi'.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 573 KB
  • Print Length: 388 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0140449124
  • Publisher: Penguin; Rev Ed edition (2 Aug 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9BLW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #26,715 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A French Classic on Kindle 16 Aug 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Attention - this review only applies to the kindle version (its merits and faults).
I do not want to go into the details of the book itself: 'Madame Bovary' is a classic and rightly so, whatever you think about the characters and their motivations. I also thought the translation was good (I don't know the original, but it flowed well and did not appear slipshod).
The way Penguin have transferred it onto kindle is basically excellent and it's good to have a critical text with an introduction and notes available on kindle for the more serious and interested reader. What I particularly like about the Penguin kindle versions is that all notes are hyperlinked, so when a note comes up, you just have to move the cursor to it, click and you get to the note. A press of the back button takes you back to where you were reading. Very simple and VERY user-friendly.
My only quibble (which cost the kindle version a star) is that the text itself is full of mistakes, so that the flow of reading can be quite seriously disrupted. This is a great shame, as otherwise this is a brilliant version and definitely the electronic one I'd go for.
If you're interested in a more academic version of 'Madame Bovary' for your kindle with easily accessible notes and an interesting introduction, then go for this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Madame Bovary 12 May 2014
By MJ
Format:Kindle Edition
Tragic tale of a woman who is plagued by a kind of ennui reminiscent to that of Oliver Wilde’s character Dorian Gray and Kate Chopin’s character Edna Pontellier who are also infected by “the silent spider [that] weaves its web in the darkness in every corner of their hearts,” robbing them of their ability to enjoy the little things in life, leaving them feeling constricted by society and life’s endless monotony.

But it’s more than that. The disease from which Madame Bovary suffers—a slow petrification of the soul—is more than a boredom of life. It is the sense of entitlement and ingratitude that hardens her, making her a prisoner of her own insatiable passions, feeling she somehow deserves more, or deserves better, that even like the proverbial grass that appears greener on the other side, so does “the powdered sugar seem whiter and finer elsewhere.”

Poor Madame Bovary, who is a prisoner of her own making, too much time, too much idleness which she spends freely and destructively on searching for elusive things and a sense of deep fulfillment that can only come when we are thoroughly engrossed in giving of ourselves rather than taking; a life where the Ego is central to all, and thus dies, embittered and hardened. An affliction common to the bourgeoisie whom Gustave Flaubert was criticizing.

I wanted to dislike Emma. I wanted to judge her, place her inside a neat little box, and paste a big label on its exterior. But I could not. I felt a tremendous sadness for her, empathy even. Wanting her to somehow climb out of the abyss in which she had all too willingly plunged head first, after sliding down that slippery slope.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Great intro, translation ho-hum 2 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought the paperback years ago then lost it, so now I have it on Kindle. The intro is remarkably detailed and interesting, but... Do you want some expert telling you what to think before you've read the first page? It's a bit like those audio guides you can hire in an art gallery: we're all entitled to wander round making up our own minds, however daft the conclusions may be.

It would be OK if the translation measured up to the quality of the intro, but it doesn't. Yes, it's accurate, but yet again it shows you can't assume an academic is best qualified just because he writes well about it. Contrary to what you might think, the two tasks need different talents. You can't set off on your translating journey trusting Flaubert to carry you through like some reliable old nag, or you'll come a cropper. So Prof Wall is accurate, and the story gets told, but where's the lyricism, the style to match Flaubert when it's needed? Where's the Shakespearean attention to the sounds of the words, the assonance and alliteration, none of which is needed in an intro? This isn't a diesel generator brochure, it's probably the greatest novel ever written, and the reason for that is the way it is written. Wall may well feel this, but why can't he convey it to the vulnerable reader?

Perhaps the answer is to buy this for the intro, though whose translation you get I don't know. They all have their faults, most of all the wretched Marx-Aveling. She's everywhere.

Forgive me. I'm becoming a Flaubert anorak. But then, he's that good. He deserves the best. Maybe this is:

"She longed for a son; he would be strong and dark; she would call him Georges; and this idea of having a male child was a sort of hoped-for revenge for all her past impotence.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasure and pain in extremis 26 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is not a literary classic for nothing. A painful but compelling book that is almost as exquisite in terms of writing as it is painful in existential human terms
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Popular Highlights

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&quote;
She confused, in her desire, sensual luxury with true joy, elegance of manners with delicacy of sentiment. &quote;
Highlighted by 15 Kindle users
&quote;
Before her wedding-day, she had thought she was in love; but since she lacked the happiness that should have come from that love, she must have been mistaken, she fancied. And Emma sought to find out exactly what was meant in real life by the words felicity, passion and rapture, which had seemed so fine on the pages of the books. &quote;
Highlighted by 14 Kindle users
&quote;
Love, she believed, had to come, suddenly, with a great clap of thunder and a lightning flash, a tempest from heaven that falls upon your life, like a devastation, scatters your ideals like leaves and hurls your very soul into the abyss. Little did she know that up on the roof of the house, the rain will form a pool if the gutters are blocked, and there she would have stayed feeling safe inside, until one day she suddenly discovered the crack right down the wall. &quote;
Highlighted by 12 Kindle users

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