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Madame Bovary: A Story of Provincial Life (Penguin Popular Classics) Paperback – 30 Mar 1995
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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'.
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I would highly recommend this edition. At £5.59, the Oxford University Press are managing to sell this book on the cheaper end of the spectrum. However nothing is sacrificied; the translation is to the highest standard I have come across, the footnotes and annotations are erudite and help one achieve a fuller understanding and appreciation of the novel. The introduction compliments the text well and provides some astute and insightful criticism of it and also includes some useful historical context from nineteenth-century France. There is also a useful bibliography that can direct the reader to the more worthwhile secondary texts about Flaubert and Madame Bovary.
If you would like to read this novel, this is the edition to buy. I would recommend it for everyone, from the inexperienced reader of classical novels to someone who is pursuing a degree in literary studies at university.
This is a very clunky, heavy handed translation which uses unnecessarily abstruse words and deftly manages to render some sentences unintelligible.
But far, far more irritating is the Kindle edition which has a huge number of misspellings which make nonsense of the meaning of a phrase e.g. "along" instead of "alone"; "seem" instead of "seen" ... and many many more.
at the time I wrote the draft for this review the only audio version was as far as I knew, the Whole story audio books unabridged 11 CDs version read by Davina Porter who does a great job, she does not overdo it and while keeping perfect balance in the voice she is not too cold or too impartial or too melancholy which is a great thing. in a few words you have the feeling that she is impartial but not too cold or detached, she reads at the right point
Recently Naxos released their own version of the book (11 CDs) and when I knew the reader was Juliet Stevenson I could not resist buying this version as well. for those who do not know Juliet Stevenson she is excellence and to me her voice has also an evocative power that transports me there especially if listened to at night in complete silence ... magic
This CD version, read by Juliet Stevenson is a real delight to hear. The narrator has a fine range of voices that takes the listener into provincial France and the world of one of literature's most famous adulteresses, Emma Bovary. Even as the novel opens, we feel the atmosphere of the classroom, as Stevenson effortlessly describes the clumsy 'new fellow', Charles Bovary in his first day of school.
Any fans of Madame Bovary, or novels like that, will find that this audio book is essential to their collection.
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