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Madame Bovary

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Published: 1857
Language: English
Wordcount: 115,569 / 334 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 68.9
LoC Category: PN
Downloads: 27,938 2613

In a provincial village far from Paris, a doctor named Charles Bovary marries a beautiful farm girl: Emma. She rapidly grows bored with him and takes a rich landowner as a lover. When her lover rejects her, she takes up with a law clerk. Her husband knows nothing of her romances, nor does he know that Emma has ruined him with her waste, poor management, and self-indulgence...

Show Excerpt

having succeeded in catching the name of "Charles Bovary," having had it dictated to him, spelt out, and re-read, at once ordered the poor devil to go and sit down on the punishment form at the foot of the master's desk. He got up, but before going hesitated.

"What are you looking for?" asked the master.

"My c-a-p," timidly said the "new fellow," casting troubled looks round him.

"Five hundred lines for all the class!" shouted in a furious voice stopped, like the Quos ego*, a fresh outburst. "Silence!" continued the master indignantly, wiping his brow with his handkerchief, which he had just taken from his cap. "As to you, 'new boy,' you will conjugate 'ridiculus sum'** twenty times."

Then, in a gentler tone, "Come, you'll find your cap again; it hasn't been stolen."

*A quotation from the Aeneid signifying a threat.

**I am ridiculous.

Quiet was restored. Heads bent over desks, and the "new fellow" remained for two hours in an exemplary attitude, although from t

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 3.8 from 5 reviews: ****
Avneesh Kumar

Absolutely classic. Although tragedy, but this book is absolute classic. It is not about adultery (as people think it is), rather it is about aspirations and desires of Madame Bovary. She is commits adultery not because she is characterless (she did not sleep for money in the end), but rather she thought it would fulfil her aspirations.

Read some translation which is close to original (like wordsworth editions) because Flaubert plays with words.



Adultery has ruined many lives. Whether it it was 17th century or 21st century there is nothing to glorify adultery. There is nothing prejudical if you condemn wayward behaviour that brings ruin to happy homes. This book is a lesson against wrong behaviour.


The reason that this book is celebrated
is certainly not the

    uniqueness of its plot. The
  • real significance of this book lies in the unique and original themes(or sub-themes) which run through it, specifically the relation of art and fantasy to real world.


Rather scandalous in its day to even suggest adultery, it seems extremely mild today. While the story seems rather hackneyed, one must remember that for 1856, this was cutting new ground. Somewhat of an off-kilter romance novel, I'm a bit at a loss to why it makes it so high on the "great books" lists. I found the characters surrounding Madame Bovary and her escapades far more interesting than Madame herself (who seemed to be ready for Freud's approaching couch with her hysterias). The ending will surprise few...though the darker souls will certainly cheer Madame's choice at the end.

S Radha Prathi

The youth of the Indian Sub- continent have perhaps come of age to read "Madam Bovary" without prejudice or presumptions regarding womanhood or chastity.



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Author of the Day

Serenity Woods
Besides writing great romance novels, Serenity Woods enjoys juggling, archaeology and celebrating Christmas next to the pool. She lives in the sub-tropical Northland of New Zealand with her husband and teenage son and likes to write books about everyday people, with the issues that affect them. As our author of the day, Woods talks about her Christmas Boxset, Three Wise Men, why she is not a fan of alpha males and reveals what readers can expect from her pen next.
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