A Reader's Guide to Unfamiliar Literature
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A Good Place To Start

Madame Bovary 3

A Bad Place To Start

Three Tales 1


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Categorization is odious. There is tremendous overlap among genres. These pigeonholes are offered only as a convenience.

Gustave Flaubert

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FGus January 10th, 2007 07:29 AM PST

Flaubert describes with a subtle but strong humour the passions of the members of the “petite bourgeoisie” (or middle class) of its time. The absurdity and the contradictions of the behaviors he writes about show that, even though their standards of living were tremendously different from ours, those people had pretty much the same problems. Madame Bovary for instance lives in a small town, unhappily married to a typical merchant. She dreams of passionate love, and the novel tells us how she tries to fullfill her desires, confronted to the reality of life. Flaubert, a member of the middle class himself, once said: “I am Madame Bovary”.
Flaubert's work has inspired numerous authors. Its books have been the subject of one of the litterature courses by Nabokov, who seems to have been fascinated by Emma Bovary's character. The french philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre has worked all his life long on a book about Flaubert, but has never been able to put an end to it.


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