Gustave Flaubert
Penguin, New York, 2002; originally published (in French, in book form) 1857, English
ISBN: 9780140449129

From the Publisher: Emma Bovary is beautiful and bored, trapped in her marriage to a mediocre doctor and stifled by the banality of provincial life. An ardent devourer 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 when real life continues to fail to live up to her romantic expectations 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.”

On 3 book lists
Penny Drue Baird

Madame Bovary is my single-most favorite book. Brilliant in recreating the human condition that repeats throughout time and history, uncanny in that human nature hasn’t matured in the last 140 years.

Maira Kalman

The tragedy. The grandness of the small. The tiny color phrases.

Massimo Vignelli

The best book for understanding provincialism.

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