Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) was a French writer who became known as one of the West’s best novelists during the 19th century. Known today for meticulously writing down to the finest detail in his search for “le mot juste,” or “the right word,” Flaubert was a perfectionist about his writing and would spend countless hours refining his work down to the word, writing some of the most pure romantic, realist, and stylistic literature in history.
Flaubert’s first attempt at writing was laughed at by his friends. When he completed The Temptation of Saint Anthony in 1849, he read the novel to a few friends who promptly told him to toss his work in the fire. Undeterred, Flaubert spent the next year writing Madame Bovary, his crowning achievement. The story focuses on a doctor's wife, Emma Bovary, who has adulterous affairs and lives beyond her means in order to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life. The plot is simplistic, and some even describe it as archetypal, but the details and patterns woven into the work are what make the novel timeless.
Madame Bovary was serialized like many 19th century novels, and it was attacked for obscenity by public prosecutors when it was first serialized in La Revue de Paris between October 1, 1856 and December 15, 1856. The January 1857 trial only made the book more notorious. After the acquittal on February 7, 1857, Flaubert’s novel became a bestseller, and it has remained one of the standards of Realism.
This edition of Madame Bovary is specially formatted with a Table of Contents and images of scenes and characters.