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Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert - Book Report/Review Example

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Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Majority of critics emphasized occasional reasons, which have served to Flaubert as a stimulus to creation of the novel. Flaubert has started to think over "Madam Bovary" absolutely in other plan, than what has turned out in final edition. First he thought to make the heroine the virgin, who lives in the provincial environment, grows old from affliction and reaches extreme mysticism in dreams on imagined passion. The heroine was drawn to him as a carrier of mystically excited feelings, the person, who entirely has left in her own inner world. But Flaubert has undertaken more realistic plot, as a basis for which has served the story of Delamare, the doctor from the town of Ry. "On the advice of his friends Louis Bouilhet and Maxime du Camp to whom Saint Antony had been read, Flaubert was enjoined to tackle a more down-to-earth project that would focus on an everyday subject taken from contemporary French life. This he did with enthusiasm, using as the basis for his new novel the banal story of the marriage breakdown of a middle-class Normandy couple, Eugene and Delphine Delamare"1. Matrimonial misfortunes of Delamare (infidelity of his wife) amused gossips lovers; seduced, and then dumped by the lover, Delamare's wife has poisoned herself. So that story has become the ground of the novel "Madam Bovary".
In the novel we see Emma, a dreamy provincial surrounded with absolutely real environment. Flaubert has knowingly given the novel a subtitle "Provincial Customs". Having forced the heroine to live in the petty-bourgeois environment, Flaubert has transferred attention to that valid vital ground, which with necessity generates the heroine's illusions, hopes and desires and leads her to a catastrophe. Instead of "experimenting" with artificially isolated from life human consciousness, he has written the book full of extraordinary force of penetration into public psychology of that time. Flaubert has represented the average hero, which one can meet time and again in daily existence. He searched an ordinary plot and at the same time a tragic one: in fact only in such a novel it was possible for him to show the epoch as platitude had been its specific feature. That is Flaubert comes back to a problem, which had been already raised by Balzac. To show the specificity of the present means to show its platitude, hence typically modern novel should become the tragedy of platitude.
Explaining Emma's high impulses by physiological inclinations, Flaubert has shown their back side and by that strengthened irony even more. Spiritual dissatisfaction is connected with physical dissatisfaction, with thirst of high poetry turns to the thirst of sexual pleasures. Relations with Leon wake up Emma's passion to luxury, to soft fabrics and tasty food. From the first chapters of the novel, through thin and thoughtfully selected details, Flaubert opens a reader the drama of poetic feeling. "Flaubert is exhibiting, by way of prelude, the drama of cultural formation"2. For human consciousness formed in conditions of provincial-bourgeois life the way to alive, real sensation of that is objectively fine turns out to be complicated. However, the heroine of the novel apparently does not wish to reckon with real life, aspiring to accept the validity only in those relative forms, which are prompted by novels about love, and therefore there is an opportunity of double existence for Emma: with the husband and without the husband. ...Show more

Summary

French realism of the nineteenth century passes two stages in its development. The first stage, becoming and the statement of realism as a leading direction in the literature (the end of 1820s - 1940s) is presented by creativity of Stendhal, Balzac, and Merimee.
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Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert essay example
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