Thursday, June 7, 2012

Madame Bovary Readalong

The good folks over at A Classic Case of Madness are hosting a Madame Bovary readalong, and I've been saving my copy in order to join them.  This is a less scheduled project than the other readalongs I'm doing right now, and I think I'm just supposed to post my thoughts every so often, or at least respond to their posts.

Madame Bovary appears to be having a little revival at the moment, in the wake of the publication of a new translation by Lydia Davis.  Emma Bovary is being advertised as "the original desperate housewife" on book copy and in advertisements, which I suppose she is, even though I tend to bristle at the phrase myself.  (Seriously, I can't stand it.)

It took Flaubert years to write this novel; he worked at it constantly and produced only a few pages a month, as he wrote reams, revised, and then cut most of the material.  It caused something of a sensation for its subject matter and for the realistic style, which refused any sentimentality or romanticizing--an attitude that is routine now but was quite new then. 

This is a wonderful cover, isn't it?  Not that my old copy looks like this, but I'd be happy if it did, even though it looks more 1937 than 1857.

So, here we go then.

2 comments:

classiccaseofmadness said...

I had no idea that it took him so long to write it. I'm only five chapters in, but I've been struck by what a different read it is then anything we've done so far, I hadn't put my finger on it yet, but I think it's the realistic style, every once in a while what he writes is just plain shocking, even to my 21st century mind.
=Christina Joy=

Jean said...

I haven't gotten to a shocking bit yet, since I've only finished chapter 3. But I agree that the style is very distinctive; it's so exact and descriptive, for one thing, and yes--the realism makes a big difference. It's beautifully written.