Both embodiment and victim of the self-satisfied nineteenth-century French bourgeoisie, Emma Bovary lives in pursuit of something more, like the world depicted in the romance novels that have come to define her. Emma is oblivious to the realities of life, and her romantic delusions and search for transcendence through sex, money, and social position serve only to drive the increasingly troubled woman into an irreversible moral, emotional, and spiritual decline. That the author depicted his heroine in neutral terms, without condemnation, resulted in obscenity charges from the French courts, which likened the “lascivious” Madame Bovary’s “lack of restraint” to “a woman who throws off all garments.” Exactly. Madame Bovary remains one of the most daring and liberating novels ever written.
Includes The Trial of Madame Bovary
Translated by Mildred Marmur
With an Introduction by Robin Morgan and a New Afterword by Frederick Brown