A French Classic
November 27, 2012
The North Independence Masterpiece Book Club has selected Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert for its next book discussion. Madame Bovary is one of the classics of French Literature. It pushed the boundaries of literature for its day and helped expand the scope of the modern novel. Flaubert's work achieved this by creating a plot and characters that took realism to the next level. Flaubert's masterpiece simultaneously attempts to downplay the European Romanticism, a cultural era that was defined by spontaneity, and appeal to emotion.
When it first came out in 1857, Madame Bovary created quite a stir. In comparison to many contemporary novels, it’s rather tame, but it caused Flaubert serious legal problems. He was brought up on obscenity charges; although he was never convicted. The novel blends realistic and romantic themes, but it isn't this aspect that sets it apart. Other French writers had blended the two genres. However, Madame Bovary achieved a more dramatic effect. In reality, Madame Bovary was more of a precursor to an emerging literary genre known as Naturalism. Emile Zola would come to more fully develop naturalism in France, but Madame Bovary paved the way.
Flaubert’s book is unique because its rather shocking tale carefully scrutinizes the lives of a middle class couple. He made the fate of his two main characters seem almost predestined. But more outwardly, Flaubert warns the reader not to be led astray by too much fantasy. Moreover, he depicts how worldly aspirations that aren’t tempered with self-reflection and modesty can bring grief and despair. What makes Madame Bovary an enduring classic then is its sensitive portrayal of morality and human misconceptions.
We'll be meeting on December 17th at 7:00 p.m. to discuss some of the intricacies of Madame Bovary, and we hope you'll join us.
Our discussions concerning great books are insightful and never boring. We’re always glad to have new people participate. Of course, MCPL’s many library branches have different types of book clubs, including online book clubs. Come on in, and be part of a great conversation today!
North Independence Branch