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Madame Bovary
by Gustave Flaubert

Novel by Gustave Flaubert, published in two volumes in 1857. The novel, with the subtitle Moeurs de province ("Provincial Customs"), first appeared in installments in the Revue from October 1 to December 15, 1856. It ushered in a new age of realism in literature. In Madame Bovary, Flaubert took a commonplace story of adultery and made of it a book that has continued to be read because of its profound humanity. Emma Bovary is a bored and unhappy middle-class wife whose general dissatisfaction with life leads her to act out her romantic fantasies and embark on an ultimately disastrous love affair. She destroys her life by embracing abstractions--passion, happiness--as concrete realities. She ignores material reality itself, as symbolized by money, and is inexorably drawn to financial ruin and suicide.



Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (1 of 61), Read 61 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, August 16, 2001 03:24 PM I first read this book when I was a teenager, and with it began my love for the classic novel. I was ABSURDLY romantic as a teen and Emma made a great impact on me. I never forgot her story. I am re-reading Madame Bovary now, and as an adult find it every bit as entrancing as I did as a teen. One thing I noticed, in light of talk on Constant Reader, is Flaubert's love for the exclamation point! Every!-other!-sentence!-ends!-with!-an!-exclamation!-point! Nevertheless, it is as beautifully a written book as any I've read in my life. Ruth, I read this in the introduction and thought of what you said about words being like a window... Flaubert: "An author in his book must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere." I think its amazing Flaubert began to write Madame Bovary when he was only 30 years old and considered it, at first, only practice writing and nothing (originally) meant to be of any importance. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (2 of 61), Read 51 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Lynn Isvik washualum@yahoo.com Date: Thursday, August 16, 2001 04:46 PM I just started MB this afternoon, so I haven't gotten very far yet, but I'll be following along with interest. My copy has an introduction by Carl Van Doren (does that name doesn't mean anything to you all?) which says that Flaubert took 5 years to write it because he was trying to be scientific and impersonal instead of "romantic" in his writing. It also says that the novel was based on the story of an actual woman, Delphine Couturier. Lynn
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (3 of 61), Read 53 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, August 16, 2001 04:53 PM Really?! Well, I bet Delphine was just thrilled! We should compare intros..mine is by somebody named Terence Cave. Does yours mention Balzac at all? Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (4 of 61), Read 52 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Lynn Isvik washualum@yahoo.com Date: Thursday, August 16, 2001 04:59 PM I suspect Delphine was in no condition to worry about what Flaubert wrote. According to the intro, she "had married a country doctor, had had affairs with a squire and a notary's clerk, and had recently killed herself." (emphasis mine) And, no, mine doesn't reference Balzac. Lynn
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (5 of 61), Read 50 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Daniel LeBoeuf dan1066@yahoo.com Date: Thursday, August 16, 2001 05:39 PM You know, Beej, I studied Madame Bovary so long ago and even once used it with some writing students to illustrate powerful writing. There's some paragraph in the novel where Flaubert is able to describe a scene to all five senses without making it at all obvious. I'll never forget the light bulbs coming on over the students' heads when they realized the author was that adept at rendering an experience. God I wish I could remember that passage. It never mentioned nose, tongue, sight, sound, or touch--but the whole passage was evocative with all of them. It was stunning. Dan It's OK--they're all smoking!
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (6 of 61), Read 49 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Kay Dugan okaychatt@yahoo.com Date: Thursday, August 16, 2001 06:15 PM Beej- I shall take this up tonight since I have (ahem) finished BK, as I promised you I would.** **Beej was the one that encouraged me so strongly to read BK because SHE was going to read it......HA! K, who won't hold the grudge too long.....
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (7 of 61), Read 52 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dick Haggart Date: Thursday, August 16, 2001 06:31 PM I recall reading this on CR with some fondness. I was struggling to read at least parts of it in French so I could get some feel for the translation. Not ever having taken a lick of French, this was an uphill battle, although I was armed with dog years of Spanish and German and a Jesuit-load of Latin, not to mention a computerized translation program and enough French dictionaries and grammars to herniate an ox. Still it was fun, no matter how tortured French-speakers such as Jane Niemeier were by the ordeal. Dick "you have to sing your own song in the end." -- John Updike "which is fine, so long as you don't have to mow your own lawn." -- Dick Haggart
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (8 of 61), Read 53 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Thursday, August 16, 2001 07:02 PM And yet I read this and hardly remember a thing about it!! Perhaps I shall look at it again, maybe now that I'm more romantic, I'll enjoy it. Sherri
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (9 of 61), Read 59 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, August 16, 2001 08:18 PM Oh, Sherri! I hope you do read it with me! Dick, I have to hand it to you..that was a brave step! Did you really manage to translate it all? WOW! I am really impressed! You're one smart guy. (But you know what? It really doesn't surprise me that you did that, because you truly are one of those rare guys who knows he 'has to sing his own song in the end,'... even if you still have to mow your own lawn!) Dan, I'm going to be looking for that passage now. Do you remember at all where abouts in the book it takes place? I'm only just beginning Part II so I'm hoping I didn't pass it already. Kay...I'm sorry. LOL!!!!! hahahaaaaaa!!!! But I as I told you, I WILL finish BK! I came across this quote of Flaubert that just knocked me down. Its in reference to a certain conversation between Emma and Leon in Part II: "It is something that could be taken seriously, and yet I fully intend it as grotesque. This will be the first time, I think, that a book makes fun of its leading lady and its leading man. The irony does not detract from the pathetic aspect, but rather intensifies it. In my third part, which will be full of farcical things, I want my reader to weep." (letter of 9 October 1853) Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (10 of 61), Read 64 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, August 16, 2001 08:20 PM Dick, Would you be willing to do a re-read, this time in English, with me? (I heard a rumor that Dale is really into this novel, too..) Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (11 of 61), Read 48 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Thursday, August 16, 2001 09:41 PM Beej, I wish I had saved that discussion of Madame Bovary we had on CC a few years ago. I look forward to reading your notes on the book. Honestly, Beej, if you can make it through the first half of the Brothers Karamazov, the second part virtually flies. It's a bit akin to wading through some of the long philosophical passages in Anna Karenina in order to get back to a wonderful story. (Not that I want to make you feel like you have to finish or anything. :) Ann
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (12 of 61), Read 61 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, August 16, 2001 09:47 PM Ann, I will finish BK..(Has Kay been talking to you? LOL!) Actually I read The Grand Inquisitor chapter twice, it made that much of impact on me. I do promise I will finish it... I wish the MB discussion was available, too. I've read many of the classics, and this is definitely one of my favorites. Its sooo different to read MB first as a teen and then as an adult..I see Emma in a totally different way now! Beej "An author in his book must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere." Flaubert
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (13 of 61), Read 45 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Kay Dugan okaychatt@yahoo.com Date: Friday, August 17, 2001 08:53 AM Beej- Since you've read "Grand Inquisitor" twice, PLEASE pop over to BK and join the discussion on that chapter. I found myself a tad confused regarding "freedom." Freedom from what? K, offering Beej a simple way to atone
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (14 of 61), Read 51 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Friday, August 17, 2001 11:36 AM I agree, Anne. My recollection is that the Madame Bovary discussion was a pretty good one. Too bad it is lost forever. I don't think this is a book that ever really scores with readers who are too young. A little experience of the world is necessary. The book could just as easily have been set in provincial Iowa. Steve How far away the ball already seemed! Why should there be such a distance between yesterday morning and tonight? Her trip to Vaubyessard had made a gap in her life like one of those great crevices that a storm sometimes carves out in the mountains in a single night. She resigned herself, however; reverently she packed away in the chest of drawers her lovely dress and even her satin slippers, whose soles had yellowed from the floor wax. Her heart was like them; the wealth had rubbed off on her, something that would never be erased.--Madame Bovary
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (15 of 61), Read 51 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Friday, August 17, 2001 11:43 AM Lynn, all I knew was the Carl Van Doren was a big time literary guy and Mark's brother. I now find that he said this, which I like very much (and James Thurber apparently did, too): A classic is a book that doesn't have to be written again. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (16 of 61), Read 37 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dick Haggart Date: Friday, August 17, 2001 12:31 PM Beej, I'll try to tag along but things are kind of flying around here so I'll be spotty. And, no I didn't translate the whole thing -- good lord. Way less than a hundred pages total, I think, just to get a feel (or try to anyway) of the way the translation might affect the flow of the story, phrasing, etc. It was an interesting if arduous experiment. Helped we had some real French speakers along for the ride to explain those little squiggly marks and like that. Dick "you have to sing your own song in the end." -- John Updike "which is fine, so long as you don't have to mow your own lawn." -- Dick Haggart
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (17 of 61), Read 34 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Friday, August 17, 2001 12:46 PM Or perhaps, Lynn, you wish us to recall his nephew, Charles Van Doren? Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (18 of 61), Read 44 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Friday, August 17, 2001 01:18 PM Well, while we're at it, lets toss in his brilliant literary agent and the love of his life, Mamie Van Doren: http://www.bombshells.com/gallery/van_doren/index.shtml Dick, How I would love to read some of MB in its original language. It must be exquisite. Any time you can afford for MB would be so appreciated.. And what the heck do those squiggles mean? Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (19 of 61), Read 40 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Lynn Isvik washualum@yahoo.com Date: Friday, August 17, 2001 01:31 PM Thanks for all the helpful(?) Van Doren information :-) All I knew was that he probably wasn't related to my Van Doren cousins! Lynn
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (20 of 61), Read 47 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Friday, August 17, 2001 02:02 PM I'm half done with MB, and if my memory serves me correctly, I was much, much more sympathetic toward Emma when I read this as a teenager. But, back then, I KNEW I would eventually marry the most exciting, handsome, brilliant, exotic, generous, charming, attentive, romantic, sensual man to ever walk the face of the earth, and felt sorry that Emma was stuck with this dull Dr.Dudley Do-right. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (21 of 61), Read 39 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Friday, August 17, 2001 03:29 PM (Emma) set herself to discover what it was that people in real life meant by such words as 'bliss', 'passion' and 'intoxication'- words, all of them, which she had thought so fine when she read them in books. I think this is why I related better to Emma, as a person, when I was a teenager. I was as romantically naive as she. And did I find this incredible, superhuman man who was the most exciting, handsome, brilliant, exotic, generous, charming, attentive, romantic, sensual man to ever walk the face of the earth? Nope..instead, I was married and divorced within a few years after reading MB.. So now I am able to read her a bit more realistically. i guess that's the big difference. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (22 of 61), Read 43 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Friday, August 17, 2001 04:31 PM I went thru the same switch as you, Beej. I was totally on her side as a teen. Later, when in my full maturity, I was irritated as hell by her shortsightedness. Even later, in my fuller maturity, I was just sad. Ruth "Nobody belongs to us, except in memory." John Updike
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (23 of 61), Read 42 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Friday, August 17, 2001 07:05 PM All this talk is making me anxious, I hope to get this out of the library tomorrow. I have no recollection whether I felt sorry for her or not. Probably did not so much for the romance but because I always felt women were trapped. But I don't remember. I wonder how not being married, but perhaps a bit more romantic now, will color my reading of it. Sherri
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (24 of 61), Read 44 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Friday, August 17, 2001 07:57 PM You know Ruth, now I'm thinking each classic should be read three times throughout life..as a teen, a adult and in 'fuller maturity.' From this experience, it would be almost as though reading three entirely different novels. Kay and Lynn, Have you met Monsieur Rudolph Boulanger yet? (hold on to your hats when you do meet him!) Since this happens not long after his introduction into the novel, I don't think it will spoil anything for you... Monsieur Boulanger lets his mind dwell on Emma Bovary: Poor little woman - gasping for love like a carp on the kitchen table for water! If I paid her a few compliments, she'd be at my feet - I'm dam' sure of that! And a very charming, sweet little morsel she'd be...But how to get rid of her afterwards 'd be a bit of a problem. Oh, HO!!!! Monsieur Boulanger! What a CAD you are! A weasel, a rogue, if there ever was one! Sherri, I'm looking forward to hearing how your reaction differs from your first read. I know it made a HUGE difference for me! Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (25 of 61), Read 45 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Friday, August 17, 2001 08:03 PM 'Gasping for love like a carp on the kitchen table.' Oh, God..Every time I read that I wish he were real... ...so I could hit him over the head with a skillet. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (26 of 61), Read 40 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Friday, August 17, 2001 08:44 PM 'Gasping for love like a carp on the kitchen table. Jeeze, what writing. I'd kill to be able to toss off a phrase like that. Ruth "Nobody belongs to us, except in memory." John Updike
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (27 of 61), Read 42 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Friday, August 17, 2001 09:48 PM But, Ruth..a CARP?.. I picture Emma flopping around the table, mouth gaping, fins flapping, eyes bugging, panting "Love me! Love me!" And creepy ol' Boulanger standing over her, salivating, with a gutting knife in his hand. Maybe 'carp' is prettier in French. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (28 of 61), Read 42 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Friday, August 17, 2001 10:22 PM But isn't that just the mental picture that Flaubert wanted you to have? Think of the desperation of that carp, out of his element, gasping for his life. He'll do anything for someone who'll give him a nice breath of clean water. That image says it all. Ruth "Nobody belongs to us, except in memory." John Updike
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (29 of 61), Read 35 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Theresa Simpson theresa.a.simpson@gte.net Date: Saturday, August 18, 2001 01:09 AM I read MB when I was in law school; I think I posted on it back on Prodigy. Emma was such a ninny! I had sympathy for her as someone stuck in a life she didn't want, but she was so damn selfish, and not bright enough to really dream of a different life - she was stuck with a kind of formless yearning. The writing (style, gasp!) was great though, even in translation. I went on to read Flaubert's Sentimental Education. This book is not as juicy as MB, but it says a helluva lot more, and more subtly. Highly recommended (but be ready to wade through a lot of topical political/social allusion - you know, the type where one is certain there's a lot of nuance totally out of one's grasp due to being born in the wrong time and place.) Theresa I had to quit my fire-eating career when I could no longer tell when to spit and when to swallow. Daphne Gottlieb
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (30 of 61), Read 33 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Saturday, August 18, 2001 07:35 AM I read it with CC for the first time, and I remember having much the same reaction as Theresa. She really was a ninny, good word for her. But Flaubert made her sympathetic in spite of herself. I voted for Sentimental Education when it was up for CC, but it didn't make the cut. Maybe next year. That carp line is priceless. Thanks, Beej, for reminding me of it. Sherry
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (31 of 61), Read 35 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, August 18, 2001 08:58 AM I've been trying to figure out what all happened here with Emma. Was it a case where she thought marriage would bring her the bliss she had read about in her books? And when that didn't happen, it seems she believed a life of high society was what would make her happy. Then she began to pour over magazines to keep up with high society's fashions and fads. Maybe Charles wasn't the most exciting man around, but he adored her and Berthe. He was hard working...they had a nice home and the respect of their community. Emma's mother-in-law blames books for putting ideas into Emma's head. And this might be true. Emma seems to have a real problem differentiating between fantasy and the real world. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (32 of 61), Read 31 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Janet Mego vsjego@cs.com Date: Saturday, August 18, 2001 10:04 AM Hi, Beej--I did say I'd join this discussion, didn't I ?! What with school starting, computer-greedy kids at home occupying MY place at the works (haha) sometimes only 3-4 hours between get-home time and sleep-time, and trouble getting onto my web board (which I don't think has anything to do with CR), it's been a challenge. . . Dale is GREAT on this novel, he's the one you really want. The first time I heard him speak, to Asa's college world lit class, he made stunning connections between MB and the contemporary world of media influence on today's individual. I have the notes I scrawled somewhere but of course don't remember the details too well--it was a while back, dammit. I taught this book once to honors seniors, and whoever above said it might not be that great with kids was right in a way--they DO in fact need a more "worldly" background of some sort as a foundation, but we had some good discussions anyway. The guys didn't have too much sympathy for poor Emma, perhaps predictably. She was "selfish," self-obssessed, pathetic but not sympathetic in their view. The girls in general were less opinionated, and not as defensive of Emma as I'd found myself hoping (well, I do like a good argument.)--I did realize that they were less inclined to see her as a victim of her environment than I was for the obvious reason that they had not grown up in the 70s with the women's movement, were less inclined to see her as oppressed. Although they did see her as such, not to the extent that I did. Also, as groups of kids go, this one was fairly conservative. I'll try to find my notes from Dale's talk, maybe I'll even email him and beg him to take a break from whatever's consuming him. Also, I need to find time to review. . .this is a worthwhile topic. Janet
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (33 of 61), Read 35 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, August 18, 2001 10:18 AM Hey, Janet! I would love to hear Dale's take on the connections between MB and the contemporary world of media influence. I truly believe the the influence of books had a lot to do with Emma's problems and discontent. (long ago, I had a friend whose marriage crumbled because her husband didn't match up to her favorite soap opera characters..so I know media influence still has its 'pull' in contemporary times. Interesting, huh?) I was probably right around the same age as your honor students when I first read MB. I remember I blamed Charles for Emma's sad life. To me, he was nothing more than a boring, drab lump on a log. Now, as a wife, mother and homemaker, (and quite a few years older) I see things entirely different. Boy, I hope you can talk Dale into stepping in here, at last for a little while. Its bad enough I missed the previous Constant Reader discussion. I'll bet it was just INCREDIBLE! Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (34 of 61), Read 51 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, August 18, 2001 11:43 AM The more I think about this reference of Emma as a carp, the more I see how well it fits into the way a man such as Boulanger would view a woman..anything 'nicer' would denote respect, and he certainly had no respect for women. They existed only for his use and then to be discarded. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (35 of 61), Read 38 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, August 18, 2001 12:52 PM Just listen to what our smooth mover says when he attempts to bed Emma!: I keep you in my heart like a Madonna on a pedestal.. I want to scream "No, no, Emma! Don't fall for it! He keeps you in his heart like a flopping fish on a table!" Rudy, Rudy, Rudy..you cad, you.. He has so many smooth moves his middle name should be X-Lax. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (36 of 61), Read 36 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Saturday, August 18, 2001 03:04 PM Beej, Well, I am certainly enjoying your commentary. :) This book created a scandal when it was originally published. Ah, things were so much tamer then. Ann
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (37 of 61), Read 30 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Saturday, August 18, 2001 04:46 PM I've got my copy and just started. Charles is married to the old widow with the dowry. He's not starting out as an interesting character, I see him plodding around, not knowing what to do with the wife and all her aches and pains. But now all I see is the carp flopping around. Can't wait to get to that passage. Sherri
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (38 of 61), Read 25 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, August 18, 2001 08:01 PM Ann, I'm glad you're enjoying all my comments, but this sort of guy just ticks me off! Sherri, Did you find it odd Charles' parents would encourage this first marriage to woman so much older? Man, was she ever a work of art! Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (39 of 61), Read 24 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Saturday, August 18, 2001 08:56 PM Beej, In times past, money and property counted for a whole lot more than physical appeal. Ann
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (40 of 61), Read 26 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, August 18, 2001 09:03 PM I knew that was true for females and I really should have known it was for men, too, but it still surprised me his parents would arrange such a thing between their only son and a woman past childbearing age. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (41 of 61), Read 25 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, August 18, 2001 09:08 PM I really like this line from MB: 'Human language is like a cracked kettle on which we beat our tunes for bears to dance to, when all the time we are longing to move the stars to pity.' Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (42 of 61), Read 24 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Gail Singer gailsinger_gross@hotmail.com Date: Saturday, August 18, 2001 10:29 PM DALE's busy.. but he will surface soon!! gail...an ardent fan of our CERTIFIED BOOK JUNKIE! 26 DAYS TILL MILWAUKEE!
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (43 of 61), Read 23 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, August 18, 2001 11:54 PM gail, I read your little daily countdown until Milwaukee and wish with all my heart I could be there with y'all. (next year. For certain, next year.....) Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (44 of 61), Read 22 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Sunday, August 19, 2001 07:19 AM I'm enjoying this very much. I thought the widow was an odd choice, but the money angle was important. She was odd in her jealousies, it seemed that she didn't love Charles when she married but maybe she was afraid of being left because she was old. Then when her true money situation was exposed!! I thought it a little odd that she died the next day, but it freed Charles. It's obvious that Charles loves Emma, for the first time he is happy and he wants to do his best and show his love, but never having had love, I think he will not know exactly how to show it to Emma. And I can see already, just after the marriage that he doesn't understand her. And she doesn't know what love is either. She wanted to escape from the farm, and she thought Charles lifestyle would suit her, but, here comes the "media" influence - "what was meant, in life, by the words 'bliss', 'passion', and 'rapture' - words that had seemed so beautiful to her in books." That "rapture" word has me wondering too. LOL. One other thing that struck me as I'm reading, is that this translation seems more "english". It doesn't seem to have a French feel to it. I can't explain it better. Sherri
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (45 of 61), Read 22 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Kay Dugan okaychatt@yahoo.com Date: Sunday, August 19, 2001 10:31 AM Charles has just married Emma. There have been a couple of telling details regarding his personality. The first is after the first Mrs. Bovary's death. He dedicates an evening to remembering. After all, "she had loved him." The second is during the walk from the church to the celebration. Emma stops periodically and tries to remove burrs from her gown with her gloved hands. Charles, with nothing in his hands, simply waits for her. Geesh. He could have beaten Narcissus for being self-centered. Emma doesn't stand a chance. Sherri- I don't get a sense of the story being French at all. Not sure why, either. However, I'm not too far into it. I thought it convenient that Mrs. Bovary kicked the bucket so conveniently, too. I guess it was a case of plot necessity. K
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (46 of 61), Read 23 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Sunday, August 19, 2001 01:12 PM There's been a bit more on Emma's background - the convent, the romantic books- I think this passage at the end of chap.6 says a lot about her - "By the time Charles first appeared at Les Bertaux she thought that she was cured of illusions - that she had nothing more to learn, and no great emotions to look forward to. But in her eagerness for a change, or perhaps overstimulated by this man's presence, she easily persuaded herself that love, that marvelous thing which had hitherto been like a great rosy-plumaged bird soaring in the splendors of poetic skies, was at last within her grasp. And now she could not bring herself to believe that the uneventful life she was leading was the happiness of which she had dreamed." It seems to me that she jumped into a situation not fully aware of what she wanted and what she was getting. I think the same is true for Charles. Both had been living - going through the motions - with emotions they were not fully aware of, and once they start becoming aware, don't know what to do. It seems that perhaps they deserve each other. Sherri
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (47 of 61), Read 28 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Sunday, August 19, 2001 01:30 PM Regarding the conveniency of the death of Charles' first wife; this is a case of truth being stranger than fiction. The character of Charles Bovary was based on a real person by the name of Eugene Delamare. Eugene married a woman five years his senior, who did die shortly after their marriage. He then married the seventeen year old Delphine Couturier, who served as the model for Emma. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (48 of 61), Read 26 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Sunday, August 19, 2001 01:36 PM Wow, Beej, I love that quote you cited earlier. That's a keeper. Ruth "Nobody belongs to us, except in memory." John Updike
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (49 of 61), Read 30 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Sunday, August 19, 2001 01:50 PM Isn't it gorgeous? I knew you would love it too, Ruth! I just read how Flaubert got the name 'Bovary'..apparently, Bova is a slurred, farcical reference to an ox and cart, and 'Ry' is the town where Delamare married and worked. There is a double entendre, here, in the fact that a local woman named Mlle. de Bovery was involved in a notorious poison and adultery trial in 1844.. I also found out MB was originally released as a magazine serial..as were most the classics from this time, it seems. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (50 of 61), Read 24 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Sunday, August 19, 2001 02:15 PM Kay and Sherri, I think Emma REALLY began to run into trouble after she attended the dance party at the house of the Marquis d'Andervilliers. Prior to that, she had her fantasies but it seems the lifestyle she witnessed during this dance made her realize there was an elite group who actually did live such lives as were in her books. To pull out a bit of the quote Steve posted earlier: Her heart was like them (her satin dance slippers): the touch of wealth had stamped it with a mark which would never be effaced. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (51 of 61), Read 19 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Sunday, August 19, 2001 10:00 PM I've decided that Charles Bovary is REAL Gooberhead! (Kay and Janet, I posted that for you!!!) Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (52 of 61), Read 15 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 06:34 AM Beej - I agree the party really put her on the road to ruin! And Charles is definitely oblivious. I liked this description - "Wasn't it a man's role, though, to know everything? Shouldn't he be expert at all kinds of things, able to initiate you into the intensities of passion, the refinements of life, all the mysteries? This(italics) man could teach you nothing; he knew nothing, he wished for nothing. He took it for granted that she was content; and she resented his settled calm, his serene dullness, the very happiness she herself brought him." He is clueless. He just assumes all is well. He's got no ambitions, no desires but food and not to kill anyone with his doctoring. I think I'd be a bit discontent too! Sherri
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (53 of 61), Read 19 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 10:41 AM Sherri, I'm really enjoying your thoughts. Charles had absolutely no lust for life. He had about as much passion as a pile of dirt. He didn't even get worked up when Emma didn't come home all night after her 'piano lesson.' I think there's a lot to explore in this line: 'One should never touch idols: the gilt may come off on one's hands.' Later on, is this question: 'Why did everything on which she leaned crumble immediately to dust? Emma's idols were her fantasies and once these fantasies began to cross over into reality, 'the gold came off on her hands', leaving her with the knowledge they were shams. And she wonders: Why had her life been such a failure? Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (54 of 61), Read 14 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 11:33 AM I'm just at the part where they move. And as I read the description of the country - (from memory I don't have the book with me) - barrren, poor crops, worst Neufatchel cheese, etc. My first thought was - Charles would pick a place like that. Beej - you're a little ahead of me, so I'm not sure about the gilt stuff, but it sounds like Emma - not knowing how to separate, or blend, fantasy and reality. Sherri
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (55 of 61), Read 17 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 11:45 AM Sherri, I'll hold back posting for a little while until you catch up..Let me know when you get to the part where Charles operates on the club foot, ok? (I won't say anymore about that until after you've read it..) Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (56 of 61), Read 13 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 12:45 PM Gosh, it seems to me that you ladies are breaking a little hard on Charles. He's the ideal husband, is he not? Steady, dependable, serious, and adoring. A decent provider. He stays at home and doesn't go out boozing with the boys. It appears to me that Charles is everything a reasonable woman would want in a husband. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (57 of 61), Read 18 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 12:57 PM Steady, dependable, serious, and adoring. A decent provider. So was my FATHER. but I didn't particularly view him as passionate. And I certainly wouldn't find any 'bliss' in a father figure. (Or, perhaps, the operative words are "a reasonable woman." But is passion ever reasonable?) I think most women prefer a touch of smut in their men. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (58 of 61), Read 15 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 01:06 PM Steady, dependable, serious, and adoring don't mean squat if the guy is boring. But then, you know all that, Steve. You're just baiting us. Ruth "Nobody belongs to us, except in memory." John Updike
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (59 of 61), Read 14 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 01:23 PM Steady, dependable, serious, and adoring don't mean squat if the guy is boring Boy, Ruth, ain't that the truth! I can get dependable and adorable from my dog. Emma should have gotten a dog instead. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (60 of 61), Read 6 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 02:50 PM No, I wasn't baiting anyone. Boulanger is passionate. Actually, Leon was passionate, too. Charles is exactly what I said he is and what Boulanger is not--an ideal husband and father. Emma's desire for passion and romance are the result of one thing. She reads too many novels. Therefore, it does not surprise me that you two would consider Charles a bore, novel readers as you yourselves are. Charles's only fault as far as I can recall is that he is a somewhat noisy eater at table. You picked up on Flaubert's foot fetish yet, Beej? Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (61 of 61), Read 3 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 03:00 PM Charles is worse than boring. He's stupid. Ann
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (62 of 62), Read 2 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 03:21 PM I'm going to say something here, that might be deemed a bit inappropriate, but it will suit its purpose. By the same thread of logic as you present, Steve, a perfect wife would be one who keeps a clean home, cooks good and nourishing meals, adores her husband and who is always dependable...in affect, a saint.. BUT...and I think most men would agree, there's an important element missing here. On the surface this appears to be the perfect wife; a saint, but when a saint is on her knees, and ALL she's doing is praying, she's far from the perfect wife, I would think. A perfect husband? Uh, uh. The important element is missing. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (63 of 87), Read 28 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 03:54 PM Stupid? I don't really see how he can be stupid and have become a physician. He may not have been a brilliant surgeon, but he was a good country doctor. Clearly, he took on some surgery here that was beyond his capabilities, but it appears to me that Emma dogged him into that for her own selfish reasons. No, I think the judgment of "stupid" is the most unjust judgment of all. As to your last, Beej, it appears that you are simply explaining again that the intangible quality of passion is missing from Charles. (Interesting manner in which you have chosen to phrase your "saint" example.) But so far, I gather that passion is the opposite of boring. I'll bet there are a lot of women out there who have had the experience of passionate men who would like nothing better than to try boring for awhile--in the sense that Charles is boring. I could be wrong, but I don't think so. You women are ganging up on this poor guy. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (64 of 87), Read 31 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 04:05 PM I guess what I'm trying to say is that, yes..all the qualities you list are wonderful and necessary in a relationship, but that passion is also necessary. As for Emma, I absolutely agree she lived in a fairy tale world, and I find her slurs toward Charles selfish and uncalled for. Just because Charles is dull and passionless is no excuse for Emma's behavior. She has too much time on her hands. I think this is the biggest difference between the first time I read this and now..this time I see Emma as callous and completely self serving ...no matter how dull Charles was, he did love her. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (65 of 87), Read 24 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 04:45 PM Passion, shmassion. What keeps a man from being boring is wit, intelligence, capacity for fun, curiousity, interests. Charles was a stick in the mud. Ruth "Nobody belongs to us, except in memory." John Updike
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (66 of 87), Read 25 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 04:58 PM Absolutely, but to me those qualities are all part of passion. I don't mean passion purely as a definition of sexuality or sensuality, but as a lust for life. I think Emma and Charles each possess what the other lacks. Emma definitely has the lust for life, passion, but lacks devotion, consideration and caring. Charles is devoted, considerate and caring, but lacks passion, a lust for life. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (67 of 87), Read 21 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 05:06 PM Bingo! Ruth "Nobody belongs to us, except in memory." John Updike
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (68 of 87), Read 26 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 05:29 PM I almost forgot to address this foot fetish of Flaubert's. Flaubert uses these little delicious descriptions almost from the start..very, VERY sensual. And if the reader has, by any chance, missed this, Flaubert spells it out toward the end of the novel: Emma visits an attorney and he notices her feet are damp. "Put them on the stove," he said..."higher...on the porcelain." She was afraid of making it dirty. The lawyer protested with a air of gallantry: "Nothing is ever spoiled by beauty." Flaubert uses feet to denote both beauty and homeliness in his women. Obviously, he saw a woman's feet as part of...or lack of...her sensuality. Actually, its quite interesting to watch how Flaubert uses not only feet, but also foot apparel through out this novel. We go from reading of Charles lying in bed next to his old first wife, her feet as cold as icicles, immediately to go to the farm of Emma's father, where Charles studies Emma's pretty little booted heels. And after the eventful dance, its the dance slippers that carry the symbolism of her passion. One gentleman tenderly glances at slippers that were a 'love-gift.' And Emma, whose passion has turned into a hatred for all men, wishes to trample upon them all. The examples are many, many, many. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (69 of 87), Read 21 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Kay Dugan okaychatt@yahoo.com Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 06:45 PM Ok, folks. Now listen up. Here's the Emma and Charles Bovary Gospel according to Kay. Steve - I know you're kidding when it comes to Charles. Charles is a dullard. His surgery bookcase is lined with uncut books, whose bindings are worn from passing through so many hands. In other words, he never opens the darn things. Also, he's an idiot physician, afraid of his patients dying, so all he does is bleed them and give them emetics. He's also called to account once by another physician, and when Charles tells Emma, she loses it because he lost face, and didn't even care. And let's not forget, Mama had to do some fineigling to keep him in med school. Would you want him as your doctor? Would he incite passion in any healthy, intelligent female? NOT! The man is self centered, and hasn't a clue about what Emma is really like or needs. He's not even aware she's unhappy other than to say, "You just need a change of scene." Not once does he ask, "What's wrong? Talk to me." She's a decorative object, a possession, and a complete mystery to him. It never occurs to him to see her as a person. Of course, that wasn't the trend. The only reason he's a good husband is that he doesn't have a clue what makes life vibrant or exciting. He's a good guy simply because he has the imagination of a nit. Oh, and let's not forget how reluctant Charles is to stand up for Emma when his mother comes to visit. Big boys put their wives first and foremost. Other than all that, Charles is a swell kind of guy. Ha! And Emma - yes, she's certainly a ninny, and then some. But look at her childhood - not one opportunity in her 16 odd years before she meets Charles. The convent taught her nothing except to expect angels, miracles, and a white knight. She is capable - she runs the household, and she does seem to enjoy literature. (Ok, ok - we won't go there.) She's never had to face hardship or think for herself. She's always looking to someone else to whisk her off into a new, better, glitzier life. In some ways, I'm reminded of the Movie Goer by Walker Percy. Like his main character, Emma lives her life through books and other people. She does not take direct action for herself. When she and Leon finally take up with each other, it will be because he's playing a role in her script, not because she feels true passion for him. I'm only 1/3 of the way through, so I reserve the right to be totally wrong. I know people like Emma - so caught up in the more is better outlook they cannot enjoy what they have. K
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (70 of 87), Read 21 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 07:31 PM Kay just took the words right out of my mouth! I agree wholeheartedly! Charles is ok as far as he goes, he does love Emma in a way, but he doesn't "understand" her. He wants to do things to show his love for her, but what he does is for himself, not something Emma would see as love. He doesn't realize that there is something wrong with Emma. Now, Emma is a problem too, she lives in a fantasy, and can't quite relate to what's really going on. There's a passage after they move to Yonville (or dullsville) where she is thinking that the move itself will make her life interesting: "like the opening of a new phase of her life. She refused to believe that things could be the same in different places; and since what had gone before was so bad, what was to come must certainly be better." She thinks the location is what will make a difference. She wants things to be different, but doesn't make much of an effort, she wants it all handed to her, and Charles who would hand it to her, doesn't know what to give. It's funny reading this now, because I see all that stuff like forshadowing that we were supposed to pay attention to in high school, but I always missed it. Now it just jumps out at me. I find myself thinking "uh-oh"! Sherri
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (71 of 87), Read 19 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 08:10 PM Great notes, Sherri and Kay. As I said, the 3rd reading of this just made me sad all around. Ruth "Nobody belongs to us, except in memory." John Updike
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (72 of 87), Read 17 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 09:20 PM "Oh, and let's not forget how reluctant Charles is to stand up for Emma when his mother comes to visit. Big boys put their wives first and foremost. Amen, Kay! I do think, however, we need to be careful not to justify Emma's actions. I would guess most girls of her social standing and era had similar backgrounds but did not get swept away by fantasies to this extreme. If every husband who was dull and clueless had a wife who was cold and cheating, the streets of the world would be overrun with Jezabels. All that said, I'm going to stand by my previous statement: CHARLES BOVARY WAS A GOOBERHEAD! Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (73 of 87), Read 16 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 09:36 PM I think another thing we need to keep in mind is that this is Emma's story. I think if we could read Charles' story, we might view this all differently. Flaubert puts us into Emma's thoughts and heart way, way more than he does Charles'. Also, Kay and Sherri, I think as you approach the ending of MB you will feel a bit more tenderness toward Charles. Ruth, I agree...its just plain and simply sad. And human..its such a human story. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (74 of 87), Read 15 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Kay Dugan okaychatt@yahoo.com Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 10:15 PM Oh, I'm sure my opinion will change for both the Bovarys. I was half kidding in my post above. I think Flaubert tempers his descriptions of Emma and Charles with an overall sense of fated unhappiness. I loved the way Flaubert indicated that the move to Yonville was another dead end - figuratively. He describes Yonville, "The street (the only one), a rifle-shot in length and flanked by several shops, stops short at the turn of the road. If one leaves it on the right side and follows the foot of the Saint-Jean hills, one soon reaches the cemetery." Like the beadle tending his garden at the cemetery, Emma and Charles are trying to make a life out of dead, empty expectations and dreams. Flaubert is somewhat empathetic to Emma and Charles. He understands why Emma is the way she is, yet he lets the reader know he also thinks she's a ninny at times. In all, though, I'd say Flaubert sees her as someone to be pitied, even though flawed. She is an intelligent woman - she runs the household and keeps track of the accounts. She has a mind that is not allowed to be used. "But life for her was cold as an attic whose window faces north, and boredom, a silent spider, spun its webs in the shadow of every corner of her heart." Geesh - no wonder she wanted more. And yet, when I think about Emma's distancing herself from her daughter, I lose any empathy I've gained. I wonder if Flaubert felt himself see-sawing that way? K
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (75 of 87), Read 14 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 10:22 PM "But life for her was cold as an attic whose window faces north, and boredom, a silent spider, spun its webs in the shadow of every corner of her heart." Lordie, could this man write..just sentence after beautiful sentence. I don't know how many times I would read something in MB and just gasp from its beauty. it literally would take my breath away. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (76 of 87), Read 6 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Edward Houghton eddh@pacbell.net Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 11:00 PM If the requirement for love is that a man must understand a woman, then this world would be composed of nothing but old maids and old bachelors. EDD
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (77 of 87), Read 7 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 11:09 PM Amen, Edd! Thank goodness for reinforcements. What a dynamite discussion this has become concerning the question of "What women want." My bottom line remains that Emma would have been happy and satisfied and content had she not read novels. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (78 of 87), Read 6 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 11:21 PM Moreover--I find that I'm not finished--Emma's affliction of reading novels led to her failure to appreciate Charles's wonderful qualities. As a direct result of reading novels, she became a slut. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (79 of 87), Read 6 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 11:26 PM In other words, all the female members of this illustrious group are headed straight to hell in a handbasket. Ruth "Nobody belongs to us, except in memory." John Updike
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (80 of 87), Read 6 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 11:30 PM If they take the wrong kind of novels (or films) too seriously, yes. Many's the young lady who flopped too quickly after reading Jane Eyre. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (81 of 87), Read 6 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 11:33 PM Hey! There's worse things that can happen, Ruth! Some things are just worth bad consequences! HAHAHAHHAHAHAAAA!!! I almost fell out of my chair with that one Steve! Hey, you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to go through MB and assemble a reading list of Emma's books. THEN, I'm going to sell it to these old guys in my neighborhood to give to their wives! (I'll be rich by the end of the week!) Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (82 of 87), Read 9 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 11:43 PM On a serious note, I do think Emma was influenced by her books, but I don't think she would have been satisfied AT ALL, even without them. And Boulanger would have still picked up on that.. And what is it with Charles' dirty finger nails? Not only is that a huge turn off, its not exactly what I would want to see on my physician. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (83 of 87), Read 6 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 11:48 PM I'm not going to disagree with that, Beej. My only point is that the "passionate" man that some women seem intent on finding are predators. Boulanger is an archetype in this regard. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (84 of 87), Read 2 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 11:54 PM Absolutely. Boulanger was the skimmed scum off a pond. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (85 of 87), Read 2 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dick Haggart Date: Monday, August 20, 2001 11:55 PM And, I would just add, visit any neighborhood bar and see what kind of premium attaches to clean fingernails among the young women tightly poured into their jeans and tank-tops. Not bloody well much, in my experience. Dick "you have to sing your own song in the end." -- John Updike "which is fine, so long as you don't have to mow your own lawn." -- Dick Haggart
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (86 of 87), Read 1 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 12:00 AM Again, I agree. But Flaubert did seem to go out of his way to make Charles seem repulsive, at least to his female readers. Do you men feel sorry for Emma at all? Or do you think she was a silly, stupid dreamer who wrecked what could have been a good thing? Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (87 of 87), Read 1 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 12:01 AM And I want to add, I do feel sorry for Charles. I think he worked hard and loved his wife. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (88 of 141), Read 59 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 12:19 AM Yes! Please never forget that when reading this, Beej. Had Emma Bovary been married to Edd Houghton, who reported in there every day in the aerospace industry for decades and busted his ass and earned a nice pension so that he and his wife could live somewhat comfortably now, Emma Bovary would have still fucked around on him. And you know why? Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (89 of 141), Read 46 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 01:44 AM I'm hit with another one of those insomnia cases and fall down tired, so I'm not as clear headed as I could be, but no..I'm really not certain as to why Emma Bovary would screw around on Edd..(sorry, Edd..) except to think that Emma never worked a hard day in her life and didn't know the meaning of the word 'appreciation'. Emma took and took. Not one time did she express guilt over these affairs. But I think I know what you will say as to why she'd screw around if married to a good man, such as Edd. And, despite Charles' inadequacies, Emma's betrayals are not justified. This book is such a tragedy. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (90 of 141), Read 46 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Edward Houghton eddh@pacbell.net Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 01:47 AM STEVE Jeeeez! Talk about damning with faint praise. Hadn't realized what a dull life I had. You left out the nerdy glasses, pocket protector and slide rule. But even with those three strikes against me, I still disagree. If Emma had been Mrs Houghton, she would have been so satisfied that she would have had no reason to be slutty anywhere but in the Houghton bedroom. EDD "Sex! Sex! The golem wants sex!..." THE PUTTERMESSER PAPERS by Cynthia Ozick
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (91 of 141), Read 45 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 02:04 AM There's not a doubt in my mind, Edd, you would have set Emma's world on fire..and probably your bedroom, too. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (92 of 141), Read 33 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 08:37 AM You know something, Edd? I was thinking the same thing over coffee this morning before logging on. I sez to myself, "Gosh, I wish I had used a hypothetical guy for my argument instead of Edd Houghton. The Edd Houghton example just doesn't work." So I stand corrected. Edd Houghton is no Charles Bovary. There is such a thing as a man who is not only a devoted husband and father but who also brings such passion to life that no wife of his could have anything left over for some other man. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (93 of 141), Read 36 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 08:41 AM And Edd Houghton has a great sense of humor. From what I remember about Charles Bovary, he wasn't the soul of wit. Sherry
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (94 of 141), Read 36 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 09:18 AM That is an extremely good point, Sherry. The lack of a sense of humor may very well be Charles Bovary's primary fault. So my comparison of Charles Bovary and Edd Houghton was instructive after all--just not in the way I thought at first. It's the contrast between the two that's important. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (95 of 141), Read 40 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Kay Dugan okaychatt@yahoo.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 09:36 AM And though Edd may not understand women, I'm sure he understands that they are individuals with brains and not just possessions or the family pet. Hence, a long-term, happy marriage. A marriage doesn't have to have understanding, but it certainly needs an occasional attempt to understand your spouse. Of course, the spouse needs to appreciate the attempts to understand. Emma was too self-centered for that, even if Charles had had the wits to try. Emma's problem was not just her books. Emma's problem was her character - always catered to, always protected, always led to believe the world would come to her. She was an indulged ninny, taught never to be satisfied with what she had. Neither Emma nor Charles attempted to see the other as a person. Each was focused on himself. Neither took responsibility for his own happiness. It was easier to depend on others for that and to blame them when happiness never came. Emma lived her life according to what she read about in books. Charles lacked a passion for life and had no humor or wit. That's not a good combination if one expects a healthy marriage. I was reminded of David Copperfield and his adoration of Dora, which annoyed me no end. Charles sees Emma as a toy, to be pampered and indulged. That's no basis for a healthy marriage, though pampering and indulgence are highly appreciated and a good first step in this household. What's the moral here? For all marriages to be happy, men and women should first rid their shelves of all books. Then, they should take an EST course to discover the secret of life. Upon graduation, they should spend some time at Haight Ashbury Academy spreading good will and love to all. Last, they should read Madame Bovary and make every attempt to live their lives opposite to how Emma and Charles live theirs, as long as they don't go off the deep end the way Mitya does in BK. K, who denies any influence from the books she's read
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (96 of 141), Read 29 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 09:04 AM I surely do wish that our previous discussion of Madame Bovary had been archived. Had it been I could then prove when I first pointed out Emma's problem of reading too much fiction. Now I find that Erica Jong has stolen my idea lock, stock, and barrel, and there's nothing I can do about it: http://www.salon.com/sept97/bovary970915.html Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (97 of 141), Read 35 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 09:58 AM Wow. I'm lost in my fantasy now of listening to Nabokov lecturing on Madame Bovary! Kay, I do think Emma's downfall was rooted in her novels. I don't think that's really debatable. But that's not to say all women who read will become confused and adulterous, and therefore shouldn't read. I really don't think that's what's being said. Btw, the author of the preface of my copy says Flaubert alludes to the idea that (on top of everything else) Charles was impotent. So there were lots of factors at play, here. (I wonder if Nabokov's MB lecture is anywhere on the net...) Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (98 of 141), Read 30 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Kay Dugan okaychatt@yahoo.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 10:47 AM Beej- I don't think that's what's being said either. I was kidding. K
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (99 of 141), Read 30 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 10:49 AM I know you were...I realized that after i had posted...the moral is, read posts extra careful if you only get a few hours sleep! Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (100 of 141), Read 28 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 10:56 AM Oh dear, I read the article Steve posted, and found out that Emma dies. I didn't know that. Well, I'll still look forward to finding out how it happens. And I haven't yet noticed the foot fetish! Sherri (Thinking of what novels may do for her love life:)
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (101 of 141), Read 28 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 10:52 AM What a romp this discussion is, you guys!!!! Well, I guess I'll hit Madame Bovary soon -- I am barely into Brothers K. so my plan to catch up is a failed one -- but I AM enjoying and will read it. Gotta say though this is one fast moving thread here! To use one of Ruth's expressions -- as you were -- I'll be listening in though! Dottie -- chuckling to herself ID is an oxymoron!
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (102 of 141), Read 33 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 10:59 AM I think the bottom line here, is that Emma simply was not in love with Charles. So what does a young woman in 19th century France do when she realizes, VERY soon after her wedding, that she does not love the man she married? Does she just say 'oh well, them's the breaks' and stick it out for the remainder of her life? Divorce was not, after all, an option for her. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (103 of 141), Read 34 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 11:02 AM Sherri, don't worry about knowing Emma dies. The last twenty or so pages of this book are powerful and incredibly heartbreaking in all that happens after her death. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (104 of 141), Read 40 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 11:09 AM she has a perfectly fine husband who with a little of her showing passion and interest in him might well have been the perfect hubby. Candy wrote this about Emma in the A&C thread, and I agree, except to say Charles was a perfectly fine husband..actually, he was not.. But, maybe if she HAD shown her husband a bit of passion, he would have responded totally different. She did, after all, continuously push him away..good point, Candy. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (105 of 141), Read 31 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 01:32 PM Yeah, I think he could have been ideal. Perhaps one of the reason that I have been defending him so ardently is that I really hated how she ran up the Mastercard and Visa bills on him behind his back. Is that ever a classic! It appears to me that the first thing that occurs to a lot of women who find themselves unhappily married is to go shopping on credit. I think my favorite scene is the one with the county fair and the hog show going on in the background, or whatever it was, while Emma is being romanced. That was so. . .so. . .Iowa! Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (106 of 141), Read 26 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 01:43 PM In fact the more I think about this. . . I have been unhappily married and I've known a whole lot of other men who have been unhappily married, and not one of us to my knowledge ever went out and charged up a new outfit as a result. I haven't checked with Felix or Dale on this, but I suspect they didn't either. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (107 of 141), Read 28 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Lynn Isvik washualum@yahoo.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 01:50 PM I'm sorry but I just can't resist. I too have been unhappily married and yet I never went out and charged a new outfit either. Somehow I don't think this is a gender-specific trait. My unhappy spouse went out and bought cars instead of clothes :-) He took three with him when we divorced. And yes, Steve, I have to agree with you about the Iowa flavor of the hog show and county fair. Somehow, though, I always manage to miss out on the romancing going on in the background {grin}. Lynn
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (108 of 141), Read 30 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 01:59 PM Okay, Lynn, but to me the car purchases make perfect sense. On a related note, my advice to men is always take the better cars and let her have the house. You can always sleep in a car, but you can't drive the house. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (109 of 141), Read 34 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 01:56 PM oh, please...everyone knows unhappily married men go out and charge flashy corvettes. This money issue rankled me as much as her affairs did. How could she be so stupid? and not once did she buy clothes for Berthe, who was clad in torn clothing.. Poor Berthe..she was the true victim of all of Emma's delusions. My favorite scene has to be Leon's and Emma's eventful cab ride...it was just so disgusting that it was fascinating. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (110 of 141), Read 36 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 01:57 PM See what I mean? Lynn and I both brought up the flashy car deal. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (111 of 141), Read 30 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 02:06 PM Yes, the eventful cab ride. It was a well done scene, but I was disgusted, too. . .kinda. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (112 of 141), Read 30 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Lynn Isvik washualum@yahoo.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 02:11 PM (Sigh) I knew I shoulda hired a big city lawyer like you Steve. He got the house, three cars AND my best friend... and I got the Honda with 95,000 miles. Ain't that just life? Lynn
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (113 of 141), Read 33 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Lynn Isvik washualum@yahoo.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 02:12 PM On the other hand, I got all the books :-)
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (114 of 141), Read 33 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 02:12 PM Okay, maybe it wasn't really THAT disgusting. Just a little disgusting. If you really think about it. In detail. Maybe. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (115 of 141), Read 34 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 02:15 PM Lynn, he got the house AND the cars?? Did you have a lawyer at all???? Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (116 of 141), Read 35 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Lynn Isvik washualum@yahoo.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 02:20 PM Of course I had a lawyer, Beej. He was the sweetest little guy... He did taxes too. Ok, if you want the rest of the story... I got a chunk of cash and the chance to move out of Garner (oh yes, AND the books). Not a bad settlement in whole. Lynn
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (117 of 141), Read 38 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 02:23 PM On the subject of Berthe and Emma's neglect of her. You will recall that Emma wanted to have a son because men have all the fun. She quite obviously simply wasn't interested in a daughter. She would have liked to live in some old manor-house, like those chatelaines in their long corsages, under their trefoiled Gothic arches, spending their days elbows on the parapet and chin in hand, looking out far across the fields for the white-plumed rider galloping towards her on his black horse. It appears that Flaubert generally places the blame for her predicament on the stifling nature of existence in rural, middle class France. Nonetheless, this passage indicates to me that the woman had a serious emotional problem. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (118 of 141), Read 38 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 02:39 PM Oh, yes. I had totally forgotten Emma wanted a son. Yes, she sure did have emotional problems. I found this claim of Flaubert's in the preface of my book: "My poor Bovary, without doubt, is suffering and weeping at this very minute in twenty villages of France." I take that to mean the Bovary's story was not a rare one. Even when we first meet Emma, Charles observes: her eyes founder in a tide of boredom, while her thoughts took aimless flight. And the tone of her voice would change from clear to shrill, modulating to a drawl, then drop almost to a whisper. Emma would have been the same in a big town, little town, in a palace or a barn. I really believe this. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (119 of 141), Read 35 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 02:47 PM It just dawned on my thick brain that Emma's choices had absolutely not a thing to do with Charles in any way whatsoever. He was merely her excuse, her means of justifying her actions. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (120 of 141), Read 34 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 03:23 PM If Emma lived in a city, the only difference would be that she'd charge more. There would have been many more temptations for her, and her bill would be even more. Charles was her excuse, but do you think if she had married a man more to her imaginings that she would do the same? If he had paid attention to her or flattered her, would she have gone looking elsewhere? Just curious Sherri
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (121 of 141), Read 33 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 03:41 PM I believe with my entire heart Emma would have gone looking elsewhere no matter what her circumstances, because her lack of fulfillment came from within her, not from her circumstances. Who knows? Maybe the hero of her next novel would have been a hard working doctor living in a little rural French town. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (122 of 141), Read 34 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 04:15 PM Here's a long one. Enter at your own risk. It is interesting to note that most of us here are being harder on Emma than literary critics have been. They seem wont to cast responsibility on everyone and everything but Emma herself. My encyclopedia says this: In essence Madame Bovary is an indictment of the drabness, pretensions, and petty delusions of the life of the bourgeoisie, which Flaubert loathed almost to the point of obsession. He portrayed the tragedy of the characters with a powerfully effective perception that has had a lasting influence as a masterpiece of realism. Then one quite often encounters the feminist view, which takes off on this from the book: A man, at least, is free; he can explore each passion and every kingdom, conquer obstacles, feast upon the most exotic pleasures. But a woman is continually thwarted. Both inert and yielding, against her are ranged the weakness of the flesh and the inequity of the law.... Always there is the desire urging, always there is the convention restraining. Here are some examples only if you're interested: http://www.sunderland.ac.uk/~os0tmc/chemin/bovbourg.htm http://core-relations.uchicago.edu/VolumeIIpages/shoulders.html Check out this quote of somebody named Diana Knight from one of the above: If Emma is unsatisfied with her life and with reality, it is reality which is blamed, not Emma, however unintelligent she may be. Written into her story is the suggestion that although her hopes and dreams almost inevitably wither into lies and disappointments, this is only marginally Emma's fault, for there is something fundamentally wrong with the reality which cannot meet her needs. In other words, despite her silliness, her metaphysical unease is taken seriously. To which I can only respond, "Huh?" Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (123 of 141), Read 32 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 04:30 PM Nothing comes off unscathed here, I think. Dull doctors, terrible MILs, bored silly housewives, and the country bourgeousie (is that spelled right?) all come in for their share. I see Lewis's Main Street. Ruth "Nobody belongs to us, except in memory." John Updike
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (124 of 141), Read 35 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sara Sauers stsauers@att.net Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 05:44 PM Wild Man, you're just jealous because no one takes YOUR metaphysical unease seriously! You should know better than to go to the academy for answers. But here's my fav quote (anyway) from the first of those articles you linked to: Emma rejects good economic management, thrift, hard work and parcimoniousness (sic) and dedicates herself to style. Good grief! Maybe these papers are from some Vogue-reading freshmen rhetoric students, eh? Very entertaining discussion, all. Sara
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (125 of 141), Read 36 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 06:03 PM On that score I can certainly empathize with Emma, Divina. As you well know, I myself have rejected good economic management, thrift, hard work and parsimony and dedicated myself to style. The difference is that I do it with my own Visa card. And I'll have you know that my mother takes my metaphysical unease very seriously and brings me little presents all the time in an attempt to help. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (126 of 141), Read 34 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Janet Mego vsjego@cs.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 07:22 PM Great discussion. I really regret that I couldn't participate. I tried, last night, to post something in response to Steve's comments about Charles and Kay's insight (nice notes, Kay) but got thrown off right as I tried to post. BOY does that make me want to punch out my computer, even at the risk of surgery. Suffice it to say, and this is said with the understanding that much profundity may be sacrificed to the condensed version: 1)Charles Bovary has the sex appeal of a kitchen appliance. (I know, I know, it's already been said. But this time I got to say it!) Going from the ridiculous to the sublime: 2) Looking back over my own notes and articles on the novel, I ran across this: Certainly (the novel) puts its finger on the irrational imbecility of the human species: on Emma Bovary's serious assimilation of cheap romantic novels and its catastrophic consequences; and on the hypocrisy of churchmen and freethinkers alike. Only an idiot and a tax collector are decent--and they play tiny parts in the plot. But a few critics and most readers find true pathos in the book, because they feel that Emma, despite her faults, gets more than she deserves--and that this is tragic. They find in her a certain nobility, and in the novel a great depth of feeling. So. NOBILITY? Say what?? Comments? Steve--apologies if any of this is redundant re' your link. I haven't gone there yet, but plan to. There are NOT enough hours in my day. Janet
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (127 of 141), Read 32 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sara Sauers stsauers@att.net Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 07:26 PM I think Emma would have gladly max'd out her own VISA card, if she could have gotten one. (This scene will be in the "updated" 21st-century movie version [followed by the obligatory filing for bankruptcy], introduced with the tiny, tiny credit line: "based on the novel by Gustave Flaubert.") Quoting Knight again: ...for there is something fundamentally wrong with the reality which cannot meet her needs. Why does this idea as an excuse for Emma's action trouble me so? Isn't this the deal in ALL of life? This doesn't seem like any special consideration for Emma's "reality." Sara
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (128 of 141), Read 31 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Kay Dugan okaychatt@yahoo.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 07:51 PM The only one that can meet Emma's needs is Emma herself, and VISA card or no, that ain't a gonna happen with her mindset. Reality plays only a peripheral role with Emma's unhappiness. Geesh - she doesn't even bother to take an interest in her child. Emma just sits back and waits for the world to arrive on her doorstep. It's a version of the Scarlett O'Hara Syndrome - "I'll deal with life tomorrow, but only if it's offered on a silver platter by the Viscount himself." K
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (129 of 141), Read 32 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Kay Dugan okaychatt@yahoo.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 07:56 PM Is Flaubert's commentary on the bourgeoisie any different from today's authors commenting on the emptiness of consumerism? We have just as many unhappy people around, always wanting what they don't have, rarely considering what they do have or how to enjoy it. Just a thought. K
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (130 of 141), Read 29 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 08:35 PM First we gang up on Charles, and then we're harder on Emma than most literary critics. Well, I think that's a healthy thing..we aren't blindly taking sides, but are searching everywhere for the answer to the question, "How the HELL did this happen?!" I think it was simply that all the right circumstances came together to result in all the most tragic outcomes. Sara, Quoting Knight again: ...for there is something fundamentally wrong with the reality which cannot meet her needs. That really bothers me, too..first because we all need to deal with the reality in which we live, but also because this was precisely the train of thought that caused Emma all her troubles in the first place! (As for the Connor Visa card..John likes to tell people he and I split it right down the middle, and we do... I get the card, he gets the bill..) Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (131 of 141), Read 23 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 08:53 PM I got a huge kick out of this, from the introduction of my book: 'Emma's experiments are doomed, one might say, because she fails to recognize that she IS a character in a novel; the fact that the writer and reader know she is provides the ULTIMATE grounding for the novel's ironic perspective.' Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (132 of 141), Read 18 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Janet Mego vsjego@cs.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 09:10 PM On 08/21/2001 8:35:00 PM, Beej Connor wrote: >I think it was simply that all >the right circumstances came >together to result in all the >most tragic outcomes. > >> > Yes--it's that Murphy guy. Somebody should do something about him. Good post, Beej. Janet
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (133 of 141), Read 20 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Janet Mego vsjego@cs.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 09:12 PM Or all the wrong circumstances. Janet
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (134 of 141), Read 13 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dick Haggart Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 10:10 PM I have absolutely nothing to add to (all) your delightful comments on this remarkable book. O.K. I'm lying. But it is true that I have nothing substantive to add. Dick "you have to sing your own song in the end." -- John Updike "which is fine, so long as you don't have to mow your own lawn." -- Dick Haggart
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (135 of 141), Read 13 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 10:18 PM Dick, I was hoping you would give us your honest opinion of Emma... Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (136 of 141), Read 10 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 10:30 PM I've been dying to ask this question..what if the genders were reversed and all else was the same...would a man be easier forgiven for his affairs if the wife was dull and passionless? Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (137 of 141), Read 20 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 10:31 PM Divina, you query: Quoting Knight again: "...for there is something fundamentally wrong with the reality which cannot meet her needs." Why does this idea as an excuse for Emma's action trouble me so? I think I know why. Because it's bullshit. I have concluded that those whose essays on this book I have been reading are all youngsters. I'm tellin' ya! If these folks really believe this stuff they write, life is going to be very difficult for them. In fact I have decided that in addition to getting down on my knees every morning and thanking Jesus that I'm not female, I am also going to thank Him that I'm over fifty. Even more importantly, this novel was published when Flaubert was about 36. We know how long and hard he worked on it, which means to me that he wrote it in his early thirties. A twerp....a genius, but a twerp. So maybe he thought he was writing an indictment of bourgeois life, but I'm not so sure he understood all the ramifications of what he wrote. Anyway, Janet, the sex appeal of a kitchen appliance? Obviously, you don't know how I feel about my Panasonic Carousel Sensor Cook microwave. Beej, help me. What was the deal with Emma's father and the marriage? He liked the idea of Charles because there was going to be no big demand for a dowry? Is that right? The fact that Charles' mother picked his first wife for him is pretty rich, I think. Whatever I say, please remember that I think this is one of the ten best novels of all time, and I ain't alone. Thanks for cranking it up again, Beej. Steve I am delighted to inform you that I don't have any problems that a huge influx of cash wouldn't solve.--The Wild Man
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (138 of 141), Read 21 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 10:36 PM Beej, I find that you pose thusly: I've been dying to ask this question..what if the genders were reversed and all else was the same...would a man be easier forgiven for his affairs if the wife was dull and passionless? Beej, I consider this question to be rank cheating. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (139 of 141), Read 15 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 10:48 PM You're welcome..I'm getting so much out of this discussion its incredible! I'm having fun, here... I think the dowry was the big concern for Rouault. Rouault did have a plantation, and was considered wealthy, but the plantation wasn't very profitable by the time Charles appears on the scene..Even before, Rouault would lie in bed at night and worry about Emma's eventual marriage and the expected dowry..He had just decided it would be necessary to sell 20 acres in order to pay off debts. Also, he really wanted Emma off his hands. Rouault had heard Charles was educated and careful with money, so this seemed the perfect marriage candidate to him. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (140 of 141), Read 15 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 10:50 PM Please explain 'rank cheating'...I have no idea what that means... Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (141 of 141), Read 11 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 11:16 PM Thank you, Beej. You know, it is so much fun to go back and reread the opening chapters of this book, which I am doing now. I do regret having argued with Ann Davey about Charles' intelligence. What a dope! And rendered so for the most part by his parents. I must re-evaluate Charles now. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (142 of 154), Read 42 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Wednesday, August 22, 2001 01:06 AM Arrrgh, Steve. Charles was a dolt and Emma a ninny, and nothing entirely excuses their treatment of each other. But can you say seriously that you don't think their environment exacerbated the problem? Would you willingly volunteer to live in such a place? If you did, I have a feeling you'd be more like Emma than like Charles, in that you'd fight tooth and tennis shoe to live the life you wanted. She may have gone about it all wrong. Her expectations and desires may have been entirely screwed up by reading the 19th c. French equivalent of Barbara Cartland. But can you see her glorying in the Pig Show? Ruth "Nobody belongs to us, except in memory." John Updike
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (143 of 154), Read 46 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Theresa Simpson theresa.a.simpson@gte.net Date: Wednesday, August 22, 2001 02:03 AM Thank you all, you gave me several laughs for the day. Edd, you are in your usual fine form. Steve, you too. And the rest a' ya. And, Ruth, in response to your last post, Steve lives in Iowa doesn't he? This is NOT a dis of Iowa; it's merely an observation. Theresa I had to quit my fire-eating career when I could no longer tell when to spit and when to swallow. Daphne Gottlieb
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (144 of 154), Read 39 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Wednesday, August 22, 2001 07:07 AM Just to answer Beej's hypothetical - I think the man would have been excused if the roles were switched. I'm enjoying the discussion and haven't finished reading the book! I think Emma's main problem is herself - she was unhappy, married to a dull man, etc. but she never took responsibility for it. She would start things and give up and if she could have stuck to something, like the Italian, then maybe, just maybe she would have found a little bit of happiness. I thought this explained a lot: "Her carnal desires, her cravings for money, and the fits of depression engendered by her love gradually merged into a single torment; and instead of trying to put it out of her mind she cherished it, spurring herself on to suffer, never missing an opportunity to do so. A dish poorly served or a door left ajar grated on her nerves; she sighed thinking of the velvet gowns she didn't own, the happiness that eluded her, her unattainable dreams, her entire cramped existence. What exasperated her was Charle's total unawareness of her ordeal. His conviction that he was making her happy she took as a stupid insult: such self-righteousness could only mean that he didn't appreciate her. For whose sake, after all, was she being virtuous? Wasn't he the obstacle to every kind of happiness, the cause of all her wretchedness, the sharp-pointed prong of this many-stranded belt that bound her on all sides?" Sherri
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (145 of 154), Read 41 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Wednesday, August 22, 2001 09:47 AM That is a revealing passage, Sherri, very descriptive of her predicament. Ann, as for Charles' medical studies we have this: He could make nothing of it. He listened as hard as he could, but he couldn't get hold of it at all. However, he persevered, had notebooks specially bound, attended every lecture, never missed a demonstration. He got through his little daily task like a mill horse that plods round and round in the same place with his eyes blindfolded, never knowing in the least what it is he is grinding at. So this guy was actually studying for malpractice. Beej, the rank cheating to which I referred is this. We were in the midst of a disapproving discussion of a woman's conduct when you suddenly asked, "What if a man did this?" You mustn't do that. It's cheating. I thought everyone knew this is cheating. Divina saw her first hog show this past weekend, Ruthie. I'm not kidding. Is that a remarkable coincidence or what? Cash is always good, Lynn. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (146 of 154), Read 48 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, August 22, 2001 10:15 AM Well, now wait until you hear where I wanted to go with that before you label it as rank cheating! Most of the women here, at least at first, jumped all over Charles. he was dull..he was inattentive...he was inadequate...none of us, I don't think, could TRULY blame Emma for wanting more of a man. of course, her actions were wrong, but who could really blame a woman for wanting passionate love made to her! But, if we gender reverse this, we women would not cut Charles an inch of slack.. I really believe this..We would call him a 'player', a scoundrel (perfect word for a 19th century rogue, isn't it?) If Emma were a good little wifeymamacakes, but had about as much life to her as a dull piece of driftwood, we women would not care! Emma could be deader than a doornail, in a chair, rotting away, and we would jump all over a man who was having an affair! Forgive him? Justify his cheating? No way! He'd be dirt under our feet. (cash is good, but, as Sara can now tell you, NOTHING beats a good hog holler!...well, almost nothing...) Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (147 of 154), Read 23 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, August 22, 2001 04:03 PM I deleted my last note because it sounded so hard and I don't think I was getting across what I'm trying to say. I just think we women are more forgiving of an adulterous woman (Emma) with a dull husband than we would be of a adulterous man with a dull wife. I'm just trying figure out why the women readers here seem to be more defensive of Emma and critical of Charles than male readers are. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (148 of 154), Read 17 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Wednesday, August 22, 2001 04:20 PM I think there's plenty of blame to spread around. Charles is not too bright, dull, uninteresting, uninterested. Emma is silly, vain, depending on others to save her. Their environment produced Charles, and drove Emma to distraction. Mixing all three is a surefire recipe for disaster. Ruth "Nobody belongs to us, except in memory." John Updike
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (149 of 154), Read 19 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, August 22, 2001 04:26 PM But I'm not sure, even if Charles was any different, that Emma would not have travelled down the same road. Didn't she begin to tire of Leon? Ruth, if Emma had been the dull, disinterested one, and Charles the adulterous and more exciting character, do you think we woman would even think of justifying his actions the way we did Emma's? Would we still spread the blame around simply because the wife was dull? Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (150 of 154), Read 20 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sara Sauers stsauers@att.net Date: Wednesday, August 22, 2001 05:28 PM But can you see her glorying in the Pig Show? You know, if a Pig Show is what you have where you are, I say go explore it and lose the fantasies about the velvet dresses and the white-plumed man on the black horse! That's what I do here in Iowa. Last weekend at the State Fair I learned all about the long, level and lean look desirable in today's farrows. Yep. Sara
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (151 of 154), Read 14 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Wednesday, August 22, 2001 06:31 PM Last time I went to a Pig Show (Quincy County Fair, c1980) I damn near got run over by the pigs. Ruth "Nobody belongs to us, except in memory." John Updike
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (152 of 154), Read 12 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, August 22, 2001 08:15 PM I've been reading through pieces of the beginning of the book. Actually, Charles tried to be affectionate toward Emma, at first, but she spurned him: Tiptoeing across the floor, he kissed the back of her neck. She uttered a little cry. ...Sometimes he gave her great big smacking kisses on the cheek, sometimes fluttered his lips along her naked arm from finger-tips to shoulder. And she would shake him off, half laughing, half annoyed, as one might have done some troublesome child. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (153 of 154), Read 11 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Lynn Isvik washualum@yahoo.com Date: Wednesday, August 22, 2001 08:23 PM Why do you think Emma reacted the way she did to Charles's attempts? It seems to me that the Morticia/Gomez action he was trying might have come close to the kind of thing she was used to reading about in her novels anyway. Lynn
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (154 of 154), Read 11 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, August 22, 2001 08:27 PM Well, Flaubert goes on to write that Emma did not experience the happiness she presumed she would after marrying, so: She must, she thought, have been mistaken.. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (155 of 179), Read 60 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 08:22 AM You ladies are clearly asking the right questions here, it seems to me. Charles fluttered his lips along her naked arm from finger-tips to shoulder. . . I am told that every woman's arm is a little bit different. One first has to determine precisely where to flutter. Some places on the arm are more sensitive than others. Then it is a good idea to vary the pace and intensity of the flutter. Sometimes little pauses between flutters are good. This all requires practice and a little experimentation. In the end I suspect that Charles was just no damned good at this. Steve A woman may be sexually attracted to many men in her life, but she can only truly adore about fifty.--Sovrana Sostrata.
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (156 of 179), Read 51 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 10:23 AM Charles WAS inexperienced. His first wife was an old dried up cold-footed woman (I think those icicle feet were symbolic of more than frigid little toes.) And he was too poor as a younger man to have a mistress. (Money plays a bigger part in this novel than sex. It seems to be the guiding force through-out the book.) But, if Charles, as much as he adored Emma, had even once stopped centering on what he felt, and concentrated a little more on what she felt..or didn't feel, he would have realized he was missing the mark, so to speak. But, no, Charles treated Emma as an ornament. Yes, he adored her, but HIS heart was what mattered the most to him. Beej A man may be sexually attracted to many women in his life, but he can only truly adore himself.--Beejrana Connorstrata. (At least, in Charles' case...)
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (157 of 179), Read 41 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Kay Dugan okaychatt@yahoo.com Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 11:11 AM Remember when I said I reserved the right to be wrong about Charles and Emma? Well..... I just finished the novel, and have a completely different attitude toward Charles. Yes, he's still dull and a nitwit. However, he did love Emma, and did all he knew to do to keep her happy. For him, that meant buying her nice things and catering to her every whim. It's important to remember that Mme. Bovary Sr. raised him to cater to women. He was used to depending on women to run his home, see to his happiness, and solve any tiresome obstacles thrown in his path. It was Mme. B. Sr. that decided his career, kept him in med school, and selected his first bride for him. He is a nitwit. How could he not know his wife was having an affair with Rodolphe?! Even after Emma's death, when he finds R's. last letter to her, Charles thinks, "Perhaps they loved each other platonically." Yeah, right. He also buys Emma's explanation of why the music teacher didn't know her. Okey dokey. Actually, he ends up paying her for lessons Emma never took. Yet Charles is basically a good guy. As Steve pointed out, he gets up every day and sees to his ineffective, timid practice of medicine. He is aware Emma is unhappy, but is incapable of reaching out to her to discuss it. So, he buys her things. I never did warm up to Emma, though. She remains incredibly self-centered, driven by what she does not and cannot have. I could not find empathy for her other than to wish no one would have to suffer emotionally the way she does. She refuses to accept responsibility for her own happiness. That may not be her fault, due to the way she was raised. Yet, at some point, it is important to realize that in order to be happy, one must look to what you do have and look for the joy of everyday life. Emma is not someone I would care to know. It is interesting to me that she has no true female friends. Even Felicite, in whom Emma confided and borrowed money from, is not her friend in spirit. F. only wanted E.'s clothing hand me downs. Emma isolated herself from all female friendship. This novel is more about greed than love. It's ironic that the draper is named L'Heureux, which means "happiness" in French. Money and things are certainly not what Emma needs for happiness. Emma is greedy for personal fulfillment and wild escapades in love. Homais is greedy for recognition and status. Flaubert ends his novel with, "He has just received the cross of the Legion of Honor." What an indictment of all the greedy souls that inhabit Yonville. Emma kills two with her greed - herself and Charles. Berthe's fate will also be affected by Emma's greed. This is some read! K
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (158 of 179), Read 38 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Kay Dugan okaychatt@yahoo.com Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 11:20 AM And now I find myself wondering what makes the difference between someone who seemingly thrives on money and material goods, like Homais and L'Heureux, and someone like Emma? Is the difference in what they are truly seeking, even though the objectives are the same? For example, is it possible that the Emmas have a deeper need for love and connection to others than the others? What, if anything, made Emma different? She wasn't mean spirited, which is one difference I see. Just thinking as I write...... K
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (159 of 179), Read 42 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 11:42 AM Kay, Its a incredible book, isn't it? I don't think Emma was a bad person. Neither was Charles. Emma, especially, made choices that were absolutely horrendous, but I really don't think they were made because she was bad, but because she was miserably sad. And, who knows why, really? On the surface she had everything good in life. Charles may not have been dashing, and he might not have considered her feelings the way he could have, but he wasn't a bad man. He did the best he knew how to do. And there is the real tragedy. The real tragedy about this book is that these were simply normal, everyday people who only wanted some happiness in life. They just didn't know how to get it. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (160 of 179), Read 43 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 11:50 AM It would have been so much easier to understand all that happened if we could just point a finger and say, "There! There's what went wrong! This is why it all happened as it did!" And we readers went back and forth trying to find the real culprit in this mess, something or someone on which to place the blame. But, the truth is, there really WASN'T a single culprit, not really. And I think the book leaves us with not only a feeling of sadness, but an uneasy feeling in the back of our minds, that this, to some extent, could have been us, or someone we love. Because isn't happiness, or at least contentment, the ultimate goal we all look for in our lives? Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (161 of 179), Read 40 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Kay Dugan okaychatt@yahoo.com Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 11:58 AM Yes, it is a tragedy. Emma's desperation at the end is pitiful. Yet, I didn't miss her the way Charles did. I was angry at her on his account. And Berthe's. Now I'm wondering if perhaps the difference between Emma's search for money and things and the search of Homais might be due to something lacking in Emma. What tips me off is her complete dismissal of Berthe from her life. Even Homais, self centered as he was, seemed to take enjoyment in his children. On the other hand, Emma was someone who would gladly beg for attention. She begged of both Rodolphe and Leon. Her need was too great. Neither man was willing to live her life for her. In that sense, no man could possibly be the love of her life for long. You're right, Beej. Emma would always be a philanderer. She was born to be a taker. Perhaps her problem is a combination of lacking a critical component of personality and an intense, overriding desire to have the world accommodate to her needs? K
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (162 of 179), Read 39 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Kay Dugan okaychatt@yahoo.com Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 12:02 PM I don't condemn Emma for seeking happiness or contentment. I find fault with her methods and lack of insight. She does not learn from her experiences. Emma makes no changes from the beginning of the book to its conclusion. I have empathy for her. I just don't like her. I don't think we are meant to like her, but I do think we are meant to feel pity. K
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (163 of 179), Read 41 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Pres Lancaster plancast@neteze.com Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 12:10 PM "She does not learn from her experiences." Quote from Kay. Almost says it all. Wanting the impossible can happen to anybody, but failing to learn how to escape one's miseries, that's bad. Tobermory The eternal verities don't seem to have much of a shelf-life these days.
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (164 of 179), Read 32 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 03:07 PM Emma reminds me of people who search for happiness, or long for something, and look for it outside themselves instead of within. Emma thinks money and things will heal the hole within, and she follows that route instead of looking within to discover the true source of her unhappiness. Sherri
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (165 of 179), Read 33 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 03:23 PM Sherri, I think lots of people try to blame external circumstances for unhappiness because if they look internally, it means they will have to change. That can be pretty painful, sometimes. Of course, Emma never learned from her experiences. You can't learn from your mistakes if you don't think that you made mistakes! And the only time I remember Emma admitting to herself she made a mistake was with her marriage to Charles in the first place.. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (166 of 179), Read 28 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 03:32 PM Beej you're absolutely right. Emma would never admit or even understand that she was part of her own problem. As for Charles, he was lifeless, and insensitive and selfish, but he did think about it a little, I think he thought he was showing his love. Sherri
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (167 of 179), Read 26 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 05:58 PM Ok, I finished. Great story. Sad all around. A couple of questions though. 1) When Emma is dying there is this exchange: "Don't cry! she said. I shan't be tormenting you much longer." Why did you do it? What made you?" "It was the only thing" she answered. "Weren't you happy? Am I to blame? But I did everything I could...!" "Yes...I know...You're good, you're different..." Ok, do you think she really meant it? It seems almost an admit ion to me that she realized his qualities. And Charles? Is he admitting fault? 2) What did Charles die of? And poor Berthe. Sherri
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (168 of 179), Read 28 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dick Haggart Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 06:37 PM Don't you think it was a broken heart? Dick "you have to sing your own song in the end." -- John Updike "which is fine, so long as you don't have to mow your own lawn." -- Dick Haggart
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (169 of 179), Read 31 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Kay Dugan okaychatt@yahoo.com Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 07:16 PM Either that, or he got the final Visa bill. Hopefully, his Bush refund check is in the mail. K
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (170 of 179), Read 30 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dick Haggart Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 08:11 PM Lessee, what were his last few days like: he opens the desk and finds all the nasty love letters, he's off to market to sell his last horse so they can eat for a few more, miserable days when he runs into Rudy, who buys him a beer while thinking the poor sap looks and acts utterly ridiculous, and all the while his daughter is showing definite signs of tuberculosis, if I read the signs correctly. I think maybe the VISA bill would have put him over the top alright. Dick "you have to sing your own song in the end." -- John Updike "which is fine, so long as you don't have to mow your own lawn." -- Dick Haggart
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (171 of 179), Read 35 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 08:21 PM Sherri, I don't think Emma ever doubted Charles' goodness. And, of course, he died of a broken heart, while clutching the lock of her hair he cut after her death. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (172 of 179), Read 40 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Pres Lancaster plancast@neteze.com Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 08:48 PM ACK ! Gabriel Ernest The eternal verities don't seem to have much of a shelf-life these days.
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (173 of 179), Read 36 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 09:51 PM Pres! Why ACK!, and who in the world is Gabriel Ernest? Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (174 of 179), Read 38 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Janet Mego vsjego@cs.com Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 10:36 PM I'm torn between three options here and combinations thereof: Emma was a victim of Flaubert's setting. Emma was a victim of what I call the "badboy syndrome:" young girls, and (I hate to admit it) myself included at a younger (OK MUCH younger) age, are bored to tears sexually speaking by anything that is not decked out head-to-toe in black leather with at least 17 body piercings, and riding a motorcycle, or the equivalent, metaphorically speaking. Or by that which is not Rudolphe, the Flaubert-setting equivalent. Emma was maybe a victim, but was also superficial and greedy enough an individual to be labeled a "ninny," as Kay puts it. Where is the "nobility" the critic I quoted earlier claims "most readers" insist on finding in Emma? I haven't a clue. In fact, I think that's a load of crap. And reversing the sexes and asking how sympathetic we'd be toward a male Emma is a great question, especially if "Rudolphe" happened to be a blonde with an IQ less than her waist measurement. I can still empathize with Emma as she shakes off Charles's flutters with laughter and annoyance, but she irritates me, too, at this point, more than ever. I've learned a lot here. Janet
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (175 of 179), Read 29 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 11:11 PM 'Emma was a victim of what I call the "badboy syndrome'..God, Janet, weren't we all? Gabriel Ernest is a short story by Saki..(I looked it up..) http://www.geocities.com/short_stories_page/sakigabrielernest.html Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (176 of 179), Read 34 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 11:38 PM One of the things this discussion has done for me is focus my attention on Charles. It has never troubled me that I don't understand Emma completely. I mentioned earlier rereading the opening portions of this novel. It is more fascinating reading for knowing what comes later. Regarding Charles as a child: His mother fed him on sweets; his father let him run about without shoes or stockings, saying, to show what a philosopher he was, that it would be a good thing to let him go naked, as the animals did their offspring. In contrast to the mother's ideas, he entertained certain manly notions regarding the upbringing of children. He believed in hardening them off, like the Spartans, so as to make them tough and wiry. He made his son undress in the cold, taught him to drink neat rum and to jeer at church processions. But the child, being a harmless little urchin, made no great progress in these truculent accomplishments. His mother always kept him tied up to her apron-strings; she cut out scraps for him, told him stories, and made up countless tales full of wistful gaiety and playful prattle. She sought solace for the loneliness of her life by lavishing on her child all her own shattered and forsaken ambitions. And there's more that's just as troubling! (Just trying to keep the length of the quotations under control.) It's like the kid is being raised by The Great Santini on the one hand and Celia, Dorothea's sister in Middlemarch, on the other. The father is sick macho, and the mother is doting to the point of whacked out. I don't know that the psycho-babble would be for the impact of this kind of upbringing on a kid, but the vernacular would be that he's destined to be screwed up. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (177 of 179), Read 37 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 11:41 PM Also, his mother dressed him funny for school. I know that sounds funny, but the last thing this kid needed was to be set up for ridicule from his peers. And then mother married him off to an older woman who was as wacko as she was. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (178 of 179), Read 38 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Thursday, August 23, 2001 11:45 PM Yes, it was the mother who prevailed. She made Charles into a complete weenie. Initially when reading this book, one kinda rolls past all this stuff about Charles without it really registering because one's attention is drawn to Emma--or one is awaiting her appearance. See! I've managed to come full circle on Charles since the beginning of this session. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (179 of 179), Read 3 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Friday, August 24, 2001 10:15 AM I've started reading Main Street, the selection for Oct. because I'll be away for part of the month, and I do want to read this and discuss, so I'm jumping ahead, anyway, I came across a comment that I thought applied to Madame Bovary. There are two college students, about to graduate, the young man is trying to convince the girl to marry him: "I'm going to be a big lawyer, maybe a judge, and I need you and I'd protect you --" "Would you take care of me?" "You bet I would! We'd have, Lord, we'd have bully times in Yankton" "But I want to do something with life." "What's better than making a comfy home and bringing up some cute kids and knowing nice homey people?" It was the immemorial male reply to the restless woman. I read that and thought of Charles and Emma, she was a bit restless, he thought having kids and a home was the greatest thing. It just struck me as an odd connection. Sherri
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (180 of 193), Read 31 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Lynn Isvik washualum@yahoo.com Date: Friday, August 24, 2001 10:57 AM I'm not sure Emma was totally clueless about the nature of the passions she was so fond of reading about. At the end of Part II, when she and Charles were at the play, she reflects that "that happiness, no doubt, was a lie invented for the despair of all desire. She now knew the smallness of the passions that art exaggerated. So, striving to divert her thoughts, Emma determined now to see in this reproduction of her sorrows only a plastic fantasy, well enough to please the eye, and she even smiled internally with disdainful pity..." Even though she recognized that art exaggerated passions she was still powerless to resist trying to find that "grand passion" of her dreams. Lynn
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (181 of 193), Read 34 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Friday, August 24, 2001 11:15 AM Yeah, Lynn, I agree..Emma began to wise up just a little bit..But our girl STILL couldn't keep her foot totally out of the fantasy! She was convinced the leading man had singled her out in the audience and was saying his pretty love words directly to her. (Oh, Emma, Emma! You just can't help yourself from flopping around like a carp on a table, can you?..) Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (182 of 193), Read 32 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Lynn Isvik washualum@yahoo.com Date: Friday, August 24, 2001 11:21 AM Yes, I have to say that I just shook my head when she started imagining the life they could have together. What a hopeless case of longing for a fantasy world! Lynn
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (183 of 193), Read 31 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Friday, August 24, 2001 12:00 PM Sherri, I'd forgotten we were going to read Main Street here when I dropped in a remark about it earlier in this discussion. There are some connections, aren't there. It'll be interesting to compare them. Ruth, who's read MS twice or maybe more "Nobody belongs to us, except in memory." John Updike
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (184 of 193), Read 24 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, August 25, 2001 11:42 AM Kay, you had mentioned that Emma's upbringing contributed to her living in a fantasy world, and you're right! While at the convent school: (Emma) moved in a sort of mystic dream....The metaphors of affianced lover, husband, divine wooer and eternal marriage, which were for ever recurring in the sermons that she heard, moved her heart with an unexpected sweetness.... Accustomed to stillness, she sought its opposite in tumultuous scenes. if she loved the sea, it was because of its storms. Boy, No wonder she was always looking for more, more, more...and of all the men she might have married, Charles was about as far from an image of a divine lover as she could have gotten! Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (185 of 193), Read 25 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, August 25, 2001 11:45 AM But I still hold to my belief that Emma would have been okay if she had not gone to that dance..It was then that she realized some folks really do live the sort of lives she had only read about in her novels. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (186 of 193), Read 24 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Saturday, August 25, 2001 12:18 PM So dancing really does lead to damnation? Ruth "Nobody belongs to us, except in memory." John Updike
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (187 of 193), Read 26 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, August 25, 2001 12:29 PM The select bibliography in the front of my copy says: Readers who have enjoyed 'Madame Bovary' should go on to try 'L'Education sentimentale, Trois contes', available in paperback English translation. Has anyone here read this? I'm seriously thinking of picking this one up. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (188 of 193), Read 26 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, August 25, 2001 12:44 PM Actually, this 'L'Education sentimentale, Trois contes' looks pretty good... Two brothers, Henry and Jules, are the central characters. Henry has a passionate affair, runs away with his mistress (a married woman, who is some respects anticipates Emma Bovary), gets bored and ends up a banal man of the world. Jules falls in love, becomes disillusioned and turns to art as the only medium through which the powers of the imagination can be brought to fruition. So again, Flaubert writes about the attempt to make the real world conform to the world of the imagination.. Yepper, I'm going to pick this one up... Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (189 of 193), Read 25 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Saturday, August 25, 2001 01:31 PM I'd be interested in your thoughts on that one Beej. My book group read it, or tried to, I just couldn't get into it. Could have been my mood, but I didn't get very far. Sherri
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (190 of 193), Read 24 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, August 25, 2001 02:15 PM Sherri, (or anyone) What is the title in English? I'll see if I can hunt down a copy this week. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (191 of 193), Read 22 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Saturday, August 25, 2001 03:32 PM A Sentimental Education. Ruth "Nobody belongs to us, except in memory." John Updike
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (192 of 193), Read 23 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, August 25, 2001 03:38 PM Ruth, thanks, but that part I figured out..it was the 'Trois contes' I don't get. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (193 of 193), Read 24 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Saturday, August 25, 2001 03:58 PM Three tales? Where's Jane when we need her. Ruth "Nobody belongs to us, except in memory." John Updike
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (194 of 197), Read 22 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, August 29, 2001 10:30 AM I would like to get into this club foot operation that Charles so thoroughly botched. Its already been pointed out that Flaubert had this sexual thing about feet. The introduction to my book (I've already returned it to the library so I can't quote it) included a section from a letter Flaubert had written to a friend in which he talks about his fascination with castration (ouch!). He actually expressed an interest in being castrated, himself. (I really should check out this book again to quote this letter. Kay, I think you might have the same copy I did. Could you look in the intro and see if there's a quote from that letter?) Add to this the knowledge that the operation was encouraged by a woman (Emma), and that the failure of this operation was the final turning point for any positive feelings Emma might have had toward Charles. I just thought, knowing all this, its too 'juicy' to not discuss. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (195 of 197), Read 16 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Kay Dugan okaychatt@yahoo.com Date: Wednesday, August 29, 2001 05:06 PM Beej- My edition doesn't even have a foreword. Sorry. K
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (196 of 197), Read 18 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, August 29, 2001 05:42 PM oh, well..thanks anyway, Kay. What exactly happened with this operation? Wasn't the operation successful but Charles' neglected to keep a eye on it post operatively, until it was too late and gangrene set in? This operation told more about Emma than maybe her affairs told. The affairs were a matter of passion, yet in this 'event' we see Emma react with such cold heartedness toward Charles. So, Emma wasn't merely a young woman lost in fantasies, she was also completely self-centered and lacked empathy. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (194 of 197), Read 22 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, August 29, 2001 10:30 AM I would like to get into this club foot operation that Charles so thoroughly botched. Its already been pointed out that Flaubert had this sexual thing about feet. The introduction to my book (I've already returned it to the library so I can't quote it) included a section from a letter Flaubert had written to a friend in which he talks about his fascination with castration (ouch!). He actually expressed an interest in being castrated, himself. (I really should check out this book again to quote this letter. Kay, I think you might have the same copy I did. Could you look in the intro and see if there's a quote from that letter?) Add to this the knowledge that the operation was encouraged by a woman (Emma), and that the failure of this operation was the final turning point for any positive feelings Emma might have had toward Charles. I just thought, knowing all this, its too 'juicy' to not discuss. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (195 of 197), Read 16 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Kay Dugan okaychatt@yahoo.com Date: Wednesday, August 29, 2001 05:06 PM Beej- My edition doesn't even have a foreword. Sorry. K
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (196 of 197), Read 18 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, August 29, 2001 05:42 PM oh, well..thanks anyway, Kay. What exactly happened with this operation? Wasn't the operation successful but Charles' neglected to keep a eye on it post operatively, until it was too late and gangrene set in? This operation told more about Emma than maybe her affairs told. The affairs were a matter of passion, yet in this 'event' we see Emma react with such cold heartedness toward Charles. So, Emma wasn't merely a young woman lost in fantasies, she was also completely self-centered and lacked empathy. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (197 of 197), Read 6 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Thursday, August 30, 2001 10:05 AM It seems to me that this operation was Charles' last chance to prove himself to Emma as at least a little bit worthy of her respect and loyalty. When he muffed this, she felt completely free to do as she wished. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (197 of 197), Read 6 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Thursday, August 30, 2001 10:05 AM It seems to me that this operation was Charles' last chance to prove himself to Emma as at least a little bit worthy of her respect and loyalty. When he muffed this, she felt completely free to do as she wished. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (198 of 204), Read 29 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Kay Dugan okaychatt@yahoo.com Date: Thursday, August 30, 2001 05:06 PM Beej- I haven't re-read the section, but that won't stop me from commenting. Ha! I got the impression that Charles got caught up in the Surgery of the Month Club and really didn't know what he was doing. He did study for it, though, so I may be wrong. It could be his dues weren't paid up, and he didn't get the post operative care chapter. What alarmed me was that he cut the Achilles heel!!! I do not know anatomy, but I do know that without the Achilles heel, the foot can't flex. He did no other nips, tucks, or stitching, which doesn't sound right. I guess post operative care wasn't part of the glory. K
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (199 of 204), Read 30 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Thursday, August 30, 2001 05:09 PM I can't imagine any doctor, even in Mme Bovary's day, cutting the Achilles tendon. Sheesh, that'd leave the gastrocnemius muscle, the big one in your calf, flopping around without a mooring. Charles was an idiot. Ruth "Nobody belongs to us, except in memory." John Updike
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (200 of 204), Read 33 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Kay Dugan okaychatt@yahoo.com Date: Thursday, August 30, 2001 05:12 PM "gastrocnemius muscle" Show off. K
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (201 of 204), Read 34 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Thursday, August 30, 2001 06:31 PM I had to memorize 'em all for a human anatomy course, Kay. The only two that have really stuck with me are gastrocnemius and gluteus maximus. And Charles was a gluteus maximus to have have tried this. Ruth "Nobody belongs to us, except in memory." John Updike
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (202 of 204), Read 27 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Friday, August 31, 2001 11:43 AM Yes, but in Charles's defense, the only thing any of us can do is our best with what talent the Good Lord gave us. As for the boy, Charles's malpractice insurance company probably paid off big time on this one. I know that the common name for cutting the tendons behind the knee is "hamstringing." I don't know the common name for severing the Achilles tendon. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (203 of 204), Read 5 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Friday, August 31, 2001 10:53 PM You guys are too much. This has been a really fun discussion to catch up on. Beej, you really must elaborate on Flaubert's interest in being castrated. You can't just leave us all hanging. Flaubert's Sentimental Education was recommended by Theresa and has been on the CC nomination list before. How about nominating it for next year's list? Ann
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (204 of 204), Read 4 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Friday, August 31, 2001 10:56 PM "You can't just leave us all hanging." Do you realize what you just said? Ruth "Citizen! Consider my traveling expenses: Poetry——all of it——is a trip into the unknown. " Vladimir Mayakovksy
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (205 of 208), Read 29 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Saturday, September 01, 2001 01:45 PM Stop it now! Let's act like young ladies here. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (206 of 208), Read 23 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Kay Dugan okaychatt@yahoo.com Date: Saturday, September 01, 2001 02:20 PM Well, Steve, the thought of you acting like a young lady is a bit of a stretch, but if that's really what you want to do...... K
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (207 of 208), Read 19 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Kay Dugan okaychatt@yahoo.com Date: Saturday, September 01, 2001 02:48 PM My vote for best summary of Emma - "Ultimately one loves one's desires and not that which is desired." - Friedrich Nietzsche K
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (208 of 208), Read 21 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, September 01, 2001 03:14 PM Kay, I agree with you..Emma was in love with the idea of love. Ann, I'm going to check MB out from the library again this week and I will quote Flaubert's letter concerning his fascination with castration. The writer of the introduction also ties in this castration business with the club foot operation/amputation. I also want to read again the end of the book where all falls apart for Emma. I'm not exactly certain why she committed suicide. I know it was due to the bankruptcy but I don't quite understand why that devastated her to the point where she no longer wanted to live. I believe even her death might have been a romantic fantasy to her. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (209 of 217), Read 48 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Sunday, September 02, 2001 12:03 PM Ruth, But, of course. :) Beej, I look forward to the update. Ann
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (210 of 217), Read 32 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Sunday, September 02, 2001 11:10 PM Okay, Ann. I checked the book out again and this is what it says: Metaphors of potency and impotence are frequent (in MB). Rather less frequent, but no less striking, are his fantasies of self-castration. In a letter of 27 December 1852 he speaks of the shock he received when he read Balzac's 'Louis Lambert': 'At the end, the hero wants to castrate himself, in a kind of mystical madness. During my wretchedness in Paris, when I was nineteen, I had the same wish...later I spent two entire years without touching a woman. There comes a moment when one needs to make oneself suffer, needs to loathe one's flesh, to fling mud in its face, so hideous does it seem. Without my love of form, I would perhaps have been a great mystic.' Terence Cave, who wrote the introduction, mentions Flaubert's fear of castration a couple times, so I did a search on google.com of 'Flaubert; castration' and came up with pages and pages concerning this business. As I read, I discovered castration was thought to be a cure for epilepsy (Flaubert was epileptic) in the mid nineteenth century. So, his desire for castration might have been motivated as a hopeful means of ridding himself of epilepsy. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (211 of 217), Read 32 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Monday, September 03, 2001 01:18 AM Very interesting, Beej. Thanks. Apparently mysticism precludes sex. The idea that castration could cure epilepsy makes it a bit more understandable. Did the author of the introduction relate this castration complex to Madame Bovary? Ann
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (212 of 217), Read 19 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, September 03, 2001 08:57 PM Cave says, though the failed clubfoot operation is the turning point of the story, he is not asserting that this is what MB is 'really' about..but that Flaubert's fear of castration/impotence is indeed linked in the writer's subconscious to many of his works. Actually, Flaubert's father had failed in surgery to cure a patient's clubfoot, and another surgeon had been called in to correct what the Elder Flaubert had done wrong. So, maybe this castration/amputation thing is only the result of overactive academic's imagination. (Or, as Freud once said, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"...) Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (213 of 217), Read 30 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, September 03, 2001 09:36 PM I found some Flaubert quotes on the web. I thought this one was interesting: In his letters, Flaubert described literature as "the dissection of a beautiful woman with her guts in her face, her leg skinned, and half a burned-out cigar lying on her foot." (Here we go with the foot thingy again..) Beej "I have always tried to live in an ivory tower, but a tide of shit is beating at its walls."- Gustave Flaubert
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (214 of 217), Read 25 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Tuesday, September 04, 2001 12:33 AM Beej, Is that ivory tower quote for real or are you just having some fun? Ann
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (215 of 217), Read 18 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, September 04, 2001 10:45 AM Oh, yes, ma'am! Good old Gus really wrote that in a letter to a friend. Beej "What an awful thing life is. It's like soup with lots of hairs floating on the surface." - Gustave Flaubert
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (216 of 217), Read 10 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Tuesday, September 04, 2001 02:15 PM He sounds like a real happy kind of guy--the kind you love to be around. Ann
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (217 of 217), Read 7 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, September 04, 2001 05:11 PM He does seem to point out the sorrier side of life, doesn't he, Ann? (But, then again, I don't think anybody who considers self castration could ever be thought of as an optimist!) Obviously, from these quotes, I think its fair to say Flaubert viewed life with the same fatalistic outlook expressed in MB. I'm curious to see if Sentimental Education has this same negativity toward life. Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (218 of 220), Read 34 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Steve Warbasse wk4@qwest.net Date: Wednesday, September 05, 2001 10:55 AM And I will be curious to see whether you get through Sentimental Education, Beej. I have never been able to slog completely through anything else that Flaubert wrote. It could be just me though. Steve
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (219 of 220), Read 34 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, September 05, 2001 07:56 PM Oh, oh...and I have a feeling you're a better slogger than I am. If Flaubert is difficult for you to finish, I'm sure its going to be impossible for me to finish. But I'll give it a try... (Have you attempted Sentimental Education?) Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (220 of 220), Read 17 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Theresa Simpson theresa.a.simpson@gte.net Date: Thursday, September 06, 2001 11:32 AM Beej, I finished Sentimental Education. I loved it, but it does take more work than MB. The juicy bits are still there, but so is a lot of political/social inuendo. I'm sure I missed stuff because I wasn't familiar enough with what was going on in France at that time. Still, well worth the read. A more substantial book than MB in the end. I tried and failed to read Salammbo. Now, there is a VERY strange book. All the juicy stuff has been fermented, I guess. Theresa I had to quit my fire-eating career when I could no longer tell when to spit and when to swallow. Daphne Gottlieb
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (221 of 223), Read 22 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, September 12, 2001 09:15 PM Theresa, I found Sentimental Education at my little used bookstore and will start it soon. (wish me luck. I have a feeling this will be a difficult book.) Beej
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (222 of 223), Read 22 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Theresa Simpson theresa.a.simpson@gte.net Date: Friday, September 14, 2001 01:06 AM Hi Beej. It's worth the trip. SM's style is very different than MB, but this book is thematically very similar - just more complex and subtle. If you make it through SM, you might want to try Salammbo, a very, very strange book which utterly defeated me. Theresa I had to quit my fire-eating career when I could no longer tell when to spit and when to swallow. Daphne Gottlieb
Topic: Madame Bovary; Gustave Flaubert (223 of 223), Read 14 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, September 19, 2001 08:16 PM Theresa, I've started Sentimental Education and, so far, I really like it a lot! It has the same beautiful writing as Madame Bovary. Just beautiful.. I don't find it particularly difficult, but I'm not very far into it. I'll post more about it when I'm done. Beej

 

 

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