Emma Bovary is an avid reader of sentimental novels; brought up on a Normandy farm and convent-educated, she longs for the passion of romance. At first, Emma pins her hopes on marriage, but life with her well-meaning husband in the provinces leaves her bored and dissatisfied. She seeks escape through extravagant spending sprees and, eventually, adultery. As Emma pursues her impossible reverie she seals her own ruin and despair. Exquisite, moving, at times ferociously satirical and always psychologically acute, Madame Bovary remains one of the greatest, most beguiling novels ever written.
This stunning new translation, by the celebrated novelist Adam Thorpe, delicately and meticulously transposes the rhythms, tone and poetry of Madame Bovary and brings us closer to its shifting depths. It is destined to become the definitive English translation of our time.
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The first great shopping and fucking novel - London Review of Books
Madame Bovary is a great novel that is also an inexhaustible pleasure to read - Guardian
Flaubert's 1856 novel begins with marriage and what follows is the archetypal tale of a desperate housewife - Daily Telegraph
Mesmerising - Independent
The most scandalous novel of all time - Playboy
Madame Bovary is profoundly, shatteringly real - Observer
Fairy stories end with the lovers marrying and living happy ever after. Jane Austen's novels keep that pattern. The great realist novels study at length what happens after marriage, within marriages, within families and businesses. Madame Bovary... is both terrifying and simultaneously gleeful over its own accuracy -
Gustave Flaubert's mighty novel of passion, repression and perdition - Daily Mail
CS Lewis once urged readers to avoid new books and read old ones instead. Here's an excellent way to read both at the same time: Adam Thorpe's new translation of Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert is stunning and heartily recommended. - Scotsman
This is an extraordinary, complex novel. Filled with romantic longings, Emma is a troubled wife married to a doctor in the French provinces and driven almost mad with boredom. In it, Flaubert drives deep into the female psyche exposing intimate, pitiful and, ultimately, destructive fantasies - Daily Express
A handsomely bound hardback edition that perfectly befits the beautiful new translation therein... we are pretty confident that Thorpe's bash at Bovary is a contender for the new best English version out there. Sensitive and musical, and simply and wittily annotated, it's got 'new classic' written all over it. Plus it's dressed in this really elegant embroidered design by Karen Nichols, so everything gangs up and makes it basically a must-buy. - Dazed and Confused
Magnificent. I insist everyone reads Adam Thorpe's new translation. - Vogue
Flaubert is the saint and martyr of literature of highest ideals... Madame Bovary is a precision instrument, every little bit of it locks together perfectly. - BBC Radio 4
By this author
About the Author
Gustave Flaubert was born in Rouen in 1821, the son of a distinguished surgeon and a doctor's daughter. After three unhappy years of studying law in Paris, an epileptic attack ushered him into a life of writing. Madame Bovary won instant acclaim upon book publication in 1857, but Flaubert's frank display of adultery in bourgeois France saw him go on trial for immorality, only narrowly escaping conviction. Both Salammbo (1862) and The Sentimental Education (1869) were poorly received, and Flaubert's genius was not publicly recognized until Three Tales (1877). His reputation among his fellow writers, however, was more constant and those who admired him included Turgenev, George Sand, Victor Hugo and Zola. Flaubert's obsession with his art is legendary: he would work for days on a single page, obsessively attuning sentences, seeking always le mot juste in a quest for both beauty and precise observation. His style moved Edmund Wilson to say,'Flaubert, by a single phrase - a notation of some commonplace object - can convey all the poignance of human desire, the pathos of human defeat; his description of some homely scene will close with a dying fall that reminds one of great verse or music.' Flaubert died suddenly in May 1880, leaving his last work, Bouvard and Pécuchet, unfinished.
Adam Thorpe was born in Paris in 1956. His first novel, Ulverton, was published in 1992, and he has written nine others - most recently Hodd - two collections of stories and five books of poetry. He lives in France with his wife and family.