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Madame Bovary, moeurs de province
Gustave Flaubert
publisher: , 1857

translated as:
Madame Bovary: Patterns of Provincial Life
publisher: Querido, Amsterdam, 1993

refered to by:
Marquis de Sade

Dangling Man
Saul Bellow

Don Quixote
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Saul Bellow

Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad

Vladimir Nabokov

Swann's Way
Marcel Proust

Bob Rigter

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The plot: Charles Bovary is a country physician who, after an unhappy first marriage, marries the daughter of a patient. Emma is eager to leave her father's dirty farm but finds marriage to be less romantic and satisfying than she expected. Charles is not a prince, but a bumbling, aging man. Even when at work he performs more like a veterinarian than a skilled surgeon. Indeed, when he and the local chemist attempt a new procedure on a clubfoot, the patient gets gangrene and loses his leg.
Disgusted, Emma develops a relationship with Leon Dupuis, a young lawyer. She refuses to sleep with him but regrets it after he leaves town. She then meets Rodolphe Boulanger, a wealthy landowner who seduces Emma to pass the time. They have a brief if passionate affair.
When Boulanger abandons her, Emma returns to Leon, this time giving in to their mutual passion. Her affair has an air of desperation. She soon exhausts her limited funds on trips to visit her lover and love gifts. Knowing that her husband will discover her affair when their financial situation is revealed, Emma overdoses on arsenic and
dies miserably.

Commentary: Flaubert is associated with the naturalist school, artists who described events with medical precision. Indeed, Flaubert's father was a country surgeon and the writer trained briefly under him. 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."
This combination of medical detail and sexual violence summarizes Flaubert's style. He writes neither in the third person, nor the first, but in the odd voice the French call "style indirect libre." Events are recorded as if from the viewpoint of a particular character but not in that character's voice. Flaubert retains a distance that evokes objectivity but also seems disdainful. His characters all seem ridiculous. When Boulanger seduces Emma, for example, they are at a country fair and he whispers above the sound of a farm wife winning an award for her pig. Emma's ideals of love are no more exemplary than the woman's ideal of pig meat. (from: Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database)


The Red and the Black
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Don Quixote
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Les misérables
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The Count of Monte Cristo
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Multi-volume collection of interlinked novels and stories (nearly 100!) depicting French society in the period of the Restoration and the July Monarchy 1815-1848.

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Madame Bovary: Patterns of Provincial Life
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Anna Karenina
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The Deeps of Deliverance
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Effi Briest
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A Handful of Dust
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Roger's Version
John Updike, 1986
Divinity professor Roger Lambert is visited by Dale Kohler, an earnest young student who wants a grant to prove the existence of God by computer. The visit disrupts Roger's ordinary existence, bringing him into contact with the wild and sexy Verna (his half-sister's daughter), and leading to his wife's affair with Dale.

[De buitenvrouw]
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Multicultural adultery in a Northern-Dutch suburb.

The Perpetual Orgy: Flaubert and Madame Bovary
Mario Vargas Llosa, 1975
Deeply passionate and personal examination of Flaubert and his famous heroine, by the noted Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa.

[Het zwart uit de mond van Madame Bovary]
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Man obsessed by Bovary.

Flaubert's Parrot
Julian Barnes, 1984
A retired English doctor, in solitary widowhood, makes a pilgrimage through the life and art of Gustave Flaubert, whose work he has always venerated. As he meditates on his passion, he reveals as much about himself as he uncovers about Flaubert.

The Awakening
Kate Chopin, 1899
Edna Pontellier, a young married woman with two small children gradually awakens - to her individuality and sexuality, and experiences love outside of her passionless marriage.

'In Search of Lost Time'
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Carthaginian mercenaries revolt after the First Punic War with Rome, led by Matho, a Libyan involved with Salammbo, priestess in the temple of the Goddess Tanit.
Sentimental Education
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Bouvard et Pécuchet
1913 (posthumous)
Two retired clerks set out in a search for truth and knowledge with persistent optimism, in light of the fact that each new attempt at learning about the world ends in disaster.
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The Ledge
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