Monday, April 25, 2011
Gustave Flaubert: Madame Bovary
Madame Bovary was Gustave Flaubert's first and most successful novel and is regarded as one of the masterpieces in Western literature. It has been called a perfect work of fiction and is noted for its vivid detail and realism. Flaubert (1821-1880) spent five years writing Madame Bovary, a long-time by standards of the day. However, Flaubert had a passionate need to find the correct word ("le mot juste") in his writing and he would spend long hours looking for the right descriptive adjective. From reading his work, I think his effort was fruitful. I never felt like I was being inundated with trivial details, descriptions or facts. Rather, I felt I could see, hear, smell and taste the world through these characters. I am not a fan of overly detailed descriptions, but Flaubert has an incredible talent for capturing imagery with words that kept pulling me in.