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Searching for Emma: Gustave Flaubert and Madame Bovary [Hardcover]

Dacia Maraini , Vincent J. Bertolini

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Book Description

Feb. 28 1998
Although many writers blend autobiography and fiction, few have been so forthright in admitting it as Gustave Flaubert. In reference to his legendary novel and protagonist, he wrote: "Madame Bovary, c'est moi." Madame Bovary has become an icon for casual readers and feminists alike, but, as Dacia Maraini argues, she is one of the most problematic, though fascinating, female protagonists in modern literature. In this lively, learned, and very personal study, Maraini explores the profound and contradictory relationship between the writer Flaubert and the character his readers have grown to love.

Maraini argues that in their desire to claim Emma Bovary as a standard-bearer of revolt, women have often overlooked the bitter, pitiless way in which Flaubert evokes Emma's insignificance and vulgarity. Searching for Emma guides the reader through Flaubert's novel and many of his letters, seeking out the sources of his obsessive cruelty toward Emma. Maraini relates Flaubert's contempt for Emma to his relationship with his mistress, Louise Colet, to his general terror of women, and to his own self-loathing. It was entirely in spite of himself, Maraini writes, that Flaubert created the female Don Quixote so admired for her restlessness and determination.

Searching for Emma offers a novelist's insight into the complex relationship between author and character, and into the deepest motivations of fiction.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 156 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (Feb. 28 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226504301
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226504308
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 15.3 x 22.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 367 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,156,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Booklist

Italian feminist Maraini, a novelist, poet, dramatist, and journalist, takes on literary criticism here, recalling the unease she felt, at age 16, in reaction to "the mocking, angry way the author had introduced me to" Emma Bovary, and revisiting this narrative--in which "Emma still seems to be a hostage . . . to her author, who pursues her with a ruthlessness and tenacity that verge on the grotesque, and with a bitter, mocking determination" --as a way to understand "the relationship between authors and their characters in general." Thus, Maraini retells the Bovary story, intertwined with selections from Flaubert's letters, drawing links between the novel and its author's relationships--with his mother, his mistress Louise Colet, various male friends, even himself. A graceful, nuanced examination of a classic novel, appropriate where Bovary and/or feminist criticism circulate. Mary Carroll

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Emma Bovary is one of those old family friends in the neighborhood of our minds. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read and full of useful info. May 9 2007
By Annie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I used this book as a source for my research paper. I found it very informative and was able to read it in a short time frame, which came in quite helpful. It was full of really good tidbits about Flaubert and his life during the time of writing Madame Bovary. It drew many good comparisons and was able to keep my attention.

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