Emma Bovary is stunning and bored, trapped in her relationship to a mediocre medical professional and stifled by the banality of provincial life. An ardent reader of sentimental novels, she longs for enthusiasm and seeks escape in fantasies of large romance, in voracious paying and, sooner or later, in adultery. But even her affairs carry her disappointment and the effects are devastating. Flaubert’s erotically charged and psychologically acute portrayal of Emma Bovary brought on a ethical outcry on its publication in 1857. It was deemed so lifelike that many women claimed they have been the product for his heroine but Flaubert insisted: ‘Madame Bovary, c’est moi’.
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