Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Madame Bovary is a novel by Gustave Flaubert that raised a scandal when it was published in 1857 and is now seen to stand at the beginning of the modern novel. After publishing a few controversial excerpts in a periodical, he first had to win a trial in order to publish the novel.
The exterior plot of the story makes it seem simple. However, the true art of the novel shines in its details and hidden patterns. The basic plot goes as follows: It is set in a provincial village, far from Paris. A doctor, Charles Bovary, marries a beautiful farm girl, Emma. She rapidly grows bored with him and takes a rich landowner as a lover.
When he rejects her, she takes up with a law clerk. Her husband knows nothing of her romances. Nor does he know that Emma has ruined him financially with her waste, bad management, and self-indulgence. Emma commits suicide, leaving the loyal Charles distraught. He finds her letters and soon dies, leaving their child an orphan.
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