Part II, chapter 7
Emma’s not doing well. Leon is moving away, and she is depressed. Charles writes to his mother, asking her to come.
–Do you know what your wife needs? said Madame Bovary senior. She needs some hard work, some manual labour. If she were like nearly everyone else, forced to earn a living, she wouldn’t have these vapours of hers, which all come from stuffing her head with nonsense and leading a life of idleness.
–But she is always busy, said Charles.
–Ah! Busy indeed! And with what? Busy reading novels, wicked books, things written against religion where priests are made a mockery with speeches taken from Voltaire. It all leads to no good, my poor boy, and anyone with no religion always comes to a bad end.
Remember when our knight-errant Don Quixote had his personal library taken away by his friends and family?
Emma Bovary’s husband and mother-in-law must have read Cervantes because they take similar measures.
Therefore, it was decided to prevent Emma from reading novels. This was by no means an easy matter. The old lady took it upon herself: on her way through Rouen she was to call in person at the lending library and notify them that Emma was cancelling her subscription. Would they not have the right to tell the police, if the librarian still persisted in his poisonous trade?
Librarians persist in poisonous trade? And I thought they were just being helpful when they suggested new titles. Oooo…This makes it seem dangerous to visit my public library. Maybe they should capitalize on this idea. Toxic Books: a summer reading program. I can imagine how the circulation numbers will climb. I know discouraging people to read has had the opposite effect at my house.