Tag Archives: Gustave Flaubert


Oh, Flaubert.  Here you are again popping into my head as I read the Russian novel.

Dounia is waiting for Rask in his apartment.  She knows.  Raskolnikov tells her he thought about suicide but couldn’t do it.

     “Yes, I am going.  At once.  Yes, to escape the disgrace I thought of drowning myself, Dounia, but as I looked into the water, I thought that if I had considered myself strong till now I’d better not be afraid of disgrace,” he said, hurrying on. “It’s pride, Dounia.”
      “Pride, Rodya.”
      There was a gleam of fire in his lustreless eyes; he seemed to be glad to think that he was still proud.
      “You don’t think, sister, that I was simple afraid of the water?” he asked, looking into her face with a sinister smile.

Rodion Raskolnikov is no Emma Bovary.  She commits suicide to avoid the shame and suffering that was going to come from her actions.  Her pride won’t let her face her future.  Raskolnikov is ready to face his punishment.  There will be no mouthful of arsenic for him.  He’s too proud for that.

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Posted by on September 15, 2012 in Crime and Punishment, Madame Bovary


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Beautiful but Terrible Words

Crime and Punishment Part IV, chapter 4

Sonia has read the story of Lazarus to Raskolnikov.

“That is all about the raising of Lazarus,” she whispered severely and abruptly, and turning away she stood motionless, not daring to raise her eyes to him.  She still trembled feverishly.  The candle-end was flickering out in the battered candle-stick, dimly lighting up in the poverty-stricken room the murderer and the harlot who had so strangely been reading together the eternal book.

I think Dostoyevsky could give Flaubert a run for his money.

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Posted by on August 26, 2012 in Crime and Punishment


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When it’s brown it’s cookin’ . . .

Little Known Madame Bovary Fact:  Like most of us, Flaubert had a very strong feeling about the proper preparation of s’mores.  He puts his opinion in the voice of an angered Homais,

Go ahead – go right ahead – don’t respect anything!  Smash!  Crash!  Let the leeches loose!  Burn the marshmallow!  Make pickles in the medicine jars!

I think it’s fair to say this man had some traumatic childhood camping experience.

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Posted by on August 4, 2012 in The Blog


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Check out Madame Bovary here, here, here, here, here…and here!

We’re nearing the end of our posts about Madame Bovary and looking forward to starting Crime and Punishment.


We’d love for you to visit our blogging friends to read what they have to say about Flaubert’s masterpiece.

Tonia blogs at The Sunny Patch.  It was Tonia that shared about the Madame Bovary/Madame Blueberry (VeggieTales) connection.  See what she has to say here, here, here.  Oh,  here and here too!

Jean blogs at Howling Frog Books.  She wrote a post for each of the three parts of the novel.  Read her insights here, here, and here

Steph blogs at Five Alarm Book Reviews.  She uses a book discussion group at Goodreads and also talks about the cover art of this version.  Check out what she writes here and here.
ETA: Steph has written a great review of Mme B here.

And!  Look over the comments that our many WEM friends leave us.  They’re smart people.

We are delighted to have friends on our literary journey.

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Posted by on July 14, 2012 in Madame Bovary


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Red Herring

damascened – adj.  inlaid with gold or silver

Classical Usage:  At the beginning of Part Three, Chapter VIII Emma goes to Rodolphe to ask for money prostitute herself.  He says he doesn’t have the money, although I’m sure he would have accepted the product for free, but she doubts his honesty as her eyes fell on a damascened rifle that glittered in a trophy on the wall.

Classically Mad Usage:   I don’t own anything damascened, I don’t think, so instead I’ll ask this question:  Did you, like me, fear when we caught a glimpse of the gun that this novel was going to end with ringing shots and more than one person dead?  Flaubert fooled me for a second, there.

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Posted by on July 12, 2012 in Madame Bovary


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Angelic Emma

Madame Bovary Part III chapter 5

Emma is with Léon at the hotel room they regularly share.

She was the lover in every novel, the heroine in every play, the vague she in every column of poetry.  On her shoulders he found the amber colours of Odalisque au bain; she had the long body of some feudal chatelaine; and she looked like the pale woman of Barcelona, but supremely she was the Angel.

but supremely she was the Angel.”

She was the Angel.

the Angel?

The married woman having an affair is an angel?  I’m sorry, THE Angel?

In the margin of my book I wrote the words, “Ha!  She’s the opposite of an angel!”

I find this disturbing.  Emma’s nothing like the messengers of God that I’m familiar with from the Bible.

In other disturbing news… Did anyone catch that in the same chapter Emma calls Léon “child”?

She used to call him child.
–Child, do you love me?
And she scarcely heard his answer, for the suddenness of his lips seeking her mouth.

Ewww.  Ick.  and Yuck.


Posted by on July 10, 2012 in Madame Bovary


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Traveling with Madame

I took Madame Bovary camping.
Ironic, right?!  Emma Bovary in her swishing skirts and veil camping!

As I sat at our rustic cabin’s picnic table, covered in bug spray, sunscreen and wood smoke, I thought to myself,
“Ha!  Take that Emma B.  You and your fancy-pants self.”

“I can read all about your fru-fru orders to the draper for dress fabric, arm-chair covers and bric-a-brac, but just know this… I haven’t had a shower in three days!”


Posted by on July 4, 2012 in Madame Bovary


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