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Madame Bovary

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message 1: by Kerry, flame-haired janeite (new)

Kerry (kerryanndunn) | 876 comments Mod
In the New York Times Kathryn Harrison has written a review of the new translation of Madame Bovary by Lydia Davis. It is rather odd in that it doesn't really review the new translation rather than it reviews the character of Emma Bovary:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/03/boo...

Ruth Franklin has taken issue with this review and written a counterpoint article in The New Republic:
http://www.tnr.com/article/books-and-...

I found this interesting, so thought I would share it here.


message 2: by Kerry, flame-haired janeite (last edited Oct 25, 2010 08:51AM) (new)

Kerry (kerryanndunn) | 876 comments Mod
Oh and to give credit where credit is due, I read these articles after http://threeguysonebook.com/ linked to the Ruth Franklin one on facebook.


message 3: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
Wouldn't a group read of this one be awesome? :)


message 4: by Martyn (new)

Martyn | 299 comments it's one of my favourite books. ever.


message 5: by Robert (new)

Robert Corbett (robcrowe00) | 168 comments I agree about the group read. Maybe different editions since not everyone will buy the Davis trans. Go for it Shel.


message 6: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
I will if Martyn promises to participate... :)


message 7: by Robert (new)

Robert Corbett (robcrowe00) | 168 comments There is a good article by Jonathan Raban (virtually my favorite living author) on the Davis translation and past ones.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archi...


message 8: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
Here we go: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/4...

Adrian, this is really interesting... I was momentarily worried as I wrote the above post that I would have a hard time finding a space for empathy with her...


message 9: by João (last edited Nov 01, 2010 09:55AM) (new)

João Camilo (JCamilo) | 258 comments Flaubert also said he hated Bovary and she represented the kind of people who he despised. He was a very angry man. Also, he considered himself to be worthless and a bad person. That is why accusations on her morality could provoke such reactions of him.
Anyways, you need reasons to have sympathy for her? Dom Quixote with skirts is the better propaganda...


message 10: by Pavel (new)

Pavel Kravchenko (PavelK) | 96 comments Her husband wasn't a bundle of joy to read either. In fact, the only halfway appealing person in the novel was that rich dude who cut his losses and split early on.


message 11: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
Jcamilo wrote: "Flaubert also said he hated Bovary and she represented the kind of people who he despised. He was a very angry man. Also, he considered himself to be worthless and a bad person. That is why accusat..."

So... what was "Mme Bovary, c'est moi!" all about?


message 12: by João (new)

João Camilo (JCamilo) | 258 comments An Angry man which speciallity is irony?

I do not read in his correspondence where he said it (I suspect it was during the trial), but Flaubert is the ultimate master of "absent creator", I do not see him building a character that is himself.

But well, another possibility, Flaubert said he was immoral, an evil person. So, when Bovary was accused of it, he could have said this irony to also means that attack on his book was missing the target, himself.


message 13: by Danielle (last edited Nov 10, 2010 01:10PM) (new)

Danielle | 9 comments Madame Bovary is also one of my favorite novels, and I constructed my graduate literature class in such a manner so I could, in part, teach this book. I haven't seen the new translation yet, but my favorite edition (and I have many) is the Norton Critical Editions volume with the Eleanor Marx Aveling translation, which is edited by Paul de Man.

One of the reasons I was so determined to teach this novel is that I find it to be one of the most misunderstood and misread novels in history. If Martyn remembers correctly, when he first began reading it, he despised it (surprise, surprise!). I ordered him to cease and desist at once and embarked on exploring some of the points in the opening chapters in the book that highlight Flaubert's brutally scathing irony, his subversion of the text, and a few of the more interesting theoretical concepts that play heavily within the text. Martyn then read again from the beginning and fell in love, I believe.

I'd be more than happy to jump into another discussion of this nature for the group, if many or some are contemplating a fresh and upcoming read. I had the good fortune to study Mme. B with Avital Ronell, whose book, Crack Wars, is a fascinating study of Flaubert's novel from the stance of Literature as drug, especially in Emma's case, wherein her encounters with the textual take on a consistent theme of consumption and addiction. I've also been teaching the novel for a few years now, so I've read it at least 7 times in its entirety, and I'm somewhat familiar with the French original as well.

Let me know if my input would be beneficial, and I'll happily spew my prolonged, heady profundity in your general direction. :)


message 14: by Martha (new)

Martha Kate | 194 comments Danielle wrote: "Madame Bovary is also one of my favorite novels, and I constructed my graduate literature class in such a manner so I could, in part, teach this book. I haven't seen the new translation yet, but my..."

Danielle! Please spew away. This will be the first time I've attempted Madame Bovary, so I may join the discussion a bit late or have (as usual) an elementary understanding, at best. I'd love to hear your take, particularly given your familiarity with the text.
I've missed your voice,
Smartykate


message 15: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
We would love to have you join, I second the motion. :)

This is the first time I've read it too, and I don't have the academic point of view. :)


message 16: by João (new)

João Camilo (JCamilo) | 258 comments The truth is that a few years ago, they discovered a manuscript where Flaubert would write the second part of Bovary, 15 years after. Saddly, he had only 3 days of work and the only words he dared to write is "She walks from hell to heaven and in hell she finds a writer who is torment not by fire but eternal ink splitting everywhere".

The manuscript also suggests Flaubert was a german spy working for Otto Von Bismark to make french society go in decadency. He had a secret society with Maupassant and Baudelaire. Their trials was a farse, they are just being investigated. They also invented Dreyfuss case, but that you can blame on Zola.


message 17: by Martyn (new)

Martyn | 299 comments Danielle wrote: "Madame Bovary is also one of my favorite novels, and I constructed my graduate literature class in such a manner so I could, in part, teach this book. I haven't seen the new translation yet, but my..."

No, what actually happened was I told you I'd never read it because I'd incorrectly assumed it to be a boring romance novel. You told me all about Flaubert's intentions and what it was really trying to get at. When I read it was amazed. I could instantly see how Joyce was influenced by Flaubert, for example and it is indeed one of my favourite books.


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