Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary
  • Madame Bovary

    • Gustave Flaubert

    • John Hurt (Read by)

    • Conrad Nelson (Read by)

    • Full Cast (Read by)

    • Sarah Smart (Read by)

    John Hurt stars in this BBC radio dramatisation of Gustave Flaubert’s infamous tale of adultery and tragedy

    Beautiful Emma meets and marries Doctor Charles Bovary. He's happy for the first time in his life – but Emma is distraught that her marriage lacks the passion and romance of her fantasies.

    Dazzled by the splendour of a Marquis’ ball, she longs for excitement and soon becomes infatuated with a young solicitor, Léon Dupuis. But when Dupuis moves away, her memories of him lead her to despair – and into the arms of wealthy landowner, Rodolphe Boulanger.

    As she moves from one illicit liaison to another, Emma’s complicated life begins to unravel. Exhausted from her debts and her affairs, she feels she is left with only one course of action…

    A French masterpiece of betrayal and wantonness, Flaubert’s notorious novel features Sarah Smart as Emma Bovary, Conrad Nelson as Charles, Jude Akuwudike as Rodolphe and James D’Arcy as Léon.

    Cast and credits
    Narrator – John Hurt
    Charles – Conrad Nelson
    Emma – Sarah Smart
    Madame Bovary Snr – Brigit Forsyth
    Monsieur Rouault/Maître Guillaumin – Russell Dixon
    Viscomte/Dr Lariviere – Martin Reeve
    Nastasie/Mère Rollet – Julie McCabe
    Madame Lefrancois – Siobahn Finneran
    Monsieur Homais/Priest – David Fleeshman
    Léon Dupuis – James D’Arcy
    Monsieur Lheureux – Seamus O’Neill
    Félicité – Sarah Jayne Hallworth
    Rodolphe Boulanger – Jude Akuwudike
    Justin – Sam Curtis
    Berthe Bovary – Daisy Jones

    Written by Gustave Flaubert
    Dramatised by Diana Griffiths from a translation by Margaret Mauldon
    Pianist: Stephen Reynolds
    Produced by Pauline Harris

    First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 4-15 September 2006

Gustave Flaubert was born in Rouen in 1821. Aside from journeys to the Near East, Greece, Italy, and North Africa, and a stormy liaison with the poetess Louise Colet, his life was dedicated to the practice of his art. The success of Madame Bovary (1857) was ensured by government prosecution for "immorality"; Salammbô (1862) and The Sentimental Education (1869) received a cool public reception; not until the publication of Three Tales (1877) was his genius popularly acknowledged. His final bitterness and disillusion were vividly evidenced in the savagely satiric Bouvard and Pécuchet, left unfinished at his death in 1880. Lydia Davis is the author of one novel and several collections of short fiction. She is also the translator of numerous works from the French by, among others, Maurice Blanchot, Pierre Jean Jouve and Michel Leiris, and was recently named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government. She received great acclaim for her translation of Proust's The Way by Swann's for Penguin Classics and her Collected Stories have just been published by Hamish Hamilton.

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