Books

A Simple Heart

Gustave Flaubert

'She decided she would teach him to speak and he was very soon able to say, 'Pretty boy!', 'Your servant, sir!' and 'Hail Mary!''

With pathos and humour, Flaubert imagines the unexamined life of a servant girl.

Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan, from Tierra del Fuego to 16th-century California and the Russian steppe. Here are stories lyrical and savage; poems epic and intimate; essays satirical and inspirational; and ideas that have shaped the lives of millions.

Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880). Flaubert's works available in Penguin Classics are Madame Bovary, Sentimental Education, Three Tales and Salammbo.

Madame Bovary

Gustave Flaubert

Emma Bovary is beautiful and bored, trapped in her marriage to a mediocre doctor and stifled by the banality of provincial life. An ardent reader of sentimental novels, she longs for passion and seeks escape in fantasies of high romance, in voracious spending and, eventually, in adultery. But even her affairs bring her disappointment and the consequences are devastating. Flaubert's erotically charged and psychologically acute portrayal of Emma Bovary caused a moral outcry on its publication in 1857. It was deemed so lifelike that many women claimed they were the model for his heroine; but Flaubert insisted: 'Madame Bovary, c'est moi'.

Madame Bovary

Gustave Flaubert (and others)

A NEW TRANSLATION BY ADAM THORPE

‘A great novel that is also an inexhaustible pleasure to read' Guardian

Emma Bovary is an avid reader of sentimental novels; brought up on a Normandy farm and convent-educated, she longs for romance. At first, Emma pins her hopes on marriage, but life with her well-meaning husband in the provinces leaves her bored and dissatisfied. She seeks escape through extravagant spending sprees and, eventually, adultery. As Emma pursues her impossible reverie she seals her own ruin.

Madame Bovary is one of the greatest, most beguiling novels ever written.

‘Thorpe's new translation is stunning and heartily recommended
Scotsman

‘Thorpe's new translation is to die for’
Independent

‘[Thorpe’s] hard work has yielded beauty. The rhythms are perfectly judged, unexpected enough to make the reader attend to every word’
Robert Chandler, TLS

Madame Bovary (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

Gustave Flaubert (and others)

A major new translation of one of the most popular classics of all time, now in a gorgeous deluxe edition.

Emma Bovary is beautiful and bored, trapped in her marriage to a mediocre doctor and stifled by the banality of provincial life. An ardent reader of sentimental novels, she longs for passion and seeks escape in fantasies of high romance, in voracious spending and, eventually, in adultery. But even her affairs bring her disappointment and the consequences are devastating. Flaubert's erotically charged and psychologically acute portrayal of Emma Bovary caused a moral outcry on its publication in 1857. It was deemed so lifelike that many women claimed they were the model for his heroine; but Flaubert insisted: 'Madame Bovary, c'est moi'.

The Correspondence of Gustave Flaubert & George Sand

George Sand (and others)

Translated, this correspondence, from 1863-76, is unique in the history of French literature. Never have two great writers set down their ideas so candidly and over so long a period on the most varied topics, including the genesis of their own writings, a commentary on the Paris theatre, gossip from the literary world and their own domestic lives.

Madame Bovary

Gustave Flaubert

Emma Bovary is beautiful and bored, trapped in her marriage to a mediocre doctor and stifled by the banality of provincial life. An ardent reader of sentimental novels, she longs for passion and seeks escape in fantasies of high romance, in voracious spending and, eventually, in adultery. But even her affairs bring her disappointment and the consequences are devastating. Flaubert's erotically charged and psychologically acute portrayal of Emma Bovary caused a moral outcry on its publication in 1857. It was deemed so lifelike that many women claimed they were the model for his heroine; but Flaubert insisted: 'Madame Bovary, c'est moi'.

A new translation by Lydia Davis

Madame Bovary

Gustave Flaubert (and others)

Emma Bovary is beautiful and bored, trapped in her marriage to a mediocre doctor and stifled by the banality of provincial life. An ardent reader of sentimental novels, she longs for passion and seeks escape in fantasies of high romance, in voracious spending and, eventually, in adultery. But even her affairs bring her disappointment and the consequences are devastating. Flaubert's erotically charged and psychologically acute portrayal of Emma Bovary caused a moral outcry on its publication in 1857. It was deemed so lifelike that many women claimed they were the model for his heroine; but Flaubert insisted: 'Madame Bovary, c'est moi'.

Three Tales

Gustave Flaubert (and others)

First published in 1877, these three stories are dominated by questions of doubt, love, loneliness and religious experience, and together form a triumphant conclusion to Flaubert's literary career. With elegant simplicity, 'A Simple Heart' relates the story of Félicité - an uneducated serving-woman who retains her Catholic faith despite a life of desolation and loss. Inspired by a stained-glass window in Rouen cathedral, 'The Legend of Saint Julian Hospitator' describes the fate of Julian, a sadistic hunter destined to murder his own parents. The blend of faith and cruelty that dominates this story may also be found in 'Herodias' - a reworking of the tale of Salomé and John the Baptist.

Flaubert in Egypt

Gustave Flaubert (and others)

At once a classic of travel literature and a penetrating portrait of a “sensibility on tour,” Flaubert in Egypt wonderfully captures the young writer’s impressions during his 1849 voyages. Using diaries, letters, travel notes, and the evidence of Flaubert’s traveling companion, Maxime Du Camp, Francis Steegmuller reconstructs his journey through the bazaars and brothels of Cairo and down the Nile to the Red Sea.

Madame Bovary

Gustave Flaubert

Described by Henry James as 'one of the first of the classics' and so regarded ever since, MADAME BOVARY has touched generations of readers and moulded generations of writers. The story of a little woman in a provincial town who dreams of happiness and then perishes by her own hand is worked up by Flaubant into a profound and heart rending study of human bondage.

Salammbo

Gustave Flaubert (and others)

An epic story of lust, cruelty, and sensuality, this historical novel is set in Carthage in the days following the First Punic War with Rome.

Biography

Gustave Flaubert was born in Rouen in 1821. After illness interrupted a career in law, he retired to live with his widowed mother and devote himself to writing. He achieved limited success in his own lifetime, but his fame and reputation grew steadily after his death in 1880.