Who was the Real Madame Bovary?

by Rachel Baker on September 17, 2014

There was a time in my life that I tried to read all the books one was ‘supposed to read’ to qualify as “being well-read”. I failed – I couldn’t relate to a great many of the ‘old books’, and I felt like there was some dead critic somewhere in heaven laughing his or her ass off because so many people thought they had to read books like Ulysses – so what was the point?. Mostly, none of the books spoke to me, so I couldn’t finish them. In fact, they still sit in a tupperware storage bin labeled ‘classics’ – because one day, maybe I’ll be able to get through them.

One book I always think I want to read is Madame Bovary. I even have four copies – three copies are half read, the fourth doesn’t even have a cracked spine. Four some reason though, I can never finish it – it just doesn’t hold my attention. I sort of feel like the character changes in a way that no longer interests me; so I put the book away – unfinished. I haven’t thought about Madame Bovary in probably six years…until now.

I found this article that tries to figure out who is the real Madame Bovary. Julie Kavanagh does a phenomenal job meting out the women in Flaubert’s life and then trying to figure out which one of them was the real Madame Bovary. I’ve only gotten through half the article (seems par for the course where Madame Bovary is concerned), but it appears there are several women who make up the whole.

I will be finishing this article probably this evening. If you have any interest at all about how an author’s world affects their writing and character development (“write what you know”), then this article may be of interest to you. I know this article has encouraged me to crack the spine of my fourth copy; maybe knowing Madame Bovary was a combination of several real people will help me to relate.

This article was written by: Rachel Baker – Click to Become a Patron or to follow on Twitter.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Amazon Wish ListEvernoteFlipboardInstapaperNewsVineSpringpadWordPressTypePad PostStumbleUponLiveJournalPocketRedditShare

Previous post:

Next post: