Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary Quotes

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Quotes About Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary

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She loved the sea for its storms alone, cared for vegetation only when it grew here and there among ruins. She had to extract a kind of personal advantage from things and she rejected as useless everything that promised no immediate gratification - for her temperament was more sentimental than artistic, and what she was looking for was emotions, not scenery. ~ Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Gustave Flaubert
I do not admire Flaubert, yet when I am told that by his own admission all he hoped to accomplish in in Salammbo was to 'give the impression of the color yellow' and in Madame Bovary 'to do something that would have the color of those mouldy cornices that harbor wood lice' and that he cared for nothing else, such generally extra-literary preoccupations leave me anything but indifferent. ~ Andre Breton
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Andre Breton
All the sentences in Madame Bovary could be examined with wonder, but there is one in particular that always stops me in admiration. Flaubert has just shown us Emma at the piano with Charles watching her. He says, "She struck the notes with aplomb and ran from top to bottom of the keyboard without a break. Thus shaken up, the old instrument, whose strings buzzed, could be heard at the other end of the village when the window was open, and often the bailiff's clerk, passing along the highroad, bareheaded and in list slippers, stopped to listen, his sheet of paper in his hand."

The more you look at a sentence like that, the more you can learn from it. At one end of it, we are with Emma and this very solid instrument "whose strings buzzed," and at the other end of it we are across the village with this very concrete clerk in his list slippers. With regard to what happens to Emma in the rest of the novel, we may think that it makes no difference that the instrument has buzzing strings or that the clerk wears list slippers and has a piece of paper in his hand, but Flaubert had to create a believable village to put Emma in. It's always necessary to remember that the fiction writer is much less immediately concerned with grand ideas and bristling emotions than he is with putting list slippers on clerks. ~ Flannery O'Connor
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Flannery O'Connor
Dad once noted (somewhat morbidly, I thought at the time) that American institutions would be infinitely more successful in facilitating the pursuit of knowledge if they held classes at night, rather than in the daytime, from 8:00 PM to 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning. As I ran through the darkness, I understood what he meant. Frank red brick, sunny classrooms, symmetrical quads and courts--it was a setting that mislead kids to believe that Knowledge, that Life itself, was bright, clear, and freshly mowed. Dad said a student would be infinitely better off going out into the world if he/she studied the periodic table of elements, Madame Bovary (Flaubert, 1857), the sexual reproduction of a sunflower for example, with deformed shadows congregating on the classroom walls, the silhouettes of fingers and pencils leaking onto the floor, gastric howls from unseen radiators, and a teacher's face not flat and faded, not delicately pasteled by a golden late afternoon, but serpentine, gargoyled, Cyclopsed by the inky dark and feeble light from a candle. He/she would understand "everything and nothing," Dad said, if there was nothing discernible in the windows but a lamppost mobbed by blaze-crazy moths and darkness, reticent and nonchalant, as darkness always was. ~ Marisha Pessl
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Marisha Pessl
Madame Bovary is one my favorite novels. Emma Bovary will always be an enigma, but as the years pass, I feel that I understand her better. She has a violent nostalgia, almost an infantile nostalgia, to be understood by the men surrounding her. I like her relentless fight for independence, her rebellion against the mediocre, and her quest for the sublime, even if she burns her wigs in the process. I like that Flaubert never judges her morally for her self-destructiveness, for her desperate attempt to satisfy her wildest desires and appetites. ~ Sophie Barthes
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Sophie Barthes
In Madame Bovary Flaubert never allows anything to go on too long; he can suggest years of boredom in a paragraph, capture the essence of a character in a single conversational exchange, or show us the gulf between his soulful heroine and her dull-witted husband in a sentence (and one that, moreover, presages all Emma's later experience of men). ( ... ) This is one of the summits of prose art, and not to know such a masterpiece is to live a diminished life. ~ Michael Dirda
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Michael Dirda
Proust, who did not greatly admire Flaubert, except perhaps in his narrow sense as a stylist - or perhaps only did not care very much for his work - nevertheless owed him a great deal, without realizing how much. From Flaubert he obtained the art of expressing his characters indirectly, through a monologue interieur. This method of characterization is one of Flaubert's greatest contributions to the art of fiction and, as we have seen in Madame Bovary, it is very different from the direct method of characterization practised by Balzac and Stendhal. ~ Enid Starkie
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Enid Starkie
Ah!" thought Rodolphe, turning very pale, "that was what she came for." At last he said with a calm air
"Dear madame, I have not got them."
He did not lie. If he had had them, he would, no doubt, have given them, although it is generally disagreeable to do such fine things: a demand for money being, of all the winds that blow upon love, the coldest and most destructive. ~ Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Gustave Flaubert
Not to me," I said.
Kafka wrote his first story in one night. Stendhal wrote The
Charterhouse of Parma in forty-nine days. Melville wrote Moby-
Dick in sixteen months. Flaubert spent five years on Madame
Bovary. Musil worked for eighteen years on The Man Without
Qualities and died before he could finish. Do we care about any
of that now? ~ Paul Auster
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Paul Auster
I must confess that in all the times I read Madame Bovary, I never noticed the heroine's rainbow eyes. Should I have? Would you? Was I perhaps too busy noticing things that Dr Starkie was missing (though what they might have been I can't for the moment think)? Put it another way: is there a perfect reader somewhere, a total reader? Does Dr Starkie's reading of Madame Bovary contain all the responses which I have when I read the book, and then add a whole lot more, so that my reading is in a way pointless? Well, I hope not. My reading might be pointless in terms of the history of literary criticism; but it's not pointless in terms of pleasure. I can't prove that lay readers enjoy books more than professional critics; but I can tell you one advantage we have over them. We can forget. Dr Starkie and her kind are cursed with memory: the books they teach and write about can never fade from their brains. They become family. Perhaps this is why some critics develop a faintly patronising tone towards their subjects. They act as if Flaubert, or Milton, or Wordsworth were some tedious old aunt in a rocking chair, who smelt of stale powder, was only interested in the past, and hadn't said anything new for years. Of course, it's her house, and everybody's living in it rent free; but even so, surely it is, well, you know…time?
Whereas the common but passionate reader is allowed to forget; he can go away, be unfaithful with other writers, come back and be entranced again. Domesticity ~ Julian Barnes
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Julian Barnes
Madame was in her room upstairs. She wore an open dressing gown that showed between the shawl facings of her bodice a pleated chamisette with three gold buttons. Her belt was a corded girdle with great tassels, and her small garnet coloured slippers had a large knot of ribbon that fell over her instep. She had bought herself a blotting book, writing case, pen-holder, and envelopes, although she had no one to write to; she dusted her what-not, looked at herself in the glass, picked up a book, and then, dreaming between the lines, let it drop on her knees. She longed to travel or to go back to her convent. She wished at the same time to die and to live in Paris. ~ Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Gustave Flaubert
He had the vanity to believe men did not like him – while men simply did not know him. ~ Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Gustave Flaubert
Of all possible debauches, traveling is the greatest that I know; that's the one they invented when they got tired of all the others. ~ Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Gustave Flaubert
I'm the sort of man who's doomed to be a failure and I'll go to my grave without ever knowing whether I was real gold or just tinsel! ~ Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Gustave Flaubert
So long as there is gold underneath, who cares about the dust on top? Literature! That old whore! We must try to dose her with mercury and pills and clean her out from top to bottom, she has been so ultra-screwed by filthy pricks! ~ Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Gustave Flaubert
If you knew all the dreams I've dreamed! ~ Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Gustave Flaubert
Not a lawyer but carries within him the debris of a poet. ~ Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Gustave Flaubert
I first read 'Madame Bovary' in my teens or early twenties. ~ Lydia Davis
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Lydia Davis
I was resting in the shadow of that ideal happiness as in the shade of the poisonous manchineel tree, without foreseeing the consequences. ~ Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Gustave Flaubert
Woman is a vulgar animal from whom man has created an excessively beautiful ideal. ~ Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Gustave Flaubert
I tried to discover, in the rumor of forests and waves, words that other men could not hear, and I pricked up my ears to listen to the revelation of their harmony. ~ Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Gustave Flaubert
Are you not tired as I am of waking up every morning and seeing the sun all over again? Tired of living the same life, suffering the same sorrow? Tired of desiring, and tired of being sated? Tired of waiting, and tired of possessing? ~ Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Gustave Flaubert
You should have a heart in order to feel other people's hearts. ~ Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Gustave Flaubert
...those works that don't touch the heart, it seems to me, miss the true aim of Art. ~ Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Gustave Flaubert
What was it that thus set so far asunder the morning of the day before yesterday and the evening of to-day? ~ Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Gustave Flaubert
To return to antiquity [in literature]: that has been done. To return to the Middle Ages: that too has been done. Remains the present day. But the ground is shaky: so where can you set the foundations? An answer to this question must be found if one is to produce anything vital and hence lasting. All this disturbs me so much that I no longer like to be spoken to about it. ~ Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Gustave Flaubert
I grew up in a hospital and as a child I played in the dissecting room ~ Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Gustave Flaubert
Exaggerated speeches hiding mediocre affections must be discounted; as if the fullness of the soul did not sometimes overflow in the emptiest metaphors, since no one can ever give the precise measure of his needs, nor of his conceptions, nor of his sorrows; and since human speech is like a cracked kettle (caldron), upon which we beat out tunes fit to make bears dance when our aim is to move the stars to pity. ~ Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Gustave Flaubert
Be orderly and disciplined in daily life, like a good bourgeois, so that I might be wild and violent in my art. ~ Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Gustave Flaubert
There were dresses with trains, deep mysteries, anguish hidden beneath smiles. Then came the society of the duchesses; all were pale; all got up at four o'clock; the women, poor angels, wore English point on their petticoats; and the men, unappreciated geniuses under a frivolous outward seeming, rode horses to death at pleasure parties, ~ Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Gustave Flaubert
Lots of talk lately about the GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL that seems to be exclusively masculine. And how many of the characters in the GENIUS BOOKS are likable? Is Holden Caulfield likable? Is Meursault in The Stranger? Is Henry Miller? Is any character in any of these system novels particularly likable? Aren't they usually loathsome but human, etc., loathsome and neurotic and obsessed? In my memory, all the characters in Jonathan Franzen are total douchebags (I know, I know, I'm not supposed to use that, feminine imagery, whatever, but it is SO satisfying to say and think). How about female characters in the genius books? Was Madame Bovary likable? Was Anna Karenina? Is Daisy Buchanan likable? Is Daisy Miller? Is it the specific way in which supposed readers HATE unlikable female characters (who are too depressed, too crazy, too vain, too self-involved, too bored, too boring), that mirrors the specific way in which people HATE unlikable girls and women for the same qualities? We do not allow, really, the notion of the antiheroine, as penned by women, because we confuse the autobiographical, and we pass judgment on the female author for her terrible self-involved and indulgent life. We do not hate Scott Fitzgerald in "The Crack-Up" or Georges Bataille in Guilty for being drunken and totally wading in their own pathos, but Jean Rhys is too much of a victim. ~ Kate Zambreno
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary quotes by Kate Zambreno
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