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> Literature

Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary   

In-Person Class:  The Elderwise classroom at the Vineyard Church.

Provincial Customs and . . . Unbearable Ennui: Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (1856)


Dull, satiated, bored, or boring – Gustave Flaubert despised the bourgeoisie. In a letter to Louise Colet, he described the likes of Charles Bovary (a country doctor) and Rodolphe Boulanger (a wealthy landowner) as “two mediocrities in the same milieu.” Yonville’s shopkeepers, pharmacists, and clergymen did not escape Flaubert’s spleen either! All had a hand in Emma Bovary’s life and tragic end. Join Ioana for a discussion of Gustave Flaubert’s portrayal of society’s middle class. She recommends a full reading of Madame Bovary prior to this discussion.  

Text:  Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary.  Translated by Eleanor Marx Aveling. 
Several paperback editions are available at local libraries, and through bookstores and online book vendors.


Ioana Fracassi has been teaching literature at Michigan’s Madonna University for 22 years. Although her repertoire is focused mostly on British, American, and African American authors, her first love remains European literature, especially French, Italian, and Russian. Ioana would like to dedicate this class to her mentor and beloved friend, the late Laurence Rudnicki, Professor of French literature at the University of Michigan, and of English literature at Madonna University.


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