In studying Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, in what way can we say that the novel is an autobiographical one?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The topic featured could encompass a book.  The answers presented in this forum might only be able to offer a start in the process of this examination.  There might be a handful of surface level comparisons between both the novel and its author.  One such parallel is that the author himself was engaged in a rather fruitless, yet torrid affair with an older woman.  This is similar to Emma, whose affairs are filled with a sense of passion devoid of much else to follow in terms of substantial composition.  Another comparison between the two is more along the lines of the style.  Flaubert himself was a student of law and within this process there is a natural attention to strict detail and construction of "truth."  This same level of attention to nuances is evident in the novel's realistic style, where reality is detailed in the most stringent of manners.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Flaubert is known as having said "Madame Bovary. C'est Moi!", OR I am Mdme Bovary. In addition to what the previous post said, Flaubert used Bovary as a way to express his own political and philosophical views of the idealistic views of success of the burgoise as that the only way that they viewed success was through acquaintances with the aristocracy, through the gain of material wealth, and through showing off. Flaubert was sick of the way the middle classes were about to lead vacuous lives in search of an idealized dream of riches. This is not the idea provincial life and yet it was reaching even those provinces due to the influence of the Napoleonic rule.

In Bovary, we see these behaviors which he condemned, and we also get to criticize them with the public.

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Madame Bovary

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