Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
- Full Title: Madame Bovary
- When Written: Croisset, France
- Where Written: 1851-1857
- When Published: 1857
- Literary Period: This novel marks the transition from romanticism to realism.
- Genre: Novel
- Setting: Tostes, Yonville, and Rouen, France, mid-19th century.
- Climax: Emma’s death.
- Antagonist: Monsieur Lheureux.
- Point of View: In the first chapter of the novel, the narrator is a plural first-person “we”, which stands for a group of Charles’s classmates. Throughout the rest of the novel, the narration is third-person omniscient.
Sued. After the publication of Madame Bovary, Flaubert was sued for the book’s obscene depictions of extramarital affairs. In expressing his outrage, the prosecutor identified some of the book’s key literary innovations, free indirect discourse and narrative ambiguity. The prosecutor stated in court: “Who can condemn this woman in the book? Nobody. Such is the conclusion. There is not in the book a character who can condemn her…. Would you condemn her in the name of the author’s conscience? I do not know what the author’s conscience thinks.”
His character, himself. Flaubert once said that when Emma took arsenic, he had awful stomach pains.