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The ending fits with the rest of the book, I believe Larry Send a noteboard - 24/01/2011 11:04:02 PM
Nous étions à l'Étude, quand le Proviseur entra, suivi d'un nouveau habillé en bourgeois et d'un garçon de classe qui portait un grand pupitre. Ceux qui dormaient se réveillèrent, et chacun se leva comme surpris dans son travail.

We were in the prep.-room when the Head came in, followed by a new boy in 'mufti' and a beadle carrying a big desk. The sleepers aroused themselves, and we all stood up, putting on a startled look, as if we had been buried in our work.

Honestly, my biggest problem with this translation is that the last sentence completely loses the rhythm and succinctness of the original. He's describing this scene, it's all quite sudden, heads are turning to the new kid now, not two minutes later when one is done reading that sentence (yes, slight hyperbole there, but you get the point :P ).


That problem exists throughout the translation. It's not a bad story to read, but it isn't Flaubert's anymore, as May deviated from the syntax too much in his translation.

What makes Madame Bovary so compelling to read is that Flaubert never beats the reader across the head with the points raised above. Rather, the reader is left to decipher these elements within scenes that show almost the whole gamut of human emotion and relationships, minus the key one of faithful love. This little element, so conspicuous in its absence, perhaps may lead some readers to question the utility of this banal tale of dreams and delusional aspirations within the context of a harsh, dreary provincial life where the villagers live under the yoke of tradition and materialist avarice. Avarice perhaps is the glue to this tale. It certainly underlies much of the actions such as Emma's desire to rise even further above her former station, Charles' desire to become a famous physician, Homais' lusting after the Legion of Honor, and of course Lheureux's aggrandizing behavior toward Emma and (presumably) other Yonville villagers. It is such a petty vice, which perhaps makes it all the more appalling to read about in the context of witnessing the ruining of a family.

Surely the last thirty or so pages can't be described as anything else than "beating the reader around the head rather hard", to go with your words. It mystifies me, I must say. It almost reads as if he was sick of the book and wanted to end it quickly - I already mentioned the "rocks fall, everybody dies" line coming to my mind as I read it.


I thought the opposite. I found that after setting up all the dominoes, he just set them in motion. It might seem overly quick compared to the previous hundreds of pages of buildup, but it didn't feel rushed at all to me. As for the head beating, I thought that after subtly portraying the baseness of these characters that it was fitting to see these snakes as they slithered out of their dens when Emma became entrapped. It was quick, sudden, and yet totally in character with what we saw of the characters.
Illusions fall like the husk of a fruit, one after another, and the fruit is experience. - Narrator, Sylvie

Je suis méchant.
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/Discussion: Madame Bovary - 20/01/2011 06:22:50 PM 7396 Views
Re: /Review: Madame Bovary - 20/01/2011 07:20:36 PM 1554 Views
I agree with much of what you say. - 20/01/2011 07:57:57 PM 1892 Views
I'm glad to hear that the read wasn't easy for you, either. - 21/01/2011 06:30:00 AM 978 Views
Yeah, I think it's safe to say some of those words would give even native speakers pause. - 21/01/2011 06:37:02 PM 1599 Views
I'm certain it was intentional. - 21/01/2011 07:21:45 PM 976 Views
I want to read two more "serious" works before skipping over to Druon. - 22/01/2011 06:03:09 PM 1040 Views
Ambitious. - 22/01/2011 06:26:59 PM 1140 Views
Re: Ambitious. - 25/01/2011 06:20:12 PM 2051 Views
I don't think I've even heard of Benjamin. - 25/01/2011 09:41:55 PM 950 Views
Walter Benjamin - 25/01/2011 10:00:13 PM 2075 Views
I think he was the youngest son of Jacob. *NM* - 26/01/2011 05:16:26 AM 505 Views
I'm halfway through the second part now - 20/01/2011 11:58:01 PM 1144 Views
I'm interested to see what you think when you finish. - 21/01/2011 06:31:58 AM 957 Views
I hope to be done with it this evening - 22/01/2011 05:09:23 PM 1453 Views
My thoughts - 24/01/2011 06:48:13 AM 1662 Views
Never beats the reader across the head, eh? So what do you make of the ending? - 24/01/2011 10:39:06 PM 1529 Views
The ending fits with the rest of the book, I believe - 24/01/2011 11:04:02 PM 1611 Views
Your comments are one of the reasons I've sworn off translations. - 25/01/2011 05:50:33 PM 974 Views
?OT: reading French literature - 19/02/2011 04:09:36 PM 925 Views
You're new here, aren't you? - 19/02/2011 04:50:50 PM 1544 Views

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