Madame Bovary, one of the most celebrated novels ever written, defined the novel as an art form when it was published in 1875. Lydia Davis’s landmark translation of Flaubert’s work breathes new life into it. When it was first published, Madame Bovary was embraced by bourgeois women who felt it illuminated the frustrations of their lives. It tells the story of Emma Rouault, whose dreams of a passionate life crumble when she marries a dull, provincial doctor Charles Bovary. She struggles to escape the tedium of her days as a wife and mother. She has a series of disappointing affairs and spends money getting into debt, with tragic consequences for her husband and daughter.
Lydia Davis discusses her English translation of Gustave Flaubert’s acclaimed classic novel Madame Bovary, considered the first masterpiece of realist fiction. In this landmark translation, Davis honors the nuances and particulars of a style that has long beguiled readers of French, giving the novel a new life in English.
On today's Selected Shorts, office politics. David Rakoff reads "Alvin the Typesetter," by Lydia Davis, and Steven Colbert reads "The Lie," by T.C. Boyle.