Often described as the perfect novel, Madame Bovary is said to have had an influence on modern fiction that is so profound it is difficult to perceive. It relates the tale of a bored and unsatisfied woman, struggling to find contentment in nineteenth-century middle-class French society. To cope with the emptiness of her existence she embarks on a series of disastrous affairs and runs up huge debts. First famous for its scandalous content, the novel later became recognised as the masterpiece of realism.
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