Although Emma Bovary longed for a life of luxury and passion with a dashing lover who would live for her alone, she settled for marriage to a kind but dull country doctor. When the boredom of small-town life becomes unbearable, she indulges in her romantic dreams by taking lovers and extravagant spending. With her disastrous choice to turn her back on the real love that she's offered and restlessly seek something better, Emma reflects the false ideals and shallow values of her spiritually bankrupt society. Her story, rendered in Gustave Flaubert's lyrical prose, constitutes a satire of middle-class pretentiousness as well as an unprecedentedly realistic, nonjudgmental representation of an adulterous heroine. The most influential French novel of the 19th century, Madame Bovary was published in 1857. In addition to its popular and critical acclaim, the novel excited a burst of moral outrage, and Flaubert was unsuccessfully tried on the charge of contributing to public depravity. The book remains at the center of any discussion of realistic novels of provincial bourgeois life and literary depictions of adultery. Graced by 10 full-page line illustrations, this handsome hardcover edition presents the original English translation of Flaubert's masterpiece by Eleanor Marx-Aveling.