Madame Bovary, originally published as Madame Bovary: Provincial Manners, is the debut novel of French writer Gustave Flaubert (1821 - 1880), published in 1857. The eponymous character lives beyond her means in order to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life.

Flaubert was a highly influential writer and has been considered the leading French exponent of literary realism. According to the literary theorist Kornelije Kvas, "in Flaubert, realism strives for formal perfection, so the presentation of reality tends to be neutral, emphasizing the values and importance of style as an objective method of presenting reality". He is known especially for his debut novel Madame Bovary, his Correspondence, and his scrupulous devotion to his style and aesthetics.

The publication of Madame Bovary was followed by more scandal than admiration; it was not understood at first that this novel was the beginning of something new: the scrupulously truthful portraiture of life. Gradually, this aspect of his genius was accepted, and it began to crowd out all others. At the time of his death, he was widely regarded as the most influential French Realist, and he exercised an extraordinary influence over other French writers such as Guy de Maupassant, Edmond de Goncourt, Alphonse Daudet, and Émile Zola.

Other Flaubert novels include:

Sentimental Education - (1869)

The Temptation of Saint Anthony - (1874)

Le Château des Cœurs - (1880)

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