“Madame Bovary – cést moi!” Gustave Flaubert once famously declared, identifying strongly with his badly behaved heroine. He slaved for years over this masterpiece, polishing every sentence, shouting it aloud to the boatmen on the Seine, reading all the novels he described his heroine reading, and then facing a trial for obscenity when the book was finally published.
Who was the man behind this French classic? Why is this story of adultery in Normandy so universally popular? What have film makers made of the story, what was the influence of the novel?
Susannah Fullerton tells the tale of the man who anatomised an adulterous female in a way that had never been done before.