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The Originality of Madame Bovary


Alan Raitt

Contents: Impersonality (the celebrated if much misunderstood doctrine of the effacement of the author from his text) – Point of view (the use of the point of view of the fictitious characters to mask the presence of the writer) – Dialogue and «style indirect libre» (the reduction of the amount of direct speech and its replacement by the famous free indirect style, one of his most famous techniques) – Description (the strikingly new function he assigns to description) – «Realism» (his ambivalent relationship with the theories and practice of realism current in his time) – Style (his numerous and vital linguistic innovations) – Beauty (the delicate question of what he meant by his emphasis on beauty in the novel, which is anything but an ideal of fine writing) – Architecture (the ways in which the themes of the novel are reflected in an unprecedently tight and cunning structure) – Flaws in the glass? (the possible hints that the work is self-reflexive rather than just an image of a world outside).