*** Requesting writergrrl101 ONLY ***
~Timeframe- 1-2 days
~Prompt: Select a published work of literary analysis and examine it for its merits and/ or weaknesses. Writing should be based on a close reading and critique of this academic and analytical work. Quote from text, but make quotes brief and to the point. Select from annotated bibliography below. Thank you!
?The American Experience: Andrew Carnegie?The Gilded Age.? PBS Online. 1999. 1
Oct. 2006 .
Provides a historical overview of the excesses of the Gilded Age, and thus provides helpful background for the setting of Wharton?s novel. Offers such facts as ?Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish once threw a dinner party to honor her dog who arrived sporting a $15,000 diamond collar,? although ?in 1890, 11 million of the nation's 12 million families earned less than $1,200 per year,? in America. Shows the disparity in wealth and opportunities for all Americans during the era when Lily lived, and helps to suggest why Lily might be seen as forced to choose between wealth and marriage, and the life of an impoverished seamstress. Site provides a useful historical timeline. No ?Works Cited? at the end, however the publication is a reliable source.
Byatt, A.S. ?Scenes from Provincial Life.? The Guardian. July 27, 2002. Oct 1 2006.
Byatt examines Flaubert?s fated heroine in terms of her social placement in society. This noted contemporary British author, whose novels such as Angels and Insects frequently discuss sexual repression during the Victorian age, offers a highly sympathetic view of Flaubert?s doomed heroine, calling Emma an imaginative woman ?trapped in a house and kitchen,? and portrays the novel less of a critique of the dangers of reading, as Byatt herself first ?read? it, but as a criticism of the shallow values of the emerging bourgeois society of Flaubert?s era. Byatt offers an interesting perspective on Flaubert?s possible motivations for creating a heroine destined to die in a materialist world. Good list of works cited.
Deppman, Jed. ?History with style: the impassible writing of Flaubert - Gustave
Flaubert.? Style. 1996. Oct 1 2006.
Deppman discusses the tension between historical verisimilitude in portraying society with the need to create artistic prose in Flaubert?addresses questions as to whether Emma dies from an overdose of art, and as a result of her own psychological makeup, or if her end is deterministically driven and is a product of societal forces. This article contains over 20 pages of valuable material and provides 19 works cited entries at the end.
Duckworth, Lorna. ?`Madame Bovary syndrome' sends record number of women
bankrupt.? The Independent. July 23, 2001. 1 Oct 2006.
Duckworth examines Madame Bovary as a contemporary societal phenomenon in modern Briton, as the need to ?keep up with the Joneses? in terms of conspicuous consumption driving women into excessive spending. Emma?s end, viewed as such, is not a product of internal ennui but of social competition. Although noteworthy, the article primarily focuses on monetary concepts, with little discussion on how consumption led to her downfall.
Ebert, Rodger. ?Madame Bovary.? Film review of 1991 Chabrol version. The Chicago
Sun Times. December 25, 1991. Oct 1 2006. .
Despite the fact that this is published as a film review of the 1991 version of ?Madame Bovary,? popular film critic Rodger Ebert spends little page space reviewing the film, and instead tends to focus on why Madame Bovary is not an appropriate or likeable heroine for contemporary American viewers. Specifically, he focuses on her suicide as the ?reason? that she cannot be seen as a role model. He compares her with whom he sees as the quintessential American coquette/literary and cinematic parallel, Scarlett O?Hara, but writes ?the difference between Bovary and O'Hara is in how they react to misfortune, and their different styles say a great deal about the differences between France and America: Emma kills herself, while Scarlett plants potatoes.? No works cited page.
Ebert, Roger. ?The House of Mirth.? Film review of 2000 Terrence Davies version.
The Chicago Sun Times. December 22, 2000. 1 Oct. 2006. .
Ebert, despite his dismissal view of Madame Bovary as a depressed, suicidal middle-class woman, finds Lilly Bart to be a far more sympathetic protagonist. Ebert calls it one of the ?saddest stories ever told about the traps that society sets for women,? as Bart is forced to dwell in a society where marriage is her vocation. Denied marriage, the only other societal option is suicide. Society is the agent of her demise, not Lilly: ?her life is not unpleasant until a chain of events destroys her with the thoroughness and indifference of a meat grinder.? This article ties in societal pressures with Lily?s death, asserting that her death was evitable.
Goetz, Thomas H. "Flaubert, Gustave." World Book Online Reference Center. 2006. 1
Oct 2006. .
Goetz provides a biographical overview, giving insight into Flaubert?s role as a uniquely realistic writer, thus stressing Emma?s economic and moral ruin not as extraordinary, but ordinary. Helpful reference material link.
Inness, Sherrie. A. ?An economy of beauty: the beauty system in Edith Wharton's ?The
Looking Glass? and ?Permanent Wave.?? Studies in Short Fiction. Spring 1993.
2 Oct 2006. .
Inness addresses the role of beauty in all of Wharton?s fiction, and the ways in which women are regarded in society as physically beautiful and seen merely as objects from men. These aspects are seen as crucial within the novel in motivating Lily?s suicide.
Jong, Erica. ?Fashion Victim.? Salon.com. September 1997. 1 Oct 2006.
1970?s feminist author Jong and author of Fear of Flying suggest that Emma dies because she has attempted to make her life into an erotic novel. Focuses mainly on the circumstances leading up to Emma?s suicide and how her inner ?erotic novel? led to her death. Jong cites key passages and examples from the text.
Pizer, Donald. ?The naturalism of Edith Wharton's 'House of Mirth. 20th Century
Literature. Summer 1995. 1 Oct 2006. .
Pitzer stresses the naturalistic aspects of Wharton?s work, offering possible parallels with Flaubert?s influence in literary naturalism and realism, quotes, a ?notable attempt, however, to free Wharton criticism from this conventional assumption occurred in 1953, when Blake Nevius observed that Lily Bart, in The House of Mirth, is ?as completely and typically the product of her heredity, environment, and the historical moment ... as the protagonist of any recognized naturalistic novel.?? Extensive work cited page.
Sartre, Jean-Paul. The Family Idiot: Gustave Flaubert, 1821?1857. Trans. Carol Cosman.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.
Sartre, author of ?Suicide,? presents his own meditations of Flaubert?s life, and the way that he sees Flaubert?s life realized in the earlier author?s works. Interesting, however primarily focuses on Flaubert?s other works and how they pertain to Madame Bovary.
[ Order Custom Essay ]
[ View Full Essay ]
The paradox of Flaubert's project of writing to satirize reading is clear, through Jong's interpretation of his most famous work. "A novelist mocking a heroine besotted by novels? Then this must be a writer mocking himself! And indeed, Flaubert memorably said that he had drawn Madame Bovary from life -- and after himself. 'I have dissected myself to the quick,' he wrote." (Jong, 1997) This acts as an important reminder that Flaubert did not merely carefully observe and record the mundane details of the world he saw around him, but also engaged in rigorous psychological self-scrutiny to produce a sense of realism within the pages of Bovary. Emma's interior life, however focused it may be centered on shallow objects and pursuits, is what makes her stand apart from the depicted heroines of pulp novels. Flaubert's prose is not merely descriptive and realistic. It also is psychologically full of nuance and more detailed than authors of sensationalist novels, whose heroines do not have a clear, discernable motivation for why they transgress sexual norms.
Although Jong's own fiction is often described as feminist, Jong points out that Emma's sense of discontent with her life is not merely connected to the fact that her feminine role as a housewife is frustrating. Emma does not seek a more useful life, Emma seeks "ecstasy and transcendence" that is in short supply in her rural French community. Jong's stress upon the spirituality of Emma's quest is an important reminder of the fact that Emma begins her education in a convent, and actually seems to show a superficial aptitude for the life of a nun. Emma later brings her fervor for gracious living to her life as a wife, then a mistress. Emma's inner life may seem to be centered around the pursuit of empty things, like beautiful home goods, dresses, and beautiful love affairs, but she is located squarely within a society that valorizes such objects and offers them as the only secular solution to ennui. "Emma's drama is the gap between illusion and reality, the distance between desire and its fulfillment." (Jong, 1997)
Jong says: "her search for ecstasy is ours," in short, Emma is a uniquely modern heroine, for we all seek transcendence, all of us who read, and life invariably falls short. This is the final paradox of Bovary -- a novel that critiques itself and a genre likely to be very dear to the heart of a reader is so successful, and still feels modern today. Although Jong's essay does not offer an extensive, deep interpretation of the entire novel, it acts as an important reminder of critical aspects of the work that may be overlooked, like the role of religion in the novel, and the importance of reading to Emma's interior life.