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Madame Bovary became notorious and a bestseller after Gustave Flaubert was acquitted from charges of obscenity in 1856. It details the many adulterous affairs and extravagances of Emma Bovary, a provincial doctor's wife. Her behaviour explores the banality and emptiness of rural life.
Flaubert considered himself a perfectionist, which is mirrored in the immaculate style of his writing. Madame Bovary is still considered one of the greatest literary texts of all time.