In 1866, Gustave Flaubert - famous French Writer of his time -- wrote Madame Bovary
and called it one of his best writings. There was a definite perception about freedom of expression and about what is obscene and what is not. It was due to that societal sensitivity that novel Madame Bovary was declared immoral and Flaubert charged.
The prosecution attorney logically presented his case and told the court that Flaubert has violated the French literary traditions (What was novel writing before Flaubert? Actually, it was very much like the flowery novels that Emma Bovary (the heroin) feeds on -- Victorian in the high-flown ideals of romantic love and perhaps not too far off from the Harlequin Romances of today's marketplace, but without the sexual innuendo). Madam Bovary does not represent women; her disenchantments are appalling. Flaubert has let a wolf lose in our society that is seen dissecting its fibbers. The Judge and other audiences in the court, who had all read the novel, were mesmerized by noble arguments attorney had offered with deep concern.
Later, Flaubert was asked to present his defence. Flaubert said, “My Lord, Madame Bovary indeed is a wolf as rightly pointed out by the leaned council. But I have not unleashed this wolf. This is done by the French society. I have only pointed it out.”
What Gustave Flaubert pointed out in French society over a century ago is so much clear today. Now sex and society go together in France. Remember how rumors spread as Nicolas Sarkozy-Carla Bruni marriage came under spotlight only some years ago. And now when President Nicolas Sarkozy thought he'd scored a coup by luring an opponent into his cabinet, he seems to have wrecked his entire political strategy. The news is that Dominique Strauss-Kahn, 59, is being investigated in Washington over an alleged fling with a former subordinate has unsettled Mr Sarkozy, who has been working with him to form a new Bretton Woods pact on financial regulation.
What you think about Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and author's predictions coming true? Is Madame Bovary an all powerful wolf in the French society?
posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:02 AM,
At 10:38:00 AM,
Khalid Javaid said...
When Saadat Hussain Minto was tried for writing such mareial, his defence was that he reproduced what he experienced. He contended that obscenity was not in his writings, it was in the minds of some of his readers.
Links to this post: