A History of Translating “Madame Bovary”

At the London Review of Books, Julian Barnes, author of Flaubert’s Parrot and other acclaimed works, on Madame Bovary:

Madame Bovary is many things — a perfect piece of fictional machinery, the pinnacle of realism, the slaughterer of Romanticism, a complex study of failure — but it is also the first great shopping and fucking novel.

He discusses, with several examples, the perils of translations and what strengths the new one by Lydia Davis has, and has not. I’d wait till after you read the Davis translation to read this piece, though. Link from Blog of a Bookslut.

One Response to “A History of Translating “Madame Bovary””

  1. Amy Says:

    Very thought-provoking. I’ve wondered about that in the past, how you maintain integrity not only to the story, but to the language, since that’s a big part of literary fiction. Sounds like it’s even more difficult than I already imagined it to be.