Additional Book Information
Series: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Charles Bovary, Country DoctorA Portrait of a Simple Man
by Jean Améry, translated from the German by Adrian Nathan West
An NYRB Classics Original
Jean Améry undertakes one of the most unusual projects in twentieth-century literature: a novel-essay devoted to salvaging the poor bungler Charles Bovary from the depredations of his creator, Gustave Flaubert. As a once-promising novelist reduced to hack journalism for two decades after the Second World War, Améry had a particular sympathy for failure, and Charles Bovary, Country Doctor is his phenomenology of the loser, blending fiction and philosophy to assert the moral claims of the most famous, most risible cuckold in all of Western literature. Charles tells his side, Améry vindicates Flaubert’s hated bourgeoisie, and in the end, the Master himself winds up in the docket, forced to account for the implausibility of his own vaunted realism. At the same time, in Charles’s words, Améry offers a moving paean to the majesty of Emma Bovary herself, and to the supreme value of love.