by Gustave Flaubert
Madame Bovary Art and Culture Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Lowell Bair's translation.
[…] the elusive thoughts that came back into her mind were quickly dispersed by the overwhelming flow of the music. She abandoned herself to the soaring melodies and felt herself migrating to the depths of her being, as though the violin bows were being drawn across her nerves. (II.15.6)
Emma feels the music much more than the average listener – she feels as though she is a part of it. This is analogous to the intensely personally way in which she reads books and looks at paintings.
She filled her heart with the melodious laments as they slowly floated up to her accompanied by the strains of the double basses, like the cries of a castaway in the tumult of a storm. She recognized all the ecstasy and anguish that had once nearly brought on her death. Lucia’s voice seemed only the echo of her own heart, and the illusion that was now holding her in its spell seemed a part of her own life. (II.15.8)
Emma surrenders herself totally to the opera, and over-identifies with Lucia. Rather than being able to appreciate the music for what it is, she inserts herself completely into it, losing her hold on reality.
She was the amorous heroine of all novels and plays, the vague "she" of all poetry. He saw in her shoulders the amber skin of the "Bathing Odalisque"; she had the long-waisted figure of a feudal chatelaine; she also resembled the "Pale woman of Barcelona," but above all she was an angel! (III.5.20)
Léon’s visions of the ideal woman are based on works of art; to make Emma fit his mold of the perfect woman, he superimposes them onto her.