Madame Bovary was actually a big turning point for Flaubert. You see, he, like Emma, really loved the lush beauty of Romanticism, and even wrote his fair share of romantic tales. Even after Madame Bovary, he went back to the Romantic mode occasionally (notably with Salammbô). However, for this novel, the author’s friends actually challenged him to write a Realist novel, hoping to cure him of his Romantic inclinations – and it’s a good thing they did. Madame Bovary is now regarded as one of the most important examples of this genre. The detail and psychological depth with which Flaubert shapes his characters has made this novel one of the most influential books ever written. For a guy who wasn’t really that interested in Realism to begin with, Flaubert did a pretty amazing job.