“She felt her heart beginning to beat again, and the blood flowing inside her flesh like a river of milk.” ~ Gustave Flaubert [Madame Bovary]

“” I knew from that moment on, till my dying day, I would be in love with Emma Bovary.” Thus, Mario Vargas Llosa, Peruvian novelist and presidential candidate, paid tribute to his lifelong passion for Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.” ~ Lucy Pollard-Gott  [The Fictional 100]

Fevers of flesh. Passion particles. Deep secret pathways and underground longings. Sooner than later the silence of silence became her own silence and killed what was left of Emma.

Her final desire: death of torment and another hour. Poison, she took it, to poison her wretchedness and the last crumbs of her passions. The key of Capharnaum opens the ruins of woman in an underground grave. Debris field of heartbreak, illusions, the real and the dream. Her poetry and passions perished in acid. Not angels but demons now visiting her heavens, to tear them up.

Life lied. Lover lied. All a lie. Shipwrecked, she struggled with spirit and dragged herself one tick at a time through the hair curls of life. Marriage. Did you not promise Emma happiness, happiness and blessedness with the fulfillment of duty and a ring? Emptiness not happiness puncturing holes in a woman’s heart. Capsized, it sank to a bottomless chaos. Death of the rapture of wife.

Emma! You dreamed the most beautiful dreams you could dream to make your heart drops of emptiness bearable. Such thirst, such hunger for a breathless higher human ecstasy and a true love undiluted pleasure. And so you drowned your heart in the rivers of your dreams to feel the milk of the dream fill you with everything.

But instead the lie of the dream moved through your veins like venom. Body bitten in a swamp of earthly desires. Oh Madame Bovary, Charles, Léon, and Rodolphe, such misery and disaster. Such a chronic violent collapse!

What to do with such bloodstains of realism in literature? Bovarysme, the will-to-illusion through fiction… And so, the artist paints another picture. The poet writes another poem about the Emma Bovarys who inhabit our world.

One of the greatest character creations in literature ::: Madame Bovary ::: desperate destiny dreams.

“In an 1853 letter, Flaubert remarked that Emma Bovarys could be found suffering in at least twenty French villages at that moment. To be sure, such unhappy women inhabit not only the rural France of the 1850s; they represent not so much a certain place or time as ‘a certain permanent attitude toward life, capable of appearing in the most diverse guises in different places and different eras,’ as Vargas Llosa describes it.”  ~Lucy Pollard-Gott  [The Fictional 100]


* My art inspired by Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Bad Girl, and Lucy Pollard-Gott’s wonderful book The Fictional 100, Ranking the most influential characters in world literature and legend. (Madame Bovary ranks no. 37).

Author Lucy Pollard-Gott also on twitter @Fictional100 and her blog Some of My Best Friends are Fictional