Gustave Flaubert will always be identified with his classic of infidelity and female unhappiness, "Madame Bovary," but his second, much less famous novel is perhaps more interesting and provocative. He was one of the first novelists to avoid easy answers and pat morals, as well as one of the first to dissect the bourgeoisie and to offer up an alienated hero (or anti-hero in this case). Set during the Revolution of 1848, this novel feels boldly modern and, despite its title, there is nothing sentimental about it. A key novel of the 19th century.
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