Gustave Flaubert's masterpiece, Madame Bovary, was published in 1857. The book shocked many of its readers and caused a scandalized chain reaction that spread through all France and ultimately resulted in the author's prosecution for immorality.
Since that time, however, Madame Bovary has been recognized by students of literature as being the forerunner and model of our most prevalent and influential literary genre, the realistic novel. It is now considered a book of great intrinsic worth and one which contains an important and moving story. In addition, it provides a standard against which to compare the works and writers that have followed it. It is impossible to understand or appreciate modern European and American fiction without an acquaintance with Madame Bovary.