10,869 book reviews and counting...

Charles Bovary, Country Doctor: Portrait of a Simple Man Reviews

Charles Bovary, Country Doctor: Portrait of a Simple Man by Jean Amery, Adrian Nathan West

Charles Bovary, Country Doctor: Portrait of a Simple Man

Jean Amery, Adrian Nathan West

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: The New York Review of Books, Inc
Publisher: The New York Review of Books, Inc
Publication date: 15 Sep 2018
ISBN: 9781681372501

Charles Bovary, Country Doctor is one of the most unusual projects in twentieth-century literature: a novel-essay devoted to salvaging poor bungler Charles Bovary

3 stars out of 5
Houman Barekat
23 Dec 2018

"A timely critique and reimagining of Madame Bovary by a writer who finds Flaubert ‘filled with hatred’"

Améry was born Hanns Chaim Mayer and fought in the resistance against the Nazis in Belgium; having survived internment at Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Belsen, he changed his name and wrote a number of books including an acclaimed disquisition on torture entitled At the Mind’s Limits. This backdrop may explain Améry’s sensitivity to the political implications of Flaubert’s novel, which he calls out as not only reactionary but also unpatriotic. He maintains that the glory of the French republic was built on the types of men who form the butt of the joke in Madame Bovary. By ridiculing “the historical progenitors of those who rightly stood with Zola and Clémenceau on the side of Captain Dreyfus”, Flaubert betrayed the principles of the French revolution, insisting that “the once-poor must remain poor forever, and as such must be irrevocably stupid”.


3 stars out of 5
Doug Battersby
2 Nov 2018

"Jean Améry’s Charles Bovary, Country Doctor reframes the realist masterpiece through the eyes of her husband"

Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email licensing@ft.com to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found here.

Because of its peculiar form as both narrative and essay, Charles Bovary is unlikely to appeal to readers who are not already familiar with and fascinated by Flaubert’s masterpiece. But for the many readers who are, Améry’s daringly imaginative and moving book is a provocation to rethink much of what we thought we knew about one of the most important and widely discussed works of European literature.