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Monday, January 14, 2008

Madame Bovary's Credit Rating

I've enjoyed Madame Bovary tremendously. One of my New Year's resolutions was to stop stressing out so much about work (I mean, after all, what ever is so stressful about teaching young people literature, poetry, history and philosophy?). I think I simply became obsessed with work, and imagined that if I didn't feel stressed out, I wasn't teaching right. So, I am much more relaxed now--even people I didn't get along with before seem to bother me little (or at least some of them, anyways). I've spent the last 30 days or so feeling this way--much less stressed and generally happy.

I am uncertain about what the terms of the credit arrangement between Madame Bovary and Monsieur Lheureux are. I find Madame Bovary signing away note after note in an effort, it seems to me, to cover one debt with another. I don't understand enough about French law to begin to imagine what the penalties (besides impounding of her property) would be. Did people still go to jail for debt back then? I might do a little research and find out. I am much more interested in the process of Madame's loss of Rodolphe and her renewal of the affair with Leon. Her rendezvous with Leon seem to me much more passionate and with that certain amount of desperation that--given enough of it--might drive a reader crazy imagining all sorts of outrageous promises and words whispered between lovers. I can understand clearly why Rodolphe leaves her: she becomes pushy and demanding, but he didn't have any intention to create a life with her to begin with. Rodolphe was just in it for whatever he could get at the moment. I like Leon better, but it disappoints me that even at this point (Book 3, Chapter 8), he is drifting away from Madame's desperation.

The writing is going well. I drew up a new beginning and it makes much more sense to me than the first one. I sent it to a friend who commented it was far more engaging, despite the fact that the protagonist is even more of a pig than the previous beginning. I had felt stuck for a while regarding this writing business. This past Friday, I went to see the Cleveland Orchestra (free tickets) play Dvorak's #9, and an assortment of other short pieces. I can truly say that the concert cleaned out my system. Saturday morning I wrote like no other weekend. It's truly refreshing!

Well, I have taken my time finishing Madame Bovary because my reading list is much shorter this year and I have "kilometric" books to read which will take far more time to finish. I will write about the end of Madame Bovary next, and my first collection of Billy Collins' poetry.

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At 4:33 PM, Blogger Lazy cow said...

That's a meaty stack of reading you have ahead of you.
I read Madame Bovary years ago and just did not understand Emma at all. Maybe I should reread it now that I am older and wiser!
I'm very flattered that you asked to link to my blog. Please do. (I no longer keep links to other blogs on mine, it takes up too much time).

At 12:15 PM, Blogger Heather said...

Moll Flanders is good as is Anna K. Happy reading JCR!


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