NRC Leesclub Live: Bas Heijne on Madame Bovary
When we asked Bas Heijne to choose a classic to discuss during Writers Unlimited 2018 at the NRC Reader's Club, he asked for a few weeks' time to think it over. There are so many worthy books to (re)read and discuss! He finally settled on Gustave Flaubert's world-famous psychological novel, Madame Bovary.
The novel, which Flaubert wrote in 56 months, was originally published in serial form in 1856. It became an enormous success the following year, partly because Flaubert, his publisher and the printer were accused of "offending public and religious morality and good taste" in a lawsuit that was the talk of the town. With the help of his connections in high society, Flaubert was ultimately acquitted of "vulgar realism and a shocking description of characters".
The meticulous depiction of his protagonist Emma Bovary, of her affairs and of her desire for a larger life continue to inspire not only writers, playwrights, scriptwriters and graphic novelists but also new readers. The novel is available in Dutch, translated by Hans van Pinxteren and published by LJ Veen Klassiek.
Michel Krielaars, editor of the NRC newspaper's books section, introduced Heijne's discussion of Madame Bovary.
Right after the performance, Bas Heijne was at Van Stockum Bookshop in the foyer for a booksigning session.