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Marxism and Madame Bovary

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Grace Therrell

on 6 November 2014

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Transcript of Marxism and Madame Bovary

What is Marxism?
Historical markers
Timeline of Madame Bovary mirrors Marxist criticism of France
Socioeconomic history
Marx's capitalist "mode of production"
class analysis
Emma Bovary
Why Marxism?
Marx and Flaubert were contemporaries
A Marxist approach to Madame Bovary

Edward J. Ahearn
Karl Marx
Emphasize class and social structure
Implications and complications of capitalism
Whom does [it] benefit?
Literature viewed as a product of work
Literary Criticism
Das Kapital, The Communist Manifesto
France reflected some of Marx's principles and observations
Marx analyzed France
Shared some political views
1848: Emma's suicide
1835: Bovarys arrive in Yonville
1812: Charles's father forced to leave the army
1789 and following: Upheavals
1830: Revolution; finance aristocracy comes to power (Marx)
1848: Revolution; commercial bourgeoise join bankers and financiers
Marxism and Madame Bovary:
Marxism and madame bovary:
Money used for the creation of money
Increase in country-city antagonism
Technology & industry increase profits
Money takes an "exaggerated importance" at expense of human values
Country-City Antagonism
Emma raised in rural Rouen
A structural and thematic feature
Lheureux makes weekly trips to Rouen
Responds to Yonville and Rouen in romantic terms
Desire to go to Paris but never happens
How he makes his money
Marxism and madame bovary:
Passion formed by education and religious training
Romantic interests
Aristocratic education
Rural, not economically stable
Class Analysis
Marxism and madame bovary:
Desire and class closely related
Rodolphe and Leon "constitute increasingly impoverished romantic and social replacements"
Complicates relationship with Charles
Desire and money
Marxism and madame bovary:
Relationships between Emma and men come down to money
Lheureux thinks Emma is trying to seduce him
"Libidinal has been entirely denatured by the economic"
Emma basically prostituting herself to Rodolphe
Binet's reaction indicates that she tried to seduce him
Guillamin tries to seduce Emma
Structural Marxist Elements
Exposes "viciousness and hypocrisy of bourgeois society
Charles's patchwork hat
Descriptions support desire-class structure
Emma Bovary as typical woman
Not economic reality - Binet
More Structural Marxist Elements
"Political conscious" receives unsatisfying ending
Narrative structure similar to Marx
Economic undertones in scenes
Economics lead to historical change
Ahearn, Edward J.
"A Marxist Approach to
Madame Bovary
:" 28-33. Print.

Brizee, Allen, and J. Case Tompkins. "Marxist Criticism (1930s-present)." PurdueOWL. Purdue University, 2014. Web. 5 Nov. 2014.

Murfin, Ross, and Supriya M. Ray. "Critical Approaches." Bedford St. Martin's. n.d. Web. 3 Nov. 2014.
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