I couldn’t help it. It was so beautiful. I already have a copy of Madame Bovary. And I loved the Lydia Davis translation. And this isn’t even the Paul De Man translation that most people will have read. But it was just too lovely. How could I resist?
Even though I know that a good reader should be able to divorce the author’s, or in this case translator’s, biography from a work of literature, I can’t help but feel a vaguely histrionic urge to marry the fate that Eleanore Marx met to her decision to spend significant time wrestling with this story of an unhappy woman in a man’s world. My own relationship with Davis’ Emma Bovary was, as I have already described, complicated. Actually, I should say is complicated, because in fact I’m still thinking about her. I can’t help but imagine the influence that Flaubert’s Emma might have had over the way that Marx lived, and ended, her own life.
I’m excited to compare the translations. I’ll let you know how it goes.