"Madame Bovary" | A Reading Group with Ken Knabb

Please join us for reading and discussion of Gustave Flaubert's great novel Madame Bovary.

We've been meeting every other Sunday at 4:30-7:00 p.m. around the Big Table in the back of the bookstore. After this meeting, we gather on July 21 and August 4. Then we'll move on to the next work in our series.*

Participation is free, but donations of $10 or so per meeting are suggested to help support the bookstore, which provides us with a pleasant meeting space and complimentary wine, sandwiches, and cookies.

We will be using the Lydia Davis translation. The bookstore has copies for purchase.

For more information, please contact Ken Knabb: knabb@bopsecrets.org.

Flaubert's novels were conceived as head-on attacks on middle-class life in all its aspects, its ideals as well as its realities.

Yet what happens? Flaubert was a tireless craftsman, and as he reworked his sentences, seeking always the ultimate precision of a surgical instrument, the simplicity of his approach yielded before an irony of which he never became fully conscious. . . . Flaubert had a vision, a model, of how words should function, and he ground down each phrase until it fitted that model, a kind of abstract template that did not merely shape rhythm and image, but revealed a fundamental quality of the sensibility.

Among the painters Courbet, Manet, Degas, and then all the Impressionists, nature was being illuminated with a new kind of light, never seen before. For sheer brilliance of direct vision, Flaubert’s prose surpasses any of them, and has yet to be equaled by any of his disciples.

All the manifold details of life, of nature, of still life, glow with an internal fire, the fire of burning prose that has been distilled to a perfect transparency.
(Kenneth Rexroth)
Event date: 
Sunday, July 7, 2019 - 4:30pm to 7:00pm
Event address: 
2430 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
Madame Bovary: (Movie Tie-In) Cover Image
By Gustave Flaubert, Lydia Davis (Translated by), Lydia Davis (Introduction by), Lydia Davis (Notes by)
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9780143129110
Availability: Unavailable
Published: Penguin Classics - May 5th, 2015

Those Halcyon Days

Even though the store takes a hiatus, it’s easy to imagine that long conversation amongst the great minds continuing around the Great Table, in our fancy, if not in Eternity, though we can agree to disagree about that.

How many can you identify?

Some are pretty obvious, others a little obscure. If educated outside the U.S. you might have an advantage in naming two or three. One makes for a fancy pose, but he’s actually a blockhead.

All have made significant contributions, even when shown demonstrably wrong. Nonetheless, we continue to argue with them because even when we argue with them, more often than not, we find them productively wrong.

We look forward to the time when you too can rejoin the conversation.

Front facade of University Press Books

From 1974, University Press Books has stoked the blaze of well over ten thousand minds on fire, carrying new scholarship published by the great university presses in the English-speaking world.

Since our founding, we've added quality fiction and creative non-fiction to our selection, without drfiting from our mission to showcase top new texts introduced by university presses.

Order from us. Visit us. Let well-wrought words churn and burn within.