This edition of Gustave Flaubert’s masterpiece Madame Bovary by The Folio Society is limited to 750 hand-numbered copies signed by the translator, introducer and artist.
The new limited edition features oil paintings by Nushka, and is beautifully bound in Douppion silk.
The story – a must-read for fans of the classic nineteenth-century romance – follows Emma, the wife of a country doctor, who wants to escape the drudgery of her life. . Madame Bovary was controversial subtitled Provincial Morals in 1856, and led to Flaubert standing trial for obscenity. Over a century and a half later, Madame Bovary’s portrayal of passion, ignorance and love is as relevant now as ever.
Originally painted in oils, Nushka’s simple and emotional compositions are infused with a fusion of American and European influences. Nushka created the scenes she chose to paint for this edition using live models, props and costumes. The result is a work of art that is abstracted, relatable and inspiring.
The popular translation chosen for this edition is by Adam Thorpe, and uses only the syntax, vocabulary and expressions that were in common use until the 1850s, when Madame Bovary was first published. This style introduces readers to the style of France in the 19th century to give them a real taste of the world in which the book was created.
In a new introduction commissioned by Folio from Norwegian novelist Karl Ove Knausgard, he explains not only why Madame Bovary is ‘the best novel’, but why ‘today’s novelist continued to write in the shadow of Flaubert’. Also included is Henry James’s 1904 piece ‘On First Reading Madame Bovary’, completing this beautiful edition.
Nushka said: ‘I am very happy to be a part of the project – as I told you before, I always wanted to show a story but never got an opportunity like this. with the former Folio Society. It’s a lonely job for an artist and it’s new to me to see the background of the art committee and the team behind it, and I’m really excited.
I devoted a year to Madame Bovary. I read the book over and over again and watched every movie/movie that came before because I wanted to go more into Emma’s beautiful and ethereal characters. I want to address every aspect of the character and its story, not just the cheesy/cliche side, but the ironic, powerful/rebellious and melancholic sides.
I always work from reference pictures that I make before I start painting. For Madame Bovary, we need clothes. I borrowed a couple of beautiful dresses from a tailor and a theater for fun, but I made most of the dresses myself. It’s not enough to play dress up with my model to go back to the XIX: I have to find the right places to take pictures! I chose my childhood home in the countryside as the home of the Bovary; We shot the ball on a public holiday at the Grobet-Labadié museum with the permission of the curator, and we had to wait for rainy days in Marseille to give a Normand style to the outdoor scenes…
Flaubert as a writer who says “Madame Bovary is me”: I wanted, as an artist, to honor that statement. And after all this, I started to feel like Emma myself… That’s why one of Emma’s scenes is a self-portrait; and the cover of the book is actually a mix between my model’s face and mine.’
The Folio Society limited edition of Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, introduced by Karl Ove Knausgård, translated by Adam Thorpe and illustrated by Nushka is available exclusively from www.foliosociety.com/uk/madame-bovary .html.