Madame Bovary trial  

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"This code of morals stigmatizes realistic literature, not because it paints the passions: hatred, vengeance, love—the world sees but the surface and art should paint them—but not paint them without bridle, without limits. Art without rules is not art. It is like a woman who discards all clothing. To impose upon art the one rule of public decency is not to subject it, not to dishonor it. One grows great only by rule. These, gentlemen, are the principles which we profess, this the doctrine which we defend with conscience." --Ernest Pinard

"Reassured upon the value of the book, encouraged, furthermore, by the most eminent men of the press, M. Flaubert thought only of printing it and giving it to the public. I repeat: everyone was unanimous in rendering homage to its literary merit, to its style, and at the same time to the excellent thought that pervaded it, from the first line to the last." --Antoine Sénard

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

On January 29[1], 1857, in a courtroom at Paris's imposing Palais de Justice, public prosecutor Ernest Pinard rose to make his case against Madame Bovary. The lawyer of Flaubert was Antoine Sénard.

The novel is a prime example of Realism, a fact which contributed to the trial for obscenity (which was a politically-motivated attack by the government on the liberal newspaper in which it was being serialized, La Revue de Paris). Flaubert, as the author of the story, does not comment directly on the moral character of Emma Bovary and abstains from explicitly condemning her adultery. This decision caused some to accuse Flaubert of glorifying adultery and creating a scandal.

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