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Flaubert and Don Quijote: The Influence of Cervantes on Madame Bovary

Flaubert used Cervantes’ great novel as a model in his attempt to renew literature, to liberate him from the grasp of dominant literary schools. But the significance of Fox’s study goes far beyond a detailed analysis of a single case in the history of literature. It is a ‘comparative’ study in the deepest sense of this term. The book shows how the discontent with actual literature in both cases of Cervantes and Flaubert leads first of all toward an ironic parody, distantiation from the dominant trends and later to radically new forms of artistic consciousness… The study is full of insights and is made by a very subtle and intelligent scholar who has a rare capacity not to force the material, but to listen to its voice with extraordinary respect and acumen.

- Mikhail Iampolski, Professor of Comparative Literature,  New York University