Gustave Flaubert's 1857 novel will be the centerpiece of this course as we explore different approaches to the study of a literary work, asking what new insights into the novel each new perspective helps us generate. We will begin with a patient reading of Madame Bovary, attending to its central themes, to Flaubert's famous style, and to the novel in different contexts. Taking our cue from Flaubert's statement, "Madame Bovary, c'est moi," we will explore the author's biography and other writings, including selections from his letters and journals. We will consider the problem of translation by comparing different English-language renditions of Madame Bovary. We will investigate the historical and political context of Flaubert's portrait of the petit bourgeoisie in the French countryside. We will conclude by considering the 20th century pilosopher Jean-Paul Satre's conflicted attitude towards Falubert's work. We will reconsider Flaubert's novel and prose style in the light of Satre's philosophy, and vice versa.