Monday, October 5, 2015

Eight great books that got slammed by critics

At LitReactor Ed Sikov tagged eight "demonstrably great books – books that have stood the tests of time and taste but weren’t exactly greeted with universal kindness when they were first published," including:
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

This tale of a grasping and unhappy wife virtually defines the word classic; it’s surely one of the world’s finest works of literature. But the critic from Le Figaro wasn’t impressed. “Monsieur Flaubert is not a writer,” the reviewer scoffed. News to me. One can only wonder what this critic would have made of Salammbô, with its first chapter’s colorful descriptions of flaming monkey meat dropping off of trees.
Read about the other books on the list.

Madame Bovary is on Culture's list of the three of the worst mothers in literature, Alex Preston's top ten list of sex scenes from film, TV and literature, Rachel Holmes's top ten list of books on the struggle against gender-based inequality, Jill Boyd's list of six memorable marriage proposals in literature, Julia Sawalha's six best books list, Jennifer Gilmore's list of the ten worst mothers in books, Amy Sohn's list of six favorite books, Sue Townsend's 6 best books list, Helena Frith Powell's list of ten of the best sexy French books, the Christian Science Monitor's list of six novels about grand passions, John Mullan's lists of ten landmark coach rides in literature, ten of the best cathedrals in literature, ten of the best balls in literature, ten of the best bad lawyers in literature, ten of the best lotharios in literature, and ten of the best bad doctors in fiction, Valerie Martin's list of six novels about doomed marriages, and Louis Begley's list of favorite novels about cheating lovers. It tops Peter Carey's list of the top ten works of literature and was second on a top ten works of literature list selected by leading writers from Britain, America and Australia in 2007. It is one of John Bowe's six favorite books on love.

--Marshal Zeringue