Madame Bovary is Flaubert's most famous work. It was serialized between October 1, 1856 and December 15, 1856. It was considered scandalous at the time and public prosecutors attacked the novel as immoral. in January 1857, shortly after serialization ended, French officials brought the author and the publisher to trial on charges of obscenity. The attention created by the trial made the novel famous -- the "Streisand effect" well before modern times -- and Flaubert was acquitted on February 7, 1857. The story then became a best-seller when it was published in April of 1857. So launched the author's career and novel's reputation as an exemplar in the genre of Realism.
Emma Bovary, the eponymous protaganist of the novel, acquires a romanticized view of the world from reading popular novels. Chance makes it possible for her to marry Dr. Charles Bovary after his wife passes away. The dramatic story line that unfolds revolved around Emma's attempts to live beyond her means as she chases the life of beauty, passion, and riches that she craves.