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Adultery in the Novel
Contract and Transgression
av Tony Tanner
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Adultery is a dominant feature in chivalric literature; it becomes a major concern in Shakespeare's last plays; and it forms the central plot of novels from Anna Karenina to Couples. Tony Tanner proposes that transgressions of the marriage contract take on a special significance in the "bourgeois novels" of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. His interpretation begins with the general topic of adultery in literature and then zeroes in on three works-Rousseau's La Nouvelle Heloise, Goethe's Die Wahlverwandtschaften, and Flaubert's Madame Bovary. His interpretation encompasses the role of women, the structure of the family, social mores, and the history of sexuality.
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Tony Tanner was a fellow of King's College, Cambridge. He published books on Joseph Conrad and Saul Bellow and on American literature.