Although many writers blend autobiography and fiction, few have been so forthright in admitting it as Gustave Flaubert. Reflecting on his legendary novel and protagonist, he wrote: "Madame Bovary, c'est moi." Emma Bovary has become an icon for casual readers and feminists alike, but, as Dacia Maraini argues, she is one of the most problematic, though fascinating, female protagonists in modern literature. In this lively, learned, and very personal study, Maraini explores the profound and contradictory relationship between the writer Flaubert and the captivating heroine of his masterpiece. Maraini argues that in their desire to claim Emma Bovary as a standard-bearer of revolt against patriarchal society, women have often overlooked the bitter, pitiless way in which Flaubert evokes Emma's insignificance and vulgarity. Searching for Emma guides us through Flaubert's novel and many of his letters, seeking out the sources of his obsessive cruelty toward Emma. Maraini relates Flaubert's contempt for Emma to his relationship with his mistress, Louise Colet, to his general terror of women, and to his own self-loathing. It was entirely in spite of himself, Maraini writes, that Flaubert created the female Don Quixote so admired for her restless spirit and ambition.