Madame Bovary (1856)
Gustave Flaubert (writer).
I read this for a 2002 course. It was fun to see such a landmark of realism after a fairly linear walk through everything that preceded it, and the psychological objectivity is of the sort that may reasonably train empathy, but it has never occurred to me to read a modern novel with similar subject matter. The deep realism forbids, for instance, the murder plot and generational symbols of Le Père Goriot (1835).