portrait of Gustave Flaubert
Portrait by Pierre Fran

All archives
Previous Issue (11 December 2003) | Current month | Next Issue (13 December 2003)

Quotes of the Day for 12 December 2003 – Gustave Flaubert

Gustave Flaubert was born at Rouen, Normandy on this day in 1821. His father was director and chief surgeon of the municipal hospital, their apartment was part of that facility, even his mother was the daughter of a doctor. In 1840 he was sent to Paris to study law, at which he failed, and devoted himself to literature. His most famous novel, Madame Bovary, took five years to write and earned him a prosecution for writing an immoral work. He wrote extremely carefully, so his life output was only five novels (one unfinished at his death), a volume of three shorter works, and a journal. Fortunately, his correspondence with the major literary figures of his day was prodigious and is the source of most of these quotes.

Van's signature

You will find an expanded profile, photo, additional biographical links, and all quotes from this author on the author's Notable Quotable page.

The quotes:

Be regular and orderly in your daily affairs that you may be violent and original in your work.

It's splendid to be a great writer, to put men into the frying pan of your imagination and make them pop like chestnuts.

What seems to me the highest and the most difficult achievement of Art is not to make us laugh or cry, or to rouse our lust or our anger, but to do as nature does - that is, fill us with wonderment.

One arrives at style only with atrocious effort, with fanatical and devoted stubbornness.

To be stupid and selfish and to have good health are the three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, the others are useless.

Oh, if I had been loved at the age of seventeen, what an idiot I would be today. Happiness is like smallpox: If you catch it too soon, it can completely ruin your constitution.
     - All from Gustave Flaubert, 1821 - 1880

Do you see an error on this page? A typo, a character that is messed up, a misattribution? Please let us know!