Gustave Flaubert, 1821 - 1880

portrait of Gustave Flaubert
Portrait by Pierre Fran

Born: 12 December 1821, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France
Died: 8 May 1880, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France

Flaubert's father was director and chief surgeon of the municipal hospital, their apartment was actually part of that facility, and his mother was the daughter of a doctor, but after being educated locally he was sent to Paris to study law in 1840. He was an indifferent student and didn't care for Paris. After an attack of epilepsy he returned to his home region, to the town of Croisset, 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 very small. Fortunately, his correspondence with the major literary figures of his day was significant, particularly that with the poet Loise Colet (his one significant romantic relationship), much of which was preserved. His work established what is now regarded as "modern realist narration," what we know as the modern novel is largely based on his style. Open about his visits to both male and female prostitutes, he suffered from venereal diseases through his adult life. During his last several years both his finances and his health declined, he died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Biography from Wikipedia and Authors' Calendar

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