Gustave Flaubert (French pronunciation: [ɡystav flobɛʁ]) (December 12, 1821 – May 8, 1880) was a French writer who is counted among the greatest Western novelists. He is known especially for his first published novel, Madame Bovary (1857), and for his scrupulous devotion to his art and style.
Early life and education
Flaubert was born on December 12, 1821, in Rouen, Seine-Maritime, in the Haute-Normandie region of France. He was the second son of Achille-Cléophas Flaubert (1784–1846), a surgeon, and Anne Justine Caroline (née Fleuriot) (1793–1872). He began writing at an early age, as early as eight according to some sources.
He was educated in his native city and did not leave it until 1840, when he went to Paris to study law. In Paris, he was an indifferent student and found the city distasteful. He made a few acquaintances, including Victor Hugo. Toward the close of 1840, he traveled in the Pyrenees and Corsica. In 1846, after an attack of epilepsy, he left Paris and abandoned the study of law.
From 1846 to 1854, Flaubert had a relationship with the poet Louise Colet; his letters to her survive. After leaving Paris, he returned to Croisset, near the Seine, close to Rouen, and lived with his mother in their home for the rest of his life. He made ith occasional visits to Paris and England, where he apparently had a mistress. Flaubert never married. According to his biographer Émile Faguet, his affair with Louise Colet was his only serious romantic relationship. He sometimes visited prostitutes. Eventually, the end of his affair with Colet led Flaubert to lose interest in romance and seek platonic companionship, particularly with other writers.
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