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Gustave Flaubert
Author:Gustave Flaubert
Born on:1821
Died on:1880
Born in:Rouen
Died in:Croisset
Literary movements:Realismo
Biography by:Christian Michelini
Audio biography: Listen to
Posted on:2011-05-06


Gustave Flaubert (December 12, 1821 – May 8, 1880) was a French writer who is counted among the greatest novelists in Western literature. He is known especially for his first published novel, Madame Bovary (1857), for his Correspondence, and for his scrupulous devotion to his art and style.

Early life and education

Flaubert was born on December 12, 1821, in Rouen, in the Seine-Maritime department of Upper Normandy, in northern France. He was the second son of Anne Justine Caroline (née Fleuriot; 1793–1872) and Achille-Cléophas Flaubert (1784–1846), a surgeon. He began writing at an early age, as early as eight according to some sources.

He was educated at the Lycée Pierre Corneille in Rouen. and did not leave 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 end 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.
Personal life

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 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.

With his lifelong friend Maxime Du Camp, he traveled in Brittany in 1846. In 1849–1850 he went on a long journey to the Middle East, visiting Greece and Egypt. In Beirut he contracted syphilis. He spent five weeks in Istanbul in 1850. He visited Carthage in 1858 to conduct research for his novel Salammbô.

Flaubert was very open about his sexual activities with prostitutes in his writings on his travels. He suspected that a chancre on his penis was from a Maronite or a Turkish girl. He also engaged in intercourse with male prostitutes in Beirut and Egypt; in one of his letters, he describes a "pockmarked young rascal wearing a white turban" with whom he had anal sex. He had intercourse with a 14-year-old Maronite boy in 1850.

Flaubert was a tireless worker and often complained in his letters to friends about the strenuous nature of his work. He was close to his niece, Caroline Commanville, and had a close friendship and correspondence with George Sand. He occasionally visited Parisian acquaintances, including Émile Zola, Alphonse Daudet, Ivan Turgenev, and Edmond and Jules de Goncourt.

The 1870s were a difficult time for Flaubert. Prussian soldiers occupied his house during the War of 1870, and his mother died in 1872. After her death, he fell into financial difficulty. Flaubert suffered from venereal diseases most of his life. His health declined and he died at Croisset of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1880 at the age of 58. He was buried in the family vault in the cemetery of Rouen. A monument to him by Henri Chapu was unveiled at the museum of Rouen.

Images gallery

Una foto di Gustave Flaubert.
Audiobooks by:Gustave Flaubert
Madame Bovary
Audiolibro del celebre romanzo "Madame Bovary" di Gustave Flaubert.
Characters and concepts created by Gustave Flaubert:
Rodolphe Boulanger (Personaggio, from book Madame Bovary)
Bouvard (Personaggio, from book Bouvard e Pécuchet)
Charles Bovary (Personaggio, from book Madame Bovary)
Léon Dupuis (Personaggio, from book Madame Bovary)
Madame Bovary (Personaggio, from book Madame Bovary)
Pécuchet (Personaggio, from book Bouvard e Pécuchet)
Books by Gustave Flaubert:
Bouvard e Pécuchet (Bouvard et Pécuchet) (1881)
Bouvard e Pécuchet
Dizionario dei luoghi comuni
Dizionario dei Luoghi Comuni - Catalogo delle Idee Chic (Le Dictionnaire des idées reçues) (1911)
Dizionario delle idee correnti
L'educazione sentimentale (L’Éducation sentimentale, histoire d’un jeune homme) (1869)
L'Educazione Sentimentale
La tentazione di sant'Antonio (La tentation de saint Antoine) (1874)
Madame Bovary (1855)
Madame Bovary (1855)
Madame Bovary
Memorie di un pazzo
Salambò (Salammbô) (1862)
Tre racconti (Un cuore semplice, La leggenda di San Giuliano Ospitaliere, Erodiade) (Trois contes (Un cœur simple, La Légende de Saint Julien l'Hospitalier, Hérodias)) (1877)
Quotes by Gustave Flaubert:
Per certi uomini l'azione è tanto più im...
Iside: “Anubi, custode delle ombre, non...
Visto che non possiamo tirar giù il sole...
L'arte, in certe circostanze, scuote gli...
L'artista deve fare in modo che la poste...
Non c'è nulla di così umiliante come ved...
Non bisogna toccare gli idoli, la doratu...
"Ci risiamo sempre i doveri. Parole del...
«Io ho una religione» rispose il farmaci...

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