Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) is widely regarded as one of the world's greatest novelists, and his work continues to influence and inspire contemporary writers, artists, and musicians. Flaubert was determined from a young age to become a writer and achieved sudden fame in 1857 when his first published novel, Madame Bovary, resulted in an unsuccessful prosecution for obscenity. In his subsequent work--including the carefully researched Carthaginian novel, Salammbô, the contemporary Parisian novel Sentimental Education, the obsessively reworked Temptation of St. Anthony, and the unfinished comic masterpiece, Bouvard and Pécuchet--Flaubert continued to reflect on the human condition and on the rapidly changing society of his time, while constantly striving for new forms of literary and stylistic perfection.
In this new critical biography, Anne Green draws on Flaubert's voluminous correspondence and unpublished manuscripts to reveal the extent to which his writing was haunted by traumatic early experiences. She weaves discussion of his work into an intimate account of Flaubert's life and volatile character, following him from his childhood in Rouen to his student days in Paris, from his extensive travels through North Africa to the imperial court of Napoleon III. Green pays special attention to Flaubert's close family relationships, love-affairs, and friendships with literary figures, including Turgenev, Sand, Zola, Maupassant, and the Goncourt brothers. This concise and informative biography is a must-read for lovers of literature everywhere.