Gustave Flaubert Additional Biography


(Critical Guide to Censorship and Literature)

0111201547-Flaubert.jpg Gustave Flaubert (Library of Congress) Published by Salem Press, Inc.

In 1848 a revolution toppled the last French monarchy and replaced it with a republic. The French literary world had hoped that a new government would also mean the restoration of civil liberties, but they were disappointed. Louis Napoleon, the new president, wanted power, not constitutional restraints. After two further coups, he had himself declared president for life, then Emperor Napoleon III. Political purges and press censorship followed. Twenty-seven-thousand persons were arrested; dozens of newspapers and literary magazines were closed down.

Among the victims was Victor Hugo, France’s most famous writer, who went into exile, to the dismay of Flaubert, who had begun writing his great realist novel Madame Bovary. Flaubert detested the hypocrisy of the new industrial middle class and laid it bare in his novel. The French middle class, in turn, felt that he treated subjects that should not be discussed in refined society, such as sexuality, adultery, and suicide. Flaubert’s novel might never have been published had it not been for the urging of friends who recognized its merits. It first appeared in a literary magazine in installments, beginning in October, 1856. Although Flaubert had been warned that the imperial police wanted to destroy both him and the magazine, he insisted that nothing in his novel be deleted. He then prepared for a trial.

Fortunate in having both money and powerful family connections, Flaubert was able...

(The entire section is 445 words.)


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Gustave Flaubert was the second of three surviving children of a provincial doctor. Although it was Gustave’s older brother, Achille, who would succeed their father in his medical practice, young Gustave accompanied his father even into the dissecting room, where he gained a knowledge of anatomy and a habit of close observation that would contribute to his future literary style. Unlike Emma’s husband, the inept country doctor Charles Bovary, Achille-Cléophas Flaubert was a respected professional. Even after his father’s death, Flaubert wrote to his mother from Egypt of his pleasure at meeting during his travels a man who knew and respected his father’s reputation.

Flaubert began the study of law but discontinued in part because of his poor health. Epileptic, he had infrequent seizures, but despite his robust appearance, his friends and family sought to protect him from excess strain. Flaubert’s only sustained professional activity was as an author. Although he lacked other employment, he felt no particular pressure to rush his works into publication. During the years 1835 to 1840, he composed a number of short pieces of prose, some fictitious and some personal memoirs, yet he published little. Most of these juvenilia were collected for publication only after his death.

During 1843-1845, Flaubert composed the first version of his autobiographical novel, A Sentimental Education, which would finally be published in a...

(The entire section is 494 words.)


(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Born on December 12, 1821, at the Hôtel-Dieu in Rouen, Gustave Flaubert was the fifth of six children and the fourth son of Achille Cléophas Flaubert, director of Rouen’s hospital and founder of its medical school, and Caroline (Fleuriot) Flaubert, the daughter of a physician. Only three of the Flaubert children survived infancy: Achille, the eldest (who later became a physician and replaced his father as master of Rouen’s hospital), Gustave, and a sister, Caroline, who was Gustave’s junior by two and a half years and who died in childbirth at the age of twenty-one. Flaubert’s early and prolonged associations with examining rooms, surgeries, dissecting rooms, and the medical scientists who used them left clear marks on...

(The entire section is 752 words.)


(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Gustave Flaubert (floh-BEHR) was born in the historic Normandy city of Rouen, in northern France, on December 12, 1821. His father, Dr. Achille Cléophas Flaubert, was a surgeon in Rouen, where Gustave went to school. Gustave was one of six children, only three of whom survived to adulthood. Among them was his older brother Achille, who became a doctor like his father. Gustave was a good student, winning prizes for history and earning his baccalauréat in 1840.

Between 1840 and 1843, Flaubert studied law in Paris but failed his examinations. In 1844, he began to suffer from strange fits identified as epilepsy. The first attack rendered him an invalid for several months and led to the family’s moving to...

(The entire section is 963 words.)


(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Gustave Flaubert’s reputation as a master of prose fiction is based on a number of long novels, as well as some shorter fiction, that sustain the quality of his best moments.

His style, innovative in its use of an ambiguous narrative voice and the result of much care and labor, has contributed to his standing as a major writer. His psychological insight, and, more recently, an appreciation of his experiments in the control of narrative perspective make him one of the first modern novelists and one of the greatest of all time.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Gustave Flaubert (floh-behr), French novelist, was born in Rouen on December 12, 1821. His father was a doctor and director of the Rouen city hospital, his mother a retiring woman of bourgeois background. High-strung and imaginative, Gustave eagerly consumed all the fanciful stories that he could induce his nurse or his neighbors to tell him. As a student he joined in the anticlassical revolt that was sweeping France. Solitary by nature and not of a happy temperament, Flaubert became absorbed with literature and history and early became aware of his vocation as a writer.

During a summer vacation in 1836 he became emotionally attached to Elisa Schlésinger. He also soon found a companion and confidant in Alfred Le...

(The entire section is 986 words.)


(Short Stories for Students)

Much has been made of the relationship between Flaubert's life and his depiction of the servant in ‘‘A Simple Heart.’’ There are...

(The entire section is 519 words.)


(Novels for Students)

Gustave Flaubert was born on December 12, 1821, in Rouen, France, to Achille Cleophas (a physician) and Caroline (Fleuriot) Flaubert....

(The entire section is 370 words.)