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Gustave Flaubert

Rouen 1821 - Croisset 1880


The French writer Gustave Flaubert was born in Rouen on December 12, 1821. First he attended the Collège Royal and graduated in 1840. Already in his youth, Gustave Flaubert wrote tirelessly, and he began to write his first theater pieces, dramas and historical novels in 1834-35. In addition, he established the student paper "Art et Progrès". The first time one of the author’s short stories was published was 1837 in the literary journal "Colibri". After he graduated, he took a trip to the Pyrenees and to Corsica.
Beginning in 1841, Gustave Flaubert studied law in order to fulfill his father’s wishes. In 1842 he was freed from military service through a lottery, and moved for good to Paris. In 1843, Gustave Flaubert was frequently a guest in the studio of the sculptor James Pradier (1790–1852). Here he became acquainted with the writer and poet Victor Hugo (1802–85). In the year that followed, Flaubert suffered his first nervous attack. Thereafter he was able to give up his studies in order to devote himself entirely to his interests.
He spent most of his time at the family’s country estate in Croisset. In 1847, the writer embarked on a three-month walking trip with Maxim Du Camp (1822 – 94) through Touraine, Bretagne and Normandy. In the following year, he went to Paris in order to experience the February Revolution. Together with the defenders, Gustave Flaubert stormed the Tuilleries. Also with Maxim Du Camp, he took a trip to Asia from 1849 to 1851. The writer had very high standards for himself, and for this reason he left all of his manuscripts unpublished for a long time.
The first printed work was "Madame Bovary", which Flaubert began in 1851 and published as a book in 1857. Because of the depiction of adultery and the violation of morals and religion, he was sued. In this way, the work became a succès de scandale. In the years 1857 to 1862, the author worked for five years on the historical novel "Salammbô", which depicted an episode from the battles between Rome and Carthago. To prepare for this work, Gustave Flaubert traveled in 1858 to Tunisia. After 1864, he stayed in voluntary isolation in Croisset. Now there were only occasional stays in Paris so that he could meet his long-term lover, the writer Louise Colet (1810–76). In 1869, "L’Éducation sentimentale" appeared, which the writer had worked on for 26 years. The works "Madame Bovary" and "L’Éducation" are considered epochal for the development of the European novel. Gustave Flaubert began the novel "Bouvard er Pécuchet" in 1874, but it was not published until 1881, unfinished, after his death.
Gustave Flaubert died in Croisset on May 8, 1880. In the same year, Zola, Céard, Hennique, Alexis, Maupassant and others dedicated the collection "Soirées de Médan" to him.


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