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Dimensions:
200 × 130 mm
192 pages
Format:
Paperback
ISBN:
9781780238203
Illustrations:
34 illustrations
Published:
06 Sep 2017
Series:
Critical Lives

Gustave Flaubert Anne Green

Gustave Flaubert (1821–1880) is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest novelists, whose work continues to influence and inspire writers, artists and musicians to this day. Determined from a young age to become a writer, Flaubert found sudden fame in 1857 when his first published novel, Madame Bovary, resulted in an unsuccessful prosecution for obscenity. In his subsequent work, 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.

Drawing on Flaubert’s voluminous correspondence and unpublished manuscript material, Anne Green reveals the extent to which his writing was haunted by traumatic early experiences. She weaves discussion of Flaubert’s work into an intimate account of his life and volatile character, as she follows him from his upbringing in a Rouen hospital, through his days in Paris as a reluctant student, his extensive travels in North Africa and the Middle East and his experiences of the 1848 revolution and of the imperial court of Napoleon III. This concise and informative biography is required reading for lovers of literature everywhere.

‘Green’s crisp, readable account offers a concise overview of Flaubert’s travels, friendships and novels, with chapters devoted to each of the three major works, Madame Bovary, Salammbô and Sentimental Edu­cation. Of these, Salammbô in particular – following Green’s influential evaluation of the novel in her earlier Flaubert and the Historical Novel – can be read as a critique of the social divisions and increasing influence of the bourgeois in Second Empire France . . . Citing the critic James Wood – “Flaubert changed literature forever” – Green positions her subject not only as a writer of novels about the past, but as one whose work has altered the course of literary history.’ – TLS

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Anne Green is Emeritus Professor of French at King’s College London, and was President of the Society of Dix-Neuviémistes from 2011–17. Her previous books include Flaubert and the Historical Novel: Salammbô Reassessed (2010).