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UK Publisher: Faber & Faber

Gustave Flaubert died in 1880, yet his characters, his novels and his stories live on in the popular literary imagination with the same authority as those of Shakespeare and Joyce. An Egyptian hermit tormented by voluptuous devilish visions; a melancholy doctor’s wife eating arsenic to escape debt and despair; an old countrywoman who worships a stuffed parrot. Ancient or modern, sublime or ludicrous, Flaubert’s characters are visionaries. They travel towards the dark places of the mind and their fate prompts our pity, fear and laughter.

In this, the most acclaimed biography of Flaubert to be written for many years, Geoffrey Wall brilliantly recreates the life and times of a writer of immeasurable talent and influence – a writer who wrote to within an inch of his life and in the process left a body of work that stands comparison with the greatest writers of the age – and investigates why it is that the author of Madame Bovary still exerts such a hold upon our imagination.

“Extraordinarily accomplished …What really marks this biography out as exceptional is the way it manages to fuse deep scholarship with a defiantly colloquial tone … One of the best biographies of this or any other year.” – Sunday Telegraph

“The clearest, most satisfyingly biographical account of Flaubert to date.” – Independent