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Posted December 9, 2008
This biography of the author of Madame Bovary is an incredibly insightful look at what motivated the brilliant Gustave Flaubert (1821¿1880), who is a product of his times. A romanticist, Flaubert struggled with the loss of loved ones, which was accentuated during the revolution of 1848 with the return of the Empire and Napoleon III. Readers obtain a close look at Paris during a period of radical change, but even more his roots in Rouen. Interestingly and what makes this account fascinating and well written, Frederick Brown keeps his distance leaving the audience to decide what to make of the apparent contradictions in Flaubert¿s life. He was a romanticist yet his most famous work required a degree of discipline to keep his emotions out of it. He loathed the bourgeois, but perhaps was one of the greatest symbols of the social class in the middle nineteenth century when he hugged fame. Finally there is Flaubert's combatant loving relationship with his mistress Louise Colet that sums up the complexity of the subject of this fine work Mr. Brown provides a biographical masterpiece of one of the grandmasters of literature. --- Harriet Klausner
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