Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880), French novelist and short story writer, was considered to be a master of style, obsessively devoted to finding the right word ("le mot juste"), in every piece of literature he produced. As a child he expressed great imagination and took in all the stories he could from his nurse and neighbors, and in doing so, he prepared himself for a life consumed by literature and history. In addition to his "Madame Bovary", his first published novel and the one considered to be his masterpiece, Flaubert is remembered for his great historical romance, "Salammbô". This novel draws largely from Book I of Polybius' "Histories", and combines the history of the First Punic War and the mythology of ancient Carthage in a fashion that has never been equaled. Flaubert sealed his reputation with the publication of this sophisticated novel in 1862, as audiences were entranced with its lush and brilliantly detailed descriptions of a little-known, but fascinating, period of history.