(1821-80) was born in Rouen, France, the younger son of a provincial doctor. At age eighteen he was sent to study law in Paris but was afflicted with a mysterious nervous ailment and retired after only three years to live with his widowed mother. Supported by a private income, he devoted himself to his writing. The success of Madame Bovary
, his first novel, was ensured when it was deemed immoral by the French government. Flaubert went on to write Salammbô, Sentimental Education
, and Three Tales
, and his fame and reputation grew steadily after his death with the publication of his unfinished comic masterpiece Bouvard and Pécuchet
and the many remarkable volumes of his correspondence.
Lydia Davis was awarded the 2003 French-American Foundation Translation Prize for her translation of Marcel Proust's Swann's Way and was named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government for her fiction and her translations of such modern writers as Proust, Maurice Blanchot, and Michel Leiris. She is the author of one novel, The End of the Story, and four volumes of stories, including Varieties of Disturbance, a National Book Award finalist. Her stories were recently brought together in one volume, The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, which was called "a grand cumulative achievement" and "one of the great, strange American literary contributions" by James Wood in The New Yorker, and "one of the great books in recent literature" by Dan Chiasson in The New York Review of Books. A MacArthur Fellow, Davis lives near Albany, New York.