Gustave Flaubert (French: [ɡystav flobɛʁ]; 12 December 1821 – 8 May 1880) was an influential French novelist who was perhaps the leading exponent of literary realism in his country. He is known especially for his first published novel, Madame Bovary (1857), for his Correspondence, and for his scrupulous devotion to his style and aesthetics. The celebrated short story writer Guy de Maupassant was a protégé of Flaubert.
Flaubert was born on 12 December 1821, in Rouen, in the Seine-Maritime department of Upper Normandy, in northern France. He was the second son of Anne Justine Caroline (née Fleuriot; 1793–1872) and Achille-Cléophas Flaubert (1784–1846), director and senior surgeon of the major hospital in Rouen. He began writing at an early age, as early as eight according to some sources.
He was educated at the Lycée Pierre Corneille in Rouen, and did not leave until 1840, when he went to Paris to study law. In Paris, he was an indifferent student and found the city distasteful. He made a few acquaintances, including Victor Hugo. Toward the end of 1840, he traveled in the Pyrenees and Corsica. In 1846, after an attack of epilepsy, he left Paris and abandoned the study of law.