Gustave Flaubert (December 12, 1821 – May 8, 1880) was a French novelist of the realistic era. He is considered one of the greatest Western writers. Flaubert was a pure stylist. He avoided the inexact expressions, abstract or not quite fitting writing which plague ordinary writing. He hated clichés. This explains the inordinate amount of time he spent on some his works, writing and rewriting portions. He also was averse to bourgeois stupidity.
His masterpiece is Madame Bovary (1857), and other important works include Salammbô (1862), L'Éducation sentimentale (Sentimental Education) (1869), The Temptation of Saint Anthony (1857), Trois Contes (Three Tales) (1877), consisting of Un Cœur Simple (A Simple Heart), his tribute to Georges Sand, La Légende de Saint-Julien l'Hospitalier (The Legend of St. Julian the Hospitaller), and Hérodias. The Italian writer Italo Calvino has praised the Three Tales as one of the most extraordinary spiritual journeys ever accomplished outside any religion.
He died on May 8, 1880, at the age of 58.