Gustave Flaubert books in order – New book list 03/2024

Gustave Flaubert was a 19th century French author known for his profound explorations of human emotions and societal issues. He wrote a total of seven novels and numerous short stories, with a central theme of realism and the struggle for personal fulfillment within the constraints of society.

Gustave Flaubert Books in Order

  1. Madame Bovary
  2. Sentimental Education
  3. A Simple Heart
  4. Three Tales
  5. Salammbo
  6. Bouvard and Pecuchet
  7. The Temptation of St. Antony
  8. The Dictionary of Accepted Ideas
  9. November
  10. Memoirs of a Madman

Summary of Gustave Flaubert Books in Order

Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary is a novel by Gustave Flaubert that follows the story of Emma Bovary, a young woman who marries a small-town doctor to escape her dull life as the daughter of a farmer. She quickly becomes disillusioned with her marriage and begins to have affairs to escape her boredom and dissatisfaction. As her debts and affairs mount, Emma becomes increasingly desperate and ultimately ends her life in tragedy.

The novel is a scathing critique of bourgeois society and the emptiness of romantic ideals. Flaubert uses Emma Bovary’s story to explore the consequences of living in a fantasy world and the inevitable disillusionment that comes from pursuing unrealistic desires. His writing style is often described as meticulous and detailed, capturing the nuances of his characters’ emotions and actions with precision.

Madame Bovary is considered a classic of French literature and a landmark in the development of the novel form. Flaubert’s exploration of the inner life of his characters and his unflinching portrayal of the consequences of their actions has made the novel a timeless and enduring work.

Sentimental Education

“Sentimental Education” is a novel written by Gustave Flaubert, which follows the romantic and social experiences of a young man named Frédéric Moreau. Set in Paris during the mid-19th century, the novel explores Frédéric’s attempts to navigate the complexities of love, ambition, and social status. As he becomes infatuated with various women, including the married Madame Arnoux, Frédéric learns valuable lessons about love and desire.

The novel also delves into the political and social turmoil of the time, including the 1848 Revolution and its impact on the characters’ lives. Through Frédéric’s experiences, Flaubert provides a poignant commentary on the disillusionment and idealism of the Romantic era. The novel’s title, “Sentimental Education,” refers to the protagonist’s emotional and moral development as he navigates the challenges of adulthood and love.

As the novel progresses, Frédéric’s naivety and idealism are contrasted with the harsh realities of life, love, and politics. “Sentimental Education” is a rich and complex exploration of the human condition, offering insights into love, desire, disappointment, and the pursuit of individual fulfillment. Gustave Flaubert’s masterful prose and keen observations make this novel a timeless classic that continues to resonate with readers today.

A Simple Heart

“A Simple Heart” by Gustave Flaubert is a poignant and touching story about the life of a simple and dutiful servant named Félicité. The novel follows her from a young age as she enters into a life of service and loyalty to others. Despite facing numerous hardships and disappointments, Félicité remains steadfast in her devotion and love for those around her. The story explores themes of class, duty, and the human capacity for love and resilience.

Throughout the novel, Félicité forms deep and lasting connections with those in her life, including her beloved parrot, Loulou, and her mistress, Madame Aubain. The novel also delves into Félicité’s spiritual journey and her unwavering faith despite the challenges and tragedies she faces. Flaubert’s prose is both beautiful and evocative, as he paints a vivid portrait of 19th-century rural France and the life of an ordinary woman trying to find her place in the world.

As the novel progresses, Félicité’s simple and pure-hearted nature is contrasted with the complexities and betrayals of the world around her. Through Félicité’s experiences, Flaubert offers a powerful exploration of the human condition and the enduring power of love and compassion. “A Simple Heart” is a timeless and moving work that continues to resonate with readers for its exploration of the enduring human spirit.

Three Tales

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Bouvard and Pecuchet

“Bouvard and Pecuchet” is a satirical novel written by Gustave Flaubert. The story follows two clerks, Bouvard and Pecuchet, who meet in the opening chapter of the novel. They become fast friends and soon inherit a large sum of money, allowing them to retire and pursue their interests in various fields. Their pursuits lead them to study and try their hands at various professions, ranging from farming to literature to love affairs. However, their attempts are often met with comical failures and misunderstandings, highlighting the absurdity and futility of human endeavors.

The novel is a scathing critique of the superficiality and futility of human knowledge and ambition, as Bouvard and Pecuchet’s attempts to master various fields are constantly thwarted. Their misguided and often naive attempts at self-improvement and understanding the world around them result in a series of misadventures and mishaps. The novel’s ironic and darkly humorous tone reflects Flaubert’s disillusionment with the human condition and his critique of the limitations of human knowledge and understanding.

Overall, “Bouvard and Pecuchet” is a witty and incisive exploration of the human quest for knowledge and meaning. Flaubert’s portrayal of his protagonists’ misadventures serves as a biting satire, as he takes aim at the pretentiousness and superficiality of human pursuits. The novel’s sardonic tone and absurd situations make for an entertaining and thought-provoking read, offering a sharp commentary on the nature of human existence.

The Temptation of St. Antony

“The Temptation of St. Antony” by Gustave Flaubert is a novel that explores the inner turmoil and spiritual conflicts of the titular character, St. Antony. Set in the Egyptian desert, the story follows St. Antony as he struggles with various temptations and challenges to his faith. Flaubert delves into St. Antony’s mind, portraying his vivid hallucinations, visions, and spiritual crises as he grapples with the forces of good and evil.

Through a series of surreal and fantastical episodes, Flaubert examines the nature of human desire, the struggle between flesh and spirit, and the limits of human understanding. As St. Antony confronts his own weaknesses, doubts, and fears, he is bombarded by temptations in the form of seductive illusions, demonic apparitions, and philosophical debates. The novel is a philosophical and psychological exploration of the human condition, delving into questions of faith, spirituality, and the nature of divine intervention.

The novel ultimately becomes a profound meditation on the nature of existence, the conflict between the material and the spiritual, and the eternal struggle for meaning and purpose. With rich and vivid prose, Flaubert creates a hallucinatory and mesmerizing narrative that challenges the reader to confront their own beliefs and desires. “The Temptation of St. Antony” is a dense and complex work that offers a thought-provoking exploration of the human experience and the search for transcendence.

The Dictionary of Accepted Ideas

“The Dictionary of Accepted Ideas” is a satirical novel written by Gustave Flaubert. The book is a collection of humorous and absurd entries that mock the superficial and conventional ideas commonly accepted by society. The work is a parody of the bourgeois values of 19th-century France and pokes fun at the shallow and pretentious attitudes of the time.

Flaubert’s novel playfully exposes the ridiculousness of commonly held beliefs and opinions, offering a sharp critique of societal norms and the tendency to conform to accepted ideas without critical thought. The book is filled with witty and sarcastic entries that shed light on the absurdity of conformity and the human inclination to mindlessly follow popular trends and opinions.

“The Dictionary of Accepted Ideas” offers a satirical and critical take on the prevailing attitudes of Flaubert’s time, and its humorous and irreverent tone makes it a compelling and thought-provoking read. The novel continues to be relevant today, as it prompts readers to question the validity of commonly accepted ideas and encourages them to think for themselves.


“November” by Gustave Flaubert is a novel that centers around the lives of the two main characters, Frederic Moreau and Marie Arnoux. The story is set in the backdrop of the political unrest and social upheaval of 19th-century France. Frederic is a young, ambitious man from a provincial town who moves to Paris in search of adventure and success. Along the way, he becomes infatuated with Marie Arnoux, a married woman and the object of his romantic obsession. The novel explores Frederic’s romantic entanglements, his friendships, and the challenges he faces as he tries to navigate the complexities of 19th-century French society.

The novel also delves into the political climate of the time, with the revolutions of 1848 serving as a backdrop to the characters’ personal struggles. As Frederic becomes more involved in political and social circles, he is forced to confront the realities of his own ambitions and the consequences of his actions. Flaubert’s prose is known for its detailed descriptions and introspective explorations of his characters’ inner lives, and “November” is no exception. The novel offers a poignant portrait of the challenges and conflicts faced by individuals in a rapidly changing society.

Overall, “November” is a thought-provoking and immersive novel that captures the complexities of love, ambition, and society in 19th-century France. Flaubert’s rich and evocative writing style, combined with his keen insights into human nature, make this novel a compelling and enduring work of literature.

Memoirs of a Madman

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Biography Gustave Flaubert

Gustave Flaubert, one of the greatest Western novelists, was born in Rouen, Seine-Maritime, in the Haute-Normandie region of France. Known for his curious modes of composition, he worked in solitude, often spending days on a single page and tormented his brain for the perfect turn of phrase or adjective. Despite his incessant labor, he achieved an extraordinary level of perfection in his writing. His style, marked by extraordinary vigor and exactitude, has been considered a model for others, influencing writers of various schools. Though initially met with more scandal than admiration, the publication of his novel Madame Bovary signaled a new, scrupulously truthful portrayal of life. Over time, his influence extended beyond the realistic school of writing, as his clairvoyance and pursuit of perfect expression continued to appeal to other authors. Flaubert’s works, including his correspondence with George Sand, have been widely admired and studied by literary figures and philosophers throughout the 20th century.

Author Gustave Flaubert

In conclusion, Gustave Flaubert’s literary works offer a profound exploration of the human condition and the complexities of human relationships. Through his meticulous attention to detail and deep understanding of the human psyche, Flaubert’s novels provide a powerful commentary on the societal norms and values of his time. His unapologetic portrayal of flawed and morally ambiguous characters serves as a poignant critique of the hypocrisy and superficiality of bourgeois society, while also emphasizing the importance of individual freedom and integrity. Ultimately, Flaubert’s books continue to resonate with readers today, offering timeless lessons on the complexities of human nature and the enduring struggle for authenticity and meaning in a world filled with moral ambiguity.

FAQs about author Gustave Flaubert

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Published at 15:56 - 26/12/2023
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