Gustave Flaubert

Gustave Flaubert was a highly influential French novelist known for his emphasis on literary realism and his focus on the psychology of his characters. He is best known for his debut novel 'Madame Bovary' (1857), which was a groundbreaking work at the time and led to a trial for obscenity. Flaubert's meticulous approach to writing, his search for le mot juste (the precise word), and his dedication to his craft have left a lasting impact on literature.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. Madame Bovary

    Madame Bovary is a tragic novel about a young woman, Emma Bovary, who is married to a dull, but kind-hearted doctor. Dissatisfied with her life, she embarks on a series of extramarital affairs and indulges in a luxurious lifestyle in an attempt to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life. Her desire for passion and excitement leads her down a path of financial ruin and despair, ultimately resulting in a tragic end.

    The 19th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. A Sentimental Education

    A Sentimental Education is a classic French novel set in the mid-19th century, focusing on the life of a young man named Frederic Moreau. Frederic, from a provincial background, moves to Paris and becomes infatuated with an older woman, Madame Arnoux. The novel traces Frederic's life and romantic pursuits, as well as his friendships and experiences in Paris, against the backdrop of significant historical events like the 1848 Revolution. The story is a critique of the French middle class and their materialistic values, illustrating the disillusionment and moral corruption of the time.

    The 263rd Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Bouvard et Pécuchet

    "Bouvard et Pécuchet" is a satirical novel that chronicles the lives of two Parisian copy clerks, Bouvard and Pécuchet, who decide to retire in the countryside after unexpectedly inheriting a fortune. Their attempts to become gentlemen farmers are thwarted by a series of comical failures. The pair then embarks on a quest for knowledge in various fields such as medicine, literature, politics, and religion, but their efforts lead to more confusion and absurdity. The novel is a critique of intellectual pretensions and a commentary on the futility of human endeavor.

    The 640th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters

    This book is a compilation of the personal correspondence between two of the most prominent French literary figures of the 19th century. Their letters offer an intimate look into their lives, thoughts, and the deep friendship they shared. The exchange covers a wide range of topics, including their literary works, their critiques of each other's work, their views on contemporary society, politics, and culture, as well as their personal joys, sorrows, and struggles.

    The 1041st Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. Salammbô

    Set in ancient Carthage during the Mercenary War, the novel follows the tumultuous events that ensue after the First Punic War, as unpaid mercenary soldiers rebel against the wealthy city they once fought for. Amidst the backdrop of political intrigue and brutal warfare, a passionate and tragic love story unfolds between the beautiful and enigmatic daughter of a Carthaginian general and the leader of the mercenaries. The narrative is rich with historical detail, vivid depictions of exotic rituals, and the violent ebb and flow of power, culminating in a dramatic and bloody resolution that intertwines the fates of the city, the mercenaries, and the star-crossed lovers.

    The 7168th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. A Simple Soul

    The book tells the story of Félicité, a devoted and selfless servant who spends her life working for her mistress, Madame Aubain. Despite experiencing personal losses and hardships, including the death of her beloved nephew and the loss of her parrot, Félicité's simple and pure heart remains uncorrupted by the bitterness of her circumstances. Her life is marked by her remarkable loyalty and deep affection for those she serves, and her story is a poignant exploration of the themes of love, devotion, and the search for spiritual fulfillment in the face of life's relentless challenges.

    The 7168th Greatest Book of All Time