When the first, truncated version of Madame Bovary appeared in six instalments in the Revue de Paris between 1 October and 15 December 1856, its thirty-five-year-old author was an unknown provincial. Flaubert had, it is true, been writing continuously since the 1830s, but had resisted premature entry onto the literary scene. Madame Bovary was in every respect a spectacular debut, and it propelled Flaubert at once to the leading position among novelists of his generation.

While the novel (and its author) may have seemed to arrive from nowhere, the work was in reality the result both of a long literary apprenticeship and of five years of painstaking composition. Flaubert’s …

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Unwin, Tim. "Madame Bovary". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 October 2007
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=3803, accessed 28 September 2016.]