Gustave Flaubert (December 12, 1821 - May 8, 1880) was a novelist born in Rouen, Seine-Maritime, in the Haute-Normandie Region of France. His novels are perhaps the most well-crafted of any of the French realists. (Compare Honoré de Balzac and Guy de Maupassant.) He would occasionally spend an entire night writing to find that he had only composed a few sentences. This explains his exceedingly small output.
His greatest and most famous work is undoubtedly Madame Bovary (1857), which describes the disenchantment of the French bourgeois. Other noted works include Salammbo (1862), a historical novel set in ancient Carthage, L'Education Sentimentale (1869), La Tentation de Saint Antoine (1874), Trois Contes (1877), and Bouvard et Pécuchet (1881, posthumous).
He can be said to have made cynicism into an art-form, as evinced by this observation from 1846: To be stupid, and selfish, and to have good health are the three requirements for happiness; though if stupidity is lacking, the others are useless.