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Three Tales - Gustave Flaubert

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Author: Gustave Flaubert / Genre: Classic Literature

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    Three Tales offers an excellent introduction to the work of one of the world's greatest novelists. A Simple Heart is set in the Normandy of Flaubert's childhood, while Saint Julian and Herodias draw on medieval myth and the biblical story of John the Baptist for their inspiration. Each of the tales invites comparison with one or other of Flaubert's novels, but they also reveal a fresh and distinctive side to the writers's genius. First published in 1877, these three stories are dominated by questions of doubt, love, loneliness and religious experience, and together form a triumphant conclusion to Flaubert's literary career. With elegant simplicity, A Simple Heart' relates the story of Felicite - an uneducated serving-woman who retains her Catholic faith despite a life of desolation and loss. Inspired by a stained-glass window in Rouen cathedral, The Legend of Saint Julian Hospitator' describes the fate of Julian, a sadistic hunter destined to murder his own parents. The blend of faith and cruelty that dominates this story may also be found in Herodias' - a reworking of the tale of Salome and John the Baptist. Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880), the younger son of a provincial doctor, briefly studied law before devoting himself to writing, with limited success during his lifetime. After the publication of Madame Bovary in 1857, he was prosecuted for offending public morals.