Gustave Flaubert was born in Rouen in 1821. He initially studied to become a lawyer, but gave it up after a bout of ill-health, and devoted himself to writing. After travelling extensively, and working on many unpublished projects, he completed Madame Bovary in 1856. This was published to great scandal and acclaim, and Flaubert became a celebrated literary figure. His reputation was cemented with Salammbô (1862) and Sentimental Education (1869). He died in 1880, probably of a stroke, leaving his last work, Bouvard et Pécuchet, unfinished.