Although unfinished during his lifetime, Bouvard and P cuchet is now considered to be one of Flaubert's greatest masterpieces.
Gustave Flaubert (1821-80) is considered to be one of the most important French novelists of the nineteenth century. He's most well-known for his novel Madame Bovary, and for his desire to write "a book about nothing," a novel in which all external elements, especially the presence of the author, have been eliminated, leaving nothing but style itself. Often considered a member of the naturalist school, Flaubert despised categorizations of this sort, and in novels like Bouvard and Pecuchet demonstrates the inaptness of this label. In addition to these two novels, he is also the author of A Sentimental Education, Salambo, Three Tales, and The Temptation of Saint Anthony.
"Among all the works of this brilliant writer, Bouvard and Pecuchet is definitely the deepest, the most thorough, the broadest... It is the Tower of Babel of the sciences, where all the diverse, opposing, and absolute doctrines -- each having its own language -- demonstrate the powerlessness of effort, the vanity of affirmation, and the ever eternal 'misery of everything.'" --Guy de Maupassant "Flaubert inspires in me an affection that I don't feel for any other writer." --Jean Echenoz "In Bouvard and Pecuchet, Flaubert created an encyclopedia of the sciences in a way that emphasizes all the laws and failures of knowledge, and at the same time, he did so in a way that breaks the forms of literature itself." --Claudine Cohen, Alliage