General accounts of Gustave Flaubert’s influence on English-language writers have tended to assume that the publication of his fiction was enough to change the style of English prose. However, close examination of Flaubert’s reception in the second half of the nineteenth century shows that the novels and stories alone did not bring about a widespread shift in English prose style. Before such a transformation could happen, his theoretical statements about style in the correspondence needed to be shared with and interpreted for a new audience. Flaubert’s fiction did exert a qualified influence on the relatively few English-language writers who read and responded to it, including Mary Elizabeth Braddon and Henry James. However, not until the 1883 publication of his correspondence with George Sand, as well as significant critical mediation and translation (most notably by Guy de Maupassant, Walter Pater, and Eleanor Marx-Aveling), did his influence on English writers reach its full extent.

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