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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 Filiciti – 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 Salomi and John the Baptist.
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