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    Welcome to our website!  Use the tabs along the menu bar at the top of the screen to navigate and explore epilepsy through the lens of consciousness and mental illness and how this relates to Gustave Flaubert.

    For more information about Flaubert and the neurohumanities see our class website here: Flaubert’s Brain Neurohumanities or visit the Neurohumanities Research Group blog here: NRG Blog     

           Gustave Flaubert was an incredibly gifted writer, known for his numerous publications, most notably, the novel Madame Bovary. Although Flaubert was renowned for his literature, he tried to keep his challenges with mental illness private; only sharing his struggle with epilepsy, and what appears to be depression, to close friends and family. The novelist documented his seizures through correspondence with colleagues and friends. Many of Flaubert’s letters chronicled his growing frustration with society and those around him. Although he was a self-proclaimed romanticist as a young adult, Flaubert’s letters show his growing unhappiness and disillusionment. Flaubert was called the “hermit of Croisset”, where he lived with his mother most of his adult life. Flaubert’s epilepsy appeared to accompany his growing discontentment and ‘melancholia’, and possibly contributed to his feelings of loneliness. This interesting intertwining of depressed mood and onset of epilepsy bring into question the state of Flaubert’s mental health. Modern research sheds light on the high rates of the comorbidity between depression and epilepsy, thus providing a new lens at examining Flaubert’s underlying deteriorating mental health as seen in his intimate letters to family and friends spanning between 1830 to 1880.