Soledad Fox considers the literary influence of Cervantes on Flaubert in NER 27.1:
The presence of the Quixote in Flaubert’s imagination can be traced back to his childhood. When he was a young boy, his favorite pastime was to have Don Quichotte read to him aloud, in an abridged French edition edited by Florian. Once he had learned how to read for himself, he collected other editions of the novel, and the impact of these readings is made evident in a letter he wrote in 1832, when he was only ten years old, to his friend Ernest Chevalier:
I know I had told you before that I wanted to be a playwright, but on second thought, I’ve decided against it . . . I have decided instead to become a novelist and I’ve already got some ideas for my first books. I’ll write about Cardenio, about Dorotea, and one about Ill-Advised Curiosity.