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Guy de Maupassant

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by Guy de Maupassant

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His second novel Bel-Ami , which came out in , had thirty-seven printings in four months. His editor, Harvard, commissioned him to write new masterpieces and Maupassant continued to produce them without the slightest apparent effort. At this time he wrote what many consider to be his greatest novel, Pierre et Jean. With a natural aversion to society, he loved retirement, solitude, and meditation. He traveled extensively in Algeria , Italy , England , Brittany, Sicily , Auvergne, and from each voyage he brought back a new volume.

He cruised on his private yacht "Bel-Ami," named after his earlier novel. This feverish life did not prevent him from making friends among the literary celebrities of his day: Alexandre Dumas, "fils," the son of the great novelist of the same name who was also an important writer, had a paternal affection for him; at Aix-les-Bains he met Hippolyte Taine and fell under the spell of the philosopher-historian.

Flaubert continued to act as his literary godfather. His friendship with the Goncourts was of short duration; his frank and practical nature reacted against the ambience of gossip, scandal, duplicity, and invidious criticism that the two brothers had created around them in the guise of an eighteenth-century style salon.

In his later years he developed an exaggerated love for solitude, a predilection for self-preservation, and a constant fear of death and mania of persecution, compounded by the syphilis he had contracted in his early days. He was pronounced insane in and died two years later, a month short of his 43rd birthday, on July 6, Maupassant is one of the fathers of the modern short story.

The modern short story is not merely a condensed version of the novel, but takes on its own distinct form in the modern era. Often beginning in media res in the middle of the action , the modern short story dispenses with much if not all of the exposition, instead choosing to reveal character not from authorial description, but from the actions of the characters themselves.

Maupassant delights in clever plotting, serving as a model for W. Somerset Maugham and O. Lovecraft 's "The Call of Cthulhu," and " Qui sait? The supernatural in Maupassant, however, is often implicitly a symptom of the protagonists' troubled minds; Maupassant was fascinated by the burgeoning discipline of psychiatry , and attended the public lectures of Jean-Martin Charcot between and see Pierre Bayard, Maupassant, juste avant Freud Paris: In he suddenly became violently psychotic, and he died in an asylum in On January 2, , when he was staying near his mother, he tried to commit suicide by cutting his throat.

Doctors were summoned, and his mother agreed reluctantly to his commitment. Two days later he was removed, according to some accounts in a straitjacket, to Dr. His characters inhabit a world of material desires and sensual appetites in which lust, greed, and ambition are the driving forces, and any higher feelings are either absent or doomed to cruel disappointment. The tragic power of many of the stories derives from the fact that Maupassant presents his characters, poor people or rich bourgeois, as the victims of ironic necessity, crushed by a fate that they have dared to defy yet still struggling against it hopelessly.

Because so many of his later stories deal with madness, it has been suggested that Maupassant himself was already mentally disturbed when he wrote them. Yet these stories are perfectly well balanced and are characterized by a clarity of style that betrays no sign of mental disorder. This does not detract from his genuine achievement—the invention of a new, high-quality, commercial short story, which has something to offer to all classes of readers. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles.

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Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. Aug 1, See Article History. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: Important also was the ideological platform derived from Leo Tolstoy, whose criticism of Western Christianity was gratefully adopted by…. Maupassant short story In short story: French writers influence on Islamic literature In Islamic arts: The rise of nationalism naturalist movement In naturalism.

Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Help us improve this article! Contact our editors with your feedback. He was the first son of Laure Le Poittevin and Gustave de Maupassant, both from prosperous bourgeois families. His mother urged his father when they married in to obtain the right to use the particule or form "de Maupassant" instead of "Maupassant" as his family name, in order to indicate noble birth. After the separation, Laure Le Poittevin kept her two sons.

With the father's absence, Maupassant's mother became the most influential figure in the young boy's life. At age thirteen, his mother next placed her two sons as day boarders in a private school, the Institution Leroy-Petit, in Rouen—the Institution Robineau of Maupassant's story La Question du Latin —for classical studies. In , as he entered junior high school, Maupassant made acquaintance with Gustave Flaubert at Croisset at the insistence of his mother. The Franco-Prussian War broke out soon after his graduation from college in ; he enlisted as a volunteer.

In , he left Normandy and moved to Paris where he spent ten years as a clerk in the Navy Department. During this time his only recreation and relaxation was boating on the Seine on Sundays and holidays. Gustave Flaubert took him under his protection and acted as a kind of literary guardian to him, guiding his debut in journalism and literature.

He devoted his spare time to writing novels and short stories. In he published what is considered his first masterpiece, " Boule de Suif ", which met with instant and tremendous success. Flaubert characterized it as "a masterpiece that will endure. The decade from to was the most fertile period of Maupassant's life. Made famous by his first short story, he worked methodically and produced two or sometimes four volumes annually.

His talent and practical business sense made him wealthy. In he published his first volume of short stories under the title of La Maison Tellier ; it reached its twelfth edition within two years. In he finished his first novel, Une Vie translated into English as A Woman's Life , 25, copies of which were sold in less than a year. His second novel Bel Ami , which came out in , had thirty-seven printings in four months. His editor, Havard, commissioned him to write more stories, and Maupassant continued to produce them efficiently and frequently.

At this time he wrote what many consider to be his greatest novel, Pierre et Jean. With a natural aversion to society, he loved retirement, solitude, and meditation.

He traveled extensively in Algeria , Italy, England, Brittany , Sicily , Auvergne , and from each voyage brought back a new volume. He cruised on his private yacht Bel-Ami , named after his novel.

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Guy de Maupassant: Guy de Maupassant, French naturalist writer of short stories and novels who is by general agreement the greatest French short-story writer. Maupassant was the elder of the two children of Gustave and Laure de Maupassant. His mother’s claim that he was born at the Château de Miromesnil has been. Get an answer for 'How did Guy de Maupassant's life influence his writing style?' and find homework help for other Guy de Maupassant questions at eNotes.

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What is the plot of 'The Necklace' by Guy de Maupassant? The Necklace is about a diamond necklace that Marie Antoinette was to have ordered, but in the story another person ordered the necklace. Guy De Maupassant Writing Styles in The Necklace Guy De Maupassant This Study Guide consists of approximately 37 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need .