Guy de Maupassant

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

Maupassant, Guy de

(gē də mōpäsäN`), 1850–93, French novelist and short-story writer, of an ancient Norman family. He worked in a government office at Paris and became known c.1880 as the most brilliant of the circle of Zola. He poured out a prodigious number of short stories, novels, plays, and travel sketches until 1891, when he went mad. He died in a sanitarium. Maupassant's style and treatment of subject resemble those of Flaubert in classic simplicity, clarity, and objective calm. Maupassant is a modern exemplar of traditional French psychological realism; he portrays his characters as unhappy victims of their greed, desire, or vanity but presents even the most sordid details of their lives without sermonizing. His best novels are considered to be Une Vie (1883, tr. A Life), about the disillusioning life of a lonely woman; Bel-Ami (1885), describing the career of a selfish journalist; Pierre et Jean (1888), a study of the hatred of two brothers; and Notre Cœur (1890, tr. Our Hearts), showing the emotional life of an unhappily married man. His short stories, 300 in all, are superior to the rest of his work, and many of them are said to be unsurpassed in their genre. A list of his masterpieces would include "Boule de suif" ("Tallow Ball"), "L'Héritage" ("The Heritage"), "La Parure" ("The Necklace"), "La Maison Tellier" ("The House of Mme Tellier"), "Clair de lune" ("Moonlight"), "La Ficelle" ("The Piece of String"), "Mlle Fifi," and "Miss Harriet." Maupassant had tremendous influence on all European literature, and his works are often translated.


See studies by E. D. Sullivan (1954, repr. 1971); A. H. Wallace (1973), and S. Jackson (1938, repr. 1974).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Voices of Authority: Criminal Obsession in Guy de Maupassant's Short Works.
Specific texts he addresses include polemical writing against the Civil Code from around 1848 onwards, Honore de Balzac's Ursule Mirouet, short stories by Henri Guy de Maupassant, women's writings on inheritance in terms of the situation of women under the successional and matrimonial regimes of the Civil Code, and Emile Zola's La Terre.
Aside from its obvious and multivalent Biblical allusions, Hemingway's story is grounded in French literature, including work by Guy de Maupassant as well as several unexamined possibilities from the works of Zola and Baudelaire.
"Ugetsu," directed by Kenji Mizoguchi, is inspired by short stories by Ueda Akinari and Guy de Maupassant.
A collection of deceptively sophisticated short stories, in secondary school this book will form an excellent bridge to stories by writers like Edgar Allan Poe or Guy de Maupassant. The author has also written another two anthologies also called Tales of Terror.
"It is important to recognise that if behaviours and lifestyles were to be the key criteria on which exposure to the arts depended, our young people would have no exposure to the writings of Oscar Wilde, the poetry of Lord Byron, the paintings of Caravaggio, Edouard Manet and Paul Gauguin, the music of Franz Schubert and the writing of Guy de Maupassant and many others," said the spokesman.
The selections from Allama Iqbal, Bulleh Shah, Jalal-ud-Din Rumi, Sachal Sarmast, Guy de Maupassant, Charles Parrault, Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi and Ghulam Abbas have been part of English courses of study.
But the manner in which they articulate can also be important, and French kings, according to the celebrated nineteenth-century French writer Guy de Maupassant, have been particularly adept at skillfully using language to get what they want.
Yn ogystal a rhai o glasuron y stori fer Gymraeg gan awduron fel Kate Roberts, Mihangel Morgan ac Eigra Lewis Roberts mae'r ddwy gyfrol - 20 Stori Fer (Cyfrol 1 & 2) - yn cynnwys cyfieithiadau i'r Gymraeg o waith rhai o awduron mawr Ewrop fel Anton Chekhov a Guy de Maupassant.
La singerie de Paul au cafe quand il joue l' homme cherchant le Palais des Sports est pourtant doublement simiesque--non seulement imitation mais travestissement--des que I'on se rappelle la source I it--teraire (a moitie abandonnee) du film: le conte "Le Signe"--on a pres-que envie d'ecrire "Le Singe"--de Guy de Maupassant. Dans ce texte, une femme (habillee en mauve) voit par la fenetre une autre femme (habillee en rouge) a la fenetre de son appartement a elle.