Guy de Maupassant
David Stuart Davies looks at the life and work of the French master of the short story. ...
"The simplest of women are wonderful liars who can extricate themselves from the most difficult dilemmas with a skill bordering on genius. "
Guy de Maupassant was probably born at the Chateau de Miromesniel, Dieppe, on 05 August. 1850. His paternal ancestors were of noble blood, and his maternal grandfather, Paul Le Poittevin, was the godfather of Gustave Flaubert. In 1869 he began to study law in Paris, but at the age of twenty, he volunteered to serve in the army during the Franco-Prussian War. From 1872 to 1880 Maupassant was a civil servant, first at the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, then at the Ministry of Education. He did not like work and spent a lot of his time in pursuit of women.
His first work of poetry, Des Vers, appeared in 1880, and it was in the same year that his masterpiece, Boule de Suif, was published. During the 1880s Maupassant wrote some 300 short stories, six novels, three travel books and a volume of verse. He contracted syphilis in his early twenties and the disease caused increasing mental disorder, which is reflected in the nightmarish quality of much of his work. It is for his short stories that he is best known, and many are published by Wordsworth Editions as The Best Short Stories.
On 02 January, 1892 he attempted to commit suicide by cutting his throat. He was committed to a private asylum in Paris, where he died the following year on the 6 July.
TITLES BY GUY DE MAUPASSANT